By Brittney McNamara. Photos: Getty.
The human body is a pretty incredible things. Nearly all parts of our body have a purpose, and when we keep our bodies in good health and let them do their thing, they produce pretty wild results. It turns out even the parts of ourselves that we don't think have a purpose do, and when we mess with it, there can be some pretty scary results. Namely, we're talking about pubic hair.
That's right, your pubes exist for a reason, and shaving them — even just a little — can put you at risk according to a new study. Published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, the study found that altering your pubic hair in any way can increase your risk of contracting an STD by 80 percent. 80 percent!! The more you groom, the higher that risk gets.
The study surveyed more than 7,500 people between ages 18 and 65, asking them about their pubic grooming habits. They classified people into four categories: extreme groomers (who totally get rid of their pubes more than 11 times per year), high-frequency groomers (who trim daily or weekly), non-extreme groomers (who remove all or some of their pubes only every once and a while) and low-frequency groomers (who let those babies grow). When paired with their sexual habits and their rate of contracting an STD, researchers found pube grooming really increases that risk.
The study doesn't say why that link exists, but previous studies have shown that grooming your pubes could cause small cuts or tears that make you more susceptible to STDs. Your pubic hair acts as a barrier between you and STDs, like a back up for condoms. Removing that barrier can obviously cause some issues.
Right now, society is pretty set on shaving pubes. A 2014 study of more than 1,000 college students found 96 percent of females and 87 percent of males do some grooming down there. It might be time to rethink that though, as STDs are getting a little tougher to treat. If we have built in protection, shouldn't we use it? We think it's time everyone embraces the bush.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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