Are you a bikini wax worshipper? Listen up — A new study says getting groomed *down there* may increase your chances of contracting STDs and STIs.
Whether you choose to remove your body hair or not, there’s always pros and cons. For many people, removing their hairs from different body parts give them a comforting and “clean” feeling and while it may be considered more of a hygiene choice than anything else, some experts now say that getting a wax increases your risk of contracting Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Researchers of study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections observed over 7,580 subjects’ (both men and women) pubic hair grooming habits, their number of sexual partners and any STIs contracted in their lifetime.
The researchers found that those who were “high-frequency groomers” or those who did maintenance on a weekly or daily basis as well as “super groomers” or those who had their pubic hairs waxed or shaved every month were at a higher risk of contracting STDs.
According to Dr. Nicole Budrys of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Henry Ford Health System, this may be due to the lack of barriers (hair) and skin tears caused by bikini waxing.
“The skin naturally forms a barrier between organisms, like bacteria and viruses, and the body,” Dr. Budrys explained.
“Anything that causes small breaks in the skin, like shaving, makes it easier for infections to happen. It makes sense that infections like HPV and herpes, which are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, are seen more frequently in those who shave more than twice a month,” she added. “With waxing, we know that these small skin breaks can also happen and are also likely to increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.”
While researchers of the study admit that this doesn’t prove bikini waxing or shaving directly causes STIs, the study suggests that those who often get groomed are more likely to contract venereal diseases. It could also be because most people who remove their pubic hairs are more likely sexually-active, thus, the link with STI risks.
Meanwhile, the most sensible thing to do is to always use protection when having sex, especially if you have multiple partners. In addition, if you have a partner, try to discuss with your sexual history and possibly getting tested together. Better safe than sorry, guys!