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Rash moves: Shaving your pubic hair increases risk of contracting STIs, research finds

The rise of the ‘Spornosexual’ – manscaping men whose intimate grooming is inspired by porn – may have a surprising dark side.

According to new research, “extreme grooming” of pubic hair has been linked to an increased chance of sexually transmitted infections (STI).

A paper published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections suggests that people who remove their pubic hair are 80 per cent more likely to have had an STI than those who don’t, after quizzing 7,580 US adults about their trimming habits.

It also found that ‘extreme groomers’ (those who removed all of their pubic hair more than 11 times a year) and ‘high-frequency groomers’ (those who trimmed daily or weekly) were at much greater risk.

Male hair trimming has risen steeply in recent years which can in turn be linked to the evolution of the Spornosexual – a hybrid of “sports”, “porn” and “metrosexual”.

This real-world trend for a leaner, cleaner and purportedly more attractive aesthetic means manscaping is no longer reserved for swimmers or cyclists but, man or woman, is smooth-shaven buffness really worth running the risk of an STI?

The authors of the study put forward a number of theories for their findings, including that intimate grooming may cause ‘microtears’, in turn increasing the risk of STIs.

On the other hand, they also suggest that those who trim or remove their pubic hair might also be more likely to engage in ‘risky sexual behaviours’.

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An electric razor was the most common tool used for pubic grooming by men, while a manual razor was the most common technique among women. About a fifth of men and women used scissors.

The researchers said doctors should advise groomers to slightly reduce their levels of grooming or put off having sex until the skin had healed completely.

There is one surprising upside of the grooming trend, though, the researchers found it led to a decreased chance of catching pubic lice.


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