There's more power in your pubic hair than you might think. It can protect you from infections and eruptions, prevent STDs, and even help you gain better access to your clitoris during a steamy sexual encounter. The world sends a different message about pubic hair to women, though. Every time you see a naked woman in porn or movies, she either has a smooth playing field or her hair is very, very trimmed. Similarly, if a woman in an advertisement wears an itty-bitty bikini, there's no way in hell you'd ever see any stray hair poking out of her bath suit bottoms. We just live in a world where at best pubic hair is considered unnecessary and at worst disgusting.
It's not that hairlessness is inherently wrong, but the problem is that many women now believe it's the only "normal" and healthy option. Source's spoke to researchers,and worked on an app that tracks your time and ovulation, who studied why women choose to get rid of their pubic hair. One researcher, Claire McWeeney, tells the media messaging and advertising show women "using products like razors, hair removal creams, and waxing strips on already hairless skin — as if the natural state of a woman before hair removal is not something that should be seen." It's no wonder we've learned that a woman's pubic and body hair is unacceptable.
We're not, of course, demanding that all women grow their pubs in a unified stand against patriarchy (though that would be cool). We have to set the record straight instead. You simply need to know some things about your pubs so you can make an educated decision about what to do with them (or not do with them). Here are five pubic hair facts you should know so you can make your own decision.
1. There's a lot of health benefits to having pubic hair "Pubic hair serves as a protective barrier to genital tissue and sensitive vaginal opening," says McWeeney. This prevents you from getting inside the bad bacteria and causing an infection. Not only that, but pubic hair also acts as a friction barrier, making it less likely after a particularly vigorous sesh in the sack that you will feel sore. Pubic hair also helps protect you from skin-to-skin contact spreading STDs. If you leave your pubic hair intact, you reduce your risk of micro-tears on your skin, which means you're less likely to get human papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, and a skin infection called molluscum contagiosum. Continually remove your protective pubs and your chances of contracting an unwanted STD may be increased. There are numerous health benefits of pubic hair, and here you can read more about them all. 2. ... While there is a long list of hygienic benefits to having pubic hair, society has taught us the better the less we have. A study published by JAMA Dermatol actually showed that 59 percent of women who groom their pubs think that doing so is their vagina's most hygienic choice (while only 31.5 percent claimed it was for looks). Not only do we believe it is aesthetically pleasing, but we have been duped into thinking that stripping ourselves of pubic hair is a healthy choice for our bodies. However, experts are trying to persuade women otherwise, because there's really nothing hygienic about a woman waxing off her pubic hair—in fact, it's just the opposite. Which leads us to... 3. Hair Removal Injuries Are Becoming More And More Common Giphy All we show in advertisements is smooth, flawless skin, but the reality is that if you wax flippantly or shave the wrong way, you can seriously hurt yourself. "There is also a risk of injury for people who choose to remove their pubic hair," McWeeney tells Bustle. Because people do not realize this, more women are showing up with pube-related injuries to the hospital than ever before. Between 2002 and 2010, there was a fivefold increase in the number of visits to the emergency room due to pubic hair grooming; 83% of these injuries were due to razor use, and the most common site of injury was external female genitalia (ouch!). Clearly, too many women at home are trying to remove their pubic hair and then harm themselves. 4. Women who regularly receive the head are more likely to get rid of their pubic hair. Of course, when we decide what to do with our pubs, one of the things we think about is who or what comes into regular contact with our pussy. A study published in JAMA Dermatology shows that women who have sex and who regularly receive oral sex are much more likely to groom their pubic hair. The same survey found that most women choosing to get rid of their pubic hair had partners down there who preferred less hair. Clue researchers believe that this expectation has a great deal to do with the cultural beauty standard with which we are presented. The fact that we never see pubic hair anywhere "may contribute to a self-awareness around pubic hair that leads women to remove it." Unfortunately, this societal standard has made many men part of hairless vulvas, so most of us have met a guy (or two) who urged us to get waxed. Even though you've previously listened to their requests, now is a good time to understand that any guy who tries to tell you what to do with your pubs is not worth your time. However, if your partner simply expresses their preference, here's how to negotiate that sensitive conversation. 5. Some Hair Removal Methods Are Safer Than Others If you're one of those women who've tried both hats and prefer to have no pubic hair, you'll have more power. But make sure that you are smart about your removal process; the last thing you want is to face cuts, wounds, or abscesses as you have made some basic waxing errors. When shaving, make sure you use a brand-new, clean razor to avoid razor burning. If you prefer wax, just skip the kits at home and choose the touch of a professional. Finally, as these products can burn your skin, your best bet is to avoid depilatory creams at all costs. The team at Clue recommends that you exfoliate before doing anything else when you are preparing for a hair removal sesh. "Exfoliating with a gentle scrub will remove dead skin cells in advance and reduce the likelihood of [ingrown hair] developing," check out this article on how to hygienically groom your pubic hair and read all the reasons for considering rocking a full bush. No matter what you choose to do with them, your pubs deserve the best treatment.