05/07/2013 05:43 BST | Updated 05/07/2013 17:58 BST

Is Sex And The City Responsible For A Decline In Pubic Lice?


It may have been nearly 10 years since the show last aired, but we still continue to love Sex And The City via boxset for easing the pain of bad relationships, crappy sex and fostering the continual appreciation of female friendship. Now, it appears, there's a new reason - albeit not glamorous - to thank the girls: a steadying decline in pubic lice.

The main reason for this is that after the show, bikini waxing, specifically Brazilian waxing, grew tremendously in popularity, and the, ahem, deforestation down below means lice can't thrive in the way that they used to. It may sound like we're making this up, but the hypothesis will be presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference in Liverpool next week.

Pubic lice (Phthirus pubis) are tiny parasitic insects that live in coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair and are spread through close body contact, most commonly sexual contact.

Dr Kun Sen Chen, one of the authors of the presentation, said: “Pubic hair removal has been practised by humans for thousands of years, by cultures from all over the world, including the Ancient Egyptians. However, until recently, with the rise of truly global mass media, pubic lice have been able to weather changing cultural attitudes to body hair.

“What we have seen at work is the law of unintended consequences, in popularising hair removal Carrie Bradshaw and co. have contributed to ridding humanity of pest that had plagued humans for millions of years. Sadly there isn’t an Emmy for that”.


A UK study showed a fourfold increase in its incidence, from 0.8% in 1954 to 3.2% in 1964, which may have been due to increased sexual freedom. But from 1997 to 2003 a further UK study revealed a steep decline from about 0.41% to 0.17%.

A decrease in sexual activity could not have accounted for this, as depressingly, the prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases has increased.

However, before we start handing out awards to Carrie and her gang, the increase of over-the-counter treatments also may have contributed towards a decline in pubic lice cases.

Not everyone is happy about the trend for pubic hair removal however, as it serves a purpose, namely cushioning against abrasions and protecting from bacteria.