If You Shave 'Down There' You Could Be Risking An STI, Says Study

"I would probably avoid an aggressive shave right before having sex."
Drying woman swimsuit against blue sky
Drying woman swimsuit against blue sky
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If you shave down there, you may be at greater risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Or so suggests one study.

American doctors from the University of California surveyed more than 7,500 Americans and found that pubic hair grooming was positively related to self-reported STI history.

How so?

Shaving and trimming can leave small cuts in the skin that can make it easier for infections to spread.

Further, because groomers are said to have more sex, this puts them at risk of contracting infections from unprotected genital contact.

Local clinical sexologist, Professor Elna McIntosh, says the findings are not too far off from the truth.

"The problem is how people shave, not necessarily the fact that they do," she told HuffPost SA. Aggressive or bad shaving can lead to a bad skin condition that can transmit infection from one person to the next.

"Any time there is a cut, it can become an entry point for infection," she explained. She cautioned, however, that it can also just be a bacterial infection, and not necessarily an STI. "Not every genital infection is because of an STI."

Her advice: "Shave correctly. Do not share shaving equipment. Use clean wax. Visit a beauty parlour you trust and if a problem around your genital area persists, see a dermatologist to confirm if it's an STI or an infection caused by something else."

Something echoed by the urologist who led the American study, Benjamin Breyer. He said while there's no knowing with absolute certainty if grooming causes the increase in risk for infections, he advises people to "avoid an aggressive shave right before having sex".

And if there's a cut, Breyer suggested that shavers perhaps cut back on their grooming and delay having sex until their pubic area is healed.

In other words, go natural, at least for a while.