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5 Unintended Consequences of America's War on Pubic Hair

As more and more women (and men) are expected to get rid of their pubic hair, it's time to look at some of the negative effects.

America's merciless war on pubic hair continues, with hair removal -- a trim or totally bald -- growing in popularity across gender and age groups, especially among the young: a recent study by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University found that the younger the woman the more likely she was to wax or shave all of her pubic hair. Meanwhile, alarmed health providers and researchers have launched a counter-offensive, publicizing the wide variety of nasty health effects. Here are 5 unintended consequences of our battle against pubes. 

1)The Spread of STI’s: The universe has decided humans need more ways to exchange diseases during sex. Earlier this year, a French médecin observed a surge of pube-less patients bespotted with the Molluscum contagiousm virus (MVC). The dermatologist concluded the MCV was spread amongst people who had shorn their pubic hair with razors carrying the virus (from a different part of their body), and/or bumped hairless uglies with MCV carriers. “Long ago, surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased rather than decreased surgical site infections”, wrote Emily Gibson M.D.

Skin, especially the soft epidermis of your nether regions, is made vulnerable when hair is yanked out, or burned, slashed, or pruned off. “When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA)”, as well as herpes.

2) Injuries: Recently, the journal Urology reported that pubic hair removal injuries increased fivefold between 2002 and 2010! A bit of unsolicited advice- when wielding blades around your genitals avoid going all Edward Scissorhands on yourself; 83% of those wounds were suffered from shaving (and only 56.7% of those reported injuries came from ladies). The study cites lacerations as the most common injury, with rashes coming in second. The report also describes “... the use of the shaving cream lid to control bleeding from a vaginal cut, self-circumcision with scissors, slip and fall on a razor with external genital injury, use of a razor to incise genital lesions, razor handle assault by another person, ritualistic genital cutting, and shaving skin over a spider bite” as some of the anomalous injuries sustained from hacking at the hedges. The study advises self-groomers “don’t shave while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” Where’s the fun in that? Booooo. Also, do not shave and drive. Like this Floridian (of course) woman.

Severe infections have been hospitalizing the hairless as well: after two separate incidents of women being rushed to the ER due to infections from their Brazilian waxes, the state of New Jersey considered banning the service in 2009. A diabetic woman in Australia   nearly died from the life threatening bacterial infection incurred by her Brazilian wax.

3) The expense: In its comprehensive piece about the fiscal cost of being a lady with lady problems and lady expenses, Jezebel wrote that waxes are a conservative $35 (plus tip). I found they were typically between $45-$65, or more. For those that prefer to mow their labia lawn the old fashioned way, $15.95 a month is the estimated cost of shaving supplies, in addition to “soothing gels” and ingrown hair/razor burns solutions. Don’t worry dudes! When enjoying your Dr. Pepper Ten or sipping on Pepsi Max, you too can spend your money on genital vanity. Brands once solely associated with women’s grooming have created products for men. “Who wears short shorts?” You do, bro. Salons are eager to manicure your manhood, offering services like Bliss Spa’s “the Ultimate He-Wax” (!) for a mere $125 (for the record, I think it’s masochistic to seek a brazilian wax from a place called “Bliss”).

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