People who groom their public hair regularly are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection, say researchers in a new study. To be clear, the researchers aren't saying that the grooming itself helps lead to the STI, reports Live Science.
While it's possible that's the case—perhaps because shaving causes small tears that lead to vulnerability—it's also possible that people who groom down there are more sexually active to begin with and thus more likely to pick up an infection.
In scientist-speak, this is all about correlation, not causation. Still, the study in Sexually Transmitted Infections found that regular groomers were about four times more likely to report having had an STI.
For the study, researchers surveyed 7,580 people ages 18 to 65 and learned that 84 percent of women and 66 percent of men had shaved or otherwise trimmed their nether regions.
Of those, 17% fell into the "extreme" category of removing all hair once a month and 22 percent were in the "high frequency" category of trimming daily or weekly.
The greater the frequency, the greater the link to STIs. The upside for groomers: They had fewer reports of lice. For the record, electric razors were the most common method for women and manual razors for men, notes the BBC.
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Also of note: Of the 7,580 adults, 110 said they were virgins. Given the lack of a definitive link, how might the findings be put to use? "If a clinician were to see evidence of grooming upon physical examination, perhaps that physician should inquire about safer sex practices or a sexual history," says lead author Charles Osterberg of the University of Texas Dell Medical School, per Time.
(Meanwhile, gonorrhea is on track to defeat all known drugs in another five years.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Study Suggests You Should Leave Your Pubic Hair Alone