The stigmatization of female body hair isn't something we aren't well aware of, and talking about pubic hair, well, that's another separate taboo in itself.
There's nothing unfeminine about it and removing or keeping body hair is a personal choice afterall, but that's an entirely different discussion. While removal of pubic hair is a choice, one needs to be aware of the pros and cons associated with it too.
To be honest, there aren't exactly any pros of mowing the bush and leaving it all barren. Sure, it does feel lighter but there are ways around that too. More than the idea of removing it, the method chosen is what's more important.
Therefore, is the removal necessary at all? Why shouldn't you go all bald down there?
We spoke to Dr Tripti Sharan, Senior Consultant- Gynaecology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, to answer questions around this topic.
What is the purpose of pubic hair?
According to Dr Tripti Sharan, "the exact purpose of vaginal hair is still unclear but like hair on any other part of body, it can trap dirt, debris and even infectious agents like microorganisms."
Us humans aren't the same as other mammals when it comes to pubic hair, but that doesn’t mean our pubic hair serves no purpose at all.
Pubic hair and sensations
"The skin around the genitals is sensitive and the hair is protective by cushioning it and forming a barrier to any external influences like trauma or even environmental influences such as temperature," says Dr Tripti.
"The cushioning effect can also prevent injury to the genital skin during the sexual movements such as rubbing."Dr Tripti Sharan, Sr. Consultant- Gynaecology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital
They keep the genitals warm which is important for producing sexual sensations. So we can also think of it as a protective buffer that reduces friction during sex and other such activities.
Providing protection from infection, bacteria and other pathogens
The purpose of pubic hair is similar to that of eyelashes or nose hair. It traps dirt.
"It is definitely not unhygienic. But if a person is not following hygienic practices it can cause infection just like there can be infection in those who have removed pubic hair," Dr Tripti says.
Because hairy area has more sweat glands and more secretions from underlying glands , and some people are predisposed to making more sweat, it can make them more susceptible to infection.
"Any hair follicle if pulled out accidentally or during any hair removing procedure can cause boils."Dr Tripti Sharan, Sr. Consultant- Gynaecology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital
Hair follicles also produce an oily, waxy substance called sebum which helps in preventing bacteria from reproducing.
Pubic hair can provide protection against infections like:
sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
urinary tract infections (UTIs)
What’s the connection between the hair and pheromones and what’s the purpose of pheromones?
"Pubic hair growth happens around puberty and is under the control of sex hormones. It is presumed that they secrete a certain odour which have been linked with pheromones." Dr Tripti says.
They can make that person more sexually attractive to their partner but then sexual appeal or attractiveness is definitely more than simple chemicals or pheromones.
What is the safe and preferable option, shaving or trimming?
Removing pubic hair is a personal choice and never a medical indication except rarely when there is some active infection in that area or a surgery has to be done in that area.
Simple trimming would be the most inexpensive, simple and least traumatic method.Dr. Tripti Sharan, Sr. Consultant- Gynaecology, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital
Shaving would need more expertise.There are several ways to remove hair and one can decide according to their own preference.
"One should be careful about using clean scissor or razor blade if shaving and not cut or injure themselves especially if doing themselves", Dr Tripti says
To conclude, pubic hair isn't a problematic part of your anatomy.