May 19, 2011

Q&A: If I Shave My Pubic Hair, Am I Less Likely To Get Pubic Lice?

Pubic lice, which are also called “crabs,” are found crawling along coarse body hair. But these are not the only hair that they may hang around in.

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Question: Does shaving your pubic hairs cause you to be less likely to get human lice? Also would you recommend to shaving them off?

A Hairy Situation

Pubic lice, which are also called “crabs”, are found crawling along coarse body hair, such as men’s or women’s pubic hair.

But these are not the only hair that they may hang around in. Pubic lice are sometimes also found in men’s beards or mustaches or in people’s eyebrows or eyelashes, which is something to be consider about giving oral sex to a partner and getting one’s eyes very close to their genital area.

Cling To Me

If there are no hairs in a certain area to cling to, then a person is highly unlikely to get pubic lice. As such, if someone removes all of their pubic hair, then there will be no hairs for pubic lice to cling to should that person have sex with someone who has pubic lice. If a person shaves some of their pubic hair off, but not all of it, then there will still be some hair for lice to cling to.

That said, pubic lice are relatively uncommon and are not necessarily a reason to remove one’s pubic hair.

Many Different Hair Styles

Many men and women enjoy having some amount of pubic hair. It can feel sensual to gently tug on one’s own or a partner’s pubic hair and many people find the presence of pubic hair to be quite sexy and erotic.

After all, pubic hair begins growing at the time of puberty, so for many people, seeing pubic hair on their partner is closely linked with sexual excitement and sexual development.

Then again, everyone has their own preference and there are numerous pubic hair styles that one can have.

Some people go totally natural. Others use scissors to trim their pubic hair. Some people shave or wax the sides of their pubic hair, such as the hair on the inner thighs. Others shave or wax more hair off, or may do so in ways that create certain shapes or designs.

There are even pubic hair design stencils that one can purchase to more easily fashion one’s pubic hair into the shape of a heart, star or a letter – such as the first letter of your or your partner’s first name.

Take It All Off

Some people choose to remove all of their pubic hair.

In one study that I worked on that looked at the pubic hair removal methods of 2,451 women, we found that – contrary to what is sometimes described in the media – only about 20% of college aged women removed all of their pubic hair very often. It was more common for college aged women, as well as those in their mid-to-late 20s and 30s, to keep some hair.

For example, among women ages 25 to 29, 50% only removed some of their pubic hair through shaving or waxing and 19% didn’t shave or wax any of it off.

Personal Preference

Choosing a pubic hair style is personal. It’s something that people decide for themselves, sometimes doing what they themselves find sexy, comfortable or affordable and other times letting a partner having a say in the matter.

As such, there is no one pubic hair style that I recommend except to say that I hope people choose styles that help them to feel good about their bodies and comfortable with themselves.

More Information

For information about pubic hair removal methods and health issues for women, check out The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health.

Next Question: Frustrated By Long Blowjob With A Virgin

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 6 months. I am his first girlfriend and he’s never had sex before. He hasn’t been able to reach an orgasm from a hand job, so I find a blow job the only way of pleasing him. However, it still takes him a while – sometimes nearly 45 minutes. He says that I’m not doing anything to cause him pain or discomfort and that he gets close but then it just starts to feel “different”. Is there anything that I can do or avoid doing to try to help him? At first I thought he was just nervous and I tried to get him to relax, but now I am starting to get a little frustrated.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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