Health Benefits of Natural Pubic Hair

No more ingrowns, better body confidence, and other full-bush health benefits.

For years, the trendiest pubic hair style was a trimmed or bald bush. But we've noticed a recent uptick in the number of people who've tossed out their razors and waxing kits in favor of letting pubic hair grow au natural. Natural pubic hair seems to be coming back into style—and it might be because more people are discovering the surprising health benefits.

"From a health standpoint, removing pubic hair can lead to irritation of the hair follicle, and open wounds or nicks, which may increase the risk for sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission," said Maureen Whelihan, MD, an OB-GYN at the Elite GYN Care of the Palm Beaches in Florida.

While it's not clear if less hair means a higher risk of STIs, a study published in 2017 in Sexually Transmitted Infections found that pubic hair removal was associated with increased transmission of herpes and HPV.

Curious about some of the other wellness benefits, we asked six women who love their hairy pubes to tell us how it's boosted their physical, mental, and sexual health. Here's why they've sworn off grooming for good.

Increase Confidence With Pubic Hair

Pubic hair removal choices can have an impact on relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction for both partners.

A research study published in 2019 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men's sexual and relationship satisfaction was correlated with how much their partner's pubic hair removal practices were in line with the men's expectations. For women, sexual and relationship satisfaction was correlated with whether they met their partner's expectations and the women used pubic hair removal as a way to enhance feelings of femininity.

And some people value their own decisions about pubic hair removal.

"I always kept my bush because I never liked the way [my vagina] looked or felt without hair. For years I felt ashamed about that, especially in my teens and early 20s—when it seemed like everyone was totally bald. But by honoring my hair preferences, I knew I was a lot more confident in the bedroom than if I'd shaved. I also learned that if a partner didn't like it, they weren't the partner for me." —Danny, 26

Avoid Painful and Unsightly Ingrown Hairs

A study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that of the women who had ever removed their pubic hair, 60% experienced complications. The most common complications of pubic hair removal were abrasions (40%) and ingrown hairs (35%).

"Why am I bush-positive? Because ingrown hairs suck. And I don't have to worry about getting them if I don't shave or wax. When I did, I'd try to find shaving cream, post-wax oil, or some other soothing product that could prevent them. So I finally decided to leave my hair be. I'm glad there are plenty of people and potential partners who appreciate a full bush and think it's sexy." —Ellen, 32

Feel Powerful

People have a variety of feelings about the value of shaving pubic hair or letting it go. A research study published in 2015 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found a number of reasons for women's choices, including feelings of cleanliness, comfort, and sex appeal.

"Having pubic hair is like giving the finger to that prepubescent look that porn made so popular. My bush makes me feel powerful and womanly, and 100% sexy. For me, it's all about feeling confident and body positive in my natural state. My advice to any woman who is growing out her pubes for the first time is to own it. Strut your stuff. Embrace your natural body state." —Meghan, 24

Heal From Chafed and Bumpy Skin

Itching is a common side effect of shaving pubic hair. In fact, The Journal of Sexual Medicine study found that itching was reported by 80% of the people who groomed their pubic hair. And a 2016 research study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported that pubic hair removal can cause skin injuries, including serious injuries that require emergency medical intervention.

"My ex-boyfriend expressed a preference for hair, so I stopped shaving to see if I'd like it, too. I'd started removing my pubic hair as soon as it began appearing, so I'd never seen myself with a bush. Turns out, I loved it! Zero irritation, no razor bumps, no weird chafing from my spandex shorts or underwear. He and I have since broken up, but I still sport a bush. I recommend that any woman who has never seen or felt her lady bits with pubes grow it out at least once. You could find you love it as much as I do." —Elizabeth, 25

Avoid Pubic Hair Removal and Vaginal Irritation

Research published in 2017 in the journal Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that pubic hair shaving is associated with inflammation, particularly when using a razor. In fact, the researchers found that shaving could increase the risk of dysplasia (precancerous skin changes).

And research from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported injuries from chemical forms of pubic hair removal.

"Creams and at-home waxing kits made me break out, shaving left me with painful bumps, and plucking was a pain. Professional waxing was not only expensive and time-consuming, but it hurt. After 15 or 20 years of this, I decided to finally listen to my body. Now I have a 1970s-style porn bush, and I love it. I can wear way sexier lace underwear without dealing with irritation because my hair protects me from nasty rub." —Alexa, 35

Save Time

Time and practicality are also considerations when it comes to deciding whether to remove pubic hair. Aside from the time spent shaving, people also have to spend time buying products, and many have to deal with the hassle of managing complications. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology study reported that 25% of the women who stopped shaving their pubic hair cited hassle as a factor in their decision.

"One day I was in the shower using a razor on my nether regions and I thought to myself, How much time could I save if I just stopped grooming? At first, not shaving was an experiment: save 10 minutes two to three times a week. But the longer I stopped shaving, the more having hair grew on me, and I ended up enjoying the look of it. By not shaving, I save 20 minutes a week, which is almost seven hours a year. LOL." —Carly, 27

A Quick Review

Letting your pubic hair grow out naturally comes with physical, mental, and sexual health benefits.

It can boost your confidence and make you feel powerful. It will save you time (and money). Not only that—you'll also have fewer side effects from hair removal procedures, like pain and irritation from ingrown hairs and inflammation. Plus, your hair-protected skin won't chafe anymore in your lace lingerie.

So embrace these benefits of ditching the razors and waxing sessions in favor of letting your pubes grow naturally—and take pride in your natural state.

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  1. Osterberg EC, Gaither TW, Awad MA, et al. Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs: Results from a nationally representative probability sampleSex Transm Infect. 2017;93(3):162-166.

  2. Enzlin P, Bollen K, Prekatsounaki S, Hidalgo L, Aerts L, Deprest J. “To shave or not to shave”: Pubic hair removal and its association with relational and sexual satisfaction in women and menThe Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2019;16(7):954-962. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.04.005

  3. Demaria AL, Flores M, Hirth JM, Berenson AB. Complications related to pubic hair removalAm J Obstet Gynecol. 2014;210(6):528.e1-528.e5. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2014.01.036

  4. Butler SM, Smith NK, Collazo E, Caltabiano L, Herbenick D. Pubic hair preferences, reasons for removal, and associated genital symptoms: Comparisons between men and womenThe Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2015;12(1):48-58. doi:10.1111/jsm.12763

  5. Swain TA, Tully AS, Redford T, McGwin G. Hair removal-related injuries in the United States, 1991-2014J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016;15(4):444-451. doi:10.1111/jocd.12283

  6. Schild-Suhren M, Soliman AA, Malik E. Pubic hair shaving is correlated to vulvar dysplasia and inflammation: a case-control studyInfect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2017;2017:9350307. doi:10.1155/2017/9350307

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