When it comes to grooming down there, the choice to shave, wax, or go full bush seems to be nothing more than personal preference. But a new study found that people who shave or wax their nether regions have a 75 percent higher risk of developing an STI. Trimming your pubic hair can cause microtears in your skin—easy spots for bacteria and viruses to get into your system. (A lovely image, we know.)
But before you freak out, there’s an important caveat. Most people—two in three men and four in five women—tidy up their pubic hair. And the people in the study who groomed reported having sex more often, which also increases the risk of contracting an STI.
One thing the study didn’t look at? Condom usage, which just so happens to be one of the easiest ways to lower your risk of getting an STI. So practice safe sex (duh) and maybe cut back on waxing and shaving.