Getting ready for oral sex or ‘liking feeling soft’ are people’s top reasons for shaving or waxing their public hair.
A study of more than 4,000 men and women delved into reasons behind people’s intimate grooming rituals, revealing 60 per cent remove all or part of their hair.
Women, of whom eight out of 10 admitted to be hair-removers, also said they did it to feel more feminine or because their sexual partner preferred it.
Men were significantly less likely to be keen groomers but almost four in 10 of those who did it admitted they believed it was more hygienic.
The scientists behind the study said removing pubic hair is becoming more common and is associated with specific injuries which doctors need to better understand.
Researchers from KU Leuven in Flanders, Belgium, surveyed more than 4,000 people and found women who were under 20 or lesbian were most likely to go hairless (stock image)
Researchers from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Flanders, Belgium, surveyed a total of 4,422 Belgian people over the age of 15.
They asked whether people groomed themselves, why they did it (but not how) and what their relationship status and sexuality were.
Men were far less likely to do so, with 39 per cent of them admitting to it.
Even women in the groups with the lowest levels of preening were more likely to do it than the best-groomed men.
Perhaps surprisingly, men over the age of 60 were considerably more likely to tame their pubic hair than the under-30s, although the opposite was true for women.
Young women between the ages of 15 and 20 were found to be the age group most likely to remove their pubic hair, with 87.8 per cent of them doing it.
But fewer than a third of men in the same age group did so.
Males were more likely to trim when they were in their 40s – the only age group with more than half of men admitting to doing it.
The scientists also found lesbian women were the best-groomed group.
Among men, bisexuals were most likely to be hairless, along with those who were married. But women were most likely to groom if dating someone they didn’t live with.
The top three reasons people picked for removing their pubic hair were also revealed in the study.
Comfort during oral sex topped the list for both, with 39.3 per cent of men and 74.9 per cent of women choosing this reason.
WHO WAS MOST AND LEAST LIKELY TO REMOVE THEIR PUBIC HAIR?
- Lesbian women (89.2%)
- Women aged 15-20 (87.8%)
- Women with live-out partner (84.8%)
- Bisexual women (83.6%)
- Women aged 20-30 (82.7%)
- Women with live-in partner (81.9%)
- Single women (79.9%)
- Straight women (79.8%)
- Women aged 40-50 (77.3%)
- Women aged 30-40 (76.1%)
- Married women (71.3%)
- Women aged 50-60 (66.4%)
- Women aged 60+ (56%)
- Bisexual men (56%)
- Men aged 40-50 (51.8%)
- Men aged 50-60 (47.9%)
- Married men (45.3%)
- Men aged 60+ (45.1%)
- Men aged 30-40 (39.7%)
- Men with live-in partner (39.1%)
- Straight men (38.5%)
- Gay men (36.7%)
- Men with live-out partner (35.6%)
- Single men (31%)
- Men aged 20-30 (28.6%)
- Men aged 15-20 (28.4%)
Source: Journal of Sexual Medicine
Exactly two thirds of women said they did it because they ‘feel more feminine when I remove my pubic hair’.
Some 63.2 per cent of women said ‘I like to feel soft’ and 62.2 per cent of them said ‘my partner wants it’.
Cleanliness was a close second for men’s top reason, with 39 per cent of them saying they ‘think it is more hygienic’.
More than a third of men (36.6 per cent) admitted they ‘like to feel soft’ and 35.6 per cent said their partner wanted them to be clean shaven.
The researchers said increasing numbers of people removing their pubic hair was leading to more injuries and infections, which doctors needed to understand.
Led by Dr Paul Enzlin, the team wrote: ‘Various cultural, artistic and historical accounts have shown that in several cultures, pubic hair removal (PHR) remains a widespread practice, especially among women.
‘In Western cultures, the prevalence of PHR is increasing, a trend accompanied by an increasing incidence of PHR injuries.
‘Indeed, complications related to PHR are common and PHR may even be a risk factor for the transmission of minor sexually transmitted infections.
‘Although this implies that PHR is relevant for sexual medicine practitioners, there remains a lack of information on its prevalence and associated factors, information that could be helpful for educating men and women about PHR in an attempt to prevent sexual health-related issues.’
In the past researchers have suggested shaving or waxing pubic hair could cause small tears in the skin which might make it easier for infections to spread.
And they have also said being hairless could be a sign of promiscuity which may make people more likely to contract an STI.
In the Belgian research, the people least likely to trim their hairs were men under the age of 30 (28.5 per cent), who were even less likely to do so than over-60s (45.1 per cent).
However, women were least likely to do it when they passed the age of 60.
Gay or single men and straight or married women were all also the most likely to go au naturel.
The top reasons for people avoiding hair removal were that their partner preferred the hair (51.6 per cent of men and 43.9 per cent of women).
And a dislike of side effects such as rashes, itching or skin bumps was also a driving factor for 47.6 per cent of men and 66.7 per cent of women.
The scientists acknowledged their survey was filled out by volunteer readers of a left-wing magazine targeted at educated people, which may have skewed its results.
Their research was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
WOMEN WHO SHAVE THEIR PUBIC HAIR ‘MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER LONG-TERM VULVA PAIN’
Women who shave or wax their pubic hair are more likely to suffer long-term pain around their genitals, according to scientists.
Wearing tight trousers may increase a woman’s risk of vulvodynia, a long-term, unexplained pain in the vulva – the external parts of the genitals.
Experts suggest being hairless, which they said is becoming more common, leaves the skin more exposed to friction which can lead to swelling ‘complications’.
And wearing tight clothes could make women more likely to develop infections like thrush or bacterial vaginosis, which are linked to the pain condition.
Scientists at Boston University surveyed 434 women between the ages of 18 and 40 and published their results in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease last month.
Around half of the women suffered from pain in the vulva, and all were asked about their clothing and grooming habits.
Women who removed all the hair from their genitals were 74 per cent more likely to have vulvodynia than those who only groomed their bikini line.
And wearing tight-fitting jeans or trousers for four or more days per week or could double the risk of the nerve pain condition.