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Why Do We Have Pubic Hair?

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.



Why Do We Have Pubic Hair?

Our society has declared war on pubic hair. For a long time, men have been celebrating women who conquer their pubic hair. It didn't take long for that to turn around, and men are expected to keep it clean down there too. It's not the worst thing. Reducing pubic hair increases comfort. It can also make you feel sexier and more confident. There are many compelling reasons to go ahead and take a trimmer downstairs when you weigh the pros and cons.

Then again, you might have some reservations. Most of our anatomy has some kind of purpose or other. Are pubic hairs a rare exception, or does trimming and shaving come at a cost to our health? These are worthwhile questions to ask. Before we get into the various answers, there is one essential truth to admit: no one is entirely sure. There is no consensus as to why we have pubic hair or what function it serves. There are good ideas out there, and we're going to cover the top among them.

The Barrier

When you think about this, it applies more to women than men. Plenty of doctors support the notion that pubic hair can protect the genitals from some threats of infection or harm. Clearly, pubes aren't putting up an iron curtain that is impervious to all penetration. Still, pubes can make it harder for substances containing bacteria or other antigens to make it to the goods.

You can see how this would be more beneficial for women. Most of the time, the penis extends beyond the reach of pubic hair, so you're not exactly getting protection from ingress. That's a major reason why this theory isn't universally accepted. Both men and women grow pubic hair. If it was for combatting infection, it doesn't make much sense to see it on guys.

Even if this ultimately proved true, pubic hair is not the primary line of genital defense in modern society (although it might help protect your virginity). Clothing does a better job, so the barrier theory is possibly not correct and also inconsequential. By the way, this is going to be a recurring theme. Many reasons a caveman might need pubes don't apply once you have quality threads on your body.

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Now we have the inverse. Pubic hair as a source of warmth is more important of a concept for men than women. Let's break it down. If you think back to pre-civilization humans, they wore little to no clothing. If a bunch of people are running around naked, the reproductive bits will be at greater risk of exposure and cold. If things get too cold, it can hurt the baby makers, and then there are no more humans.

Males vs. Females

With female anatomy, pubic hair for warmth seems a little less critical. The upper legs are responsible for generating most body heat, and lady bits are nestled in their pretty cozily. That doesn't make pubic hair useless for warmth, but it's not going to do a whole lot on that front.

For a guy, the balls hang free. They get a lot less direct body heat, so having a natural fur coat makes a lot more sense. That said, the majority of the pubes aren't around the balls. They're above the whole system, so how much heat are pubes trapping?

In either case, we wear clothes now. Pubic heating is no longer a major concern for humans as a species.


The rest of these theories are pretty easy to debunk. This one is different. It's the current leading theory as to why humans have pubic hair at all. Science suggests that pubic hair helps promote the effects of sexually stimulating pheromones. At the primal level, human bodies want to reproduce. Pheromone production is part of promoting sexual reproduction. When people get aroused or their fertility peaks, there is evidence that they naturally ramp up the production of sexual pheromones.

If you think back to a clothes-less society, you can easily see why pubic hair might be useful. When the pheromones are secreted, they are diffused across the hairs; this prolongs the chemicals' effectiveness and makes the process more efficient. 

Here's another way to think of it. Pubes can act as an antenna to broadcast to anyone around you that you're ready to get down and dirty.

It seems pretty legit, but once again, modern developments mitigate the necessity of pubes. First of all, you're wearing two layers of clothing between your pheromones and anyone who might receive them. Pubes just don't matter for that.

More importantly, we have smartphones. If you're in the mood, there are far more effective ways to broadcast that and find someone to reciprocate.


The last theory on pubes has to do with hygiene. This theory isn't as straightforward and is probably the weakest theory of all. Even in an ancient sense, naked humans aren't necessarily going to be cleaner because they have pubes. You don't need to be told that pubic hair can get pretty nappy. It's also necessary to spread pubic lice (also known as crabs), and several other bad things can get trapped in the hair. There are plenty of cases where it makes you decidedly less hygienic.

That said, there is a small amount of research to support this concept. It comes down to a basic observation. As pubic grooming has increased in popularity, incidences of chlamydia have also increased. Studies that look at other STIs are less conclusive, but this one trend holds. 

Here's the thing, though. There's no reason to assume that pubic hair is the reason for the change. It's far more likely that people who trim are simply getting more action. With that action comes a certain risk. The lesson here isn't to wrap your tool in pubes; it's to wrap your tool in latex.

Our Top Explanations

Some other oddball theories fly around the internet, but these are the top explanations that have actual medical backing. As you can see, none of them are all that important these days. If you're adamant about keeping your pubes untamed, you can try to use these ideas as an excuse. But, if you want the benefits of grooming your goods, feel free to get after it with a great pube trimmer. There's no real medical explanation that suggests male grooming is bad for you. So, until we tackle the next great mystery of life, feel free to stay fresh out there.



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