Women in the United States increasingly groom their pubic hair, especially those who are younger, white and have partners who prefer it, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.
Previous research has suggested that most women report engaging in pubic hair grooming and pubic hair removal. Knowledge of grooming behaviors is important for health care professionals because these behaviors reflect cultural norms and can be a source of patient morbidity.
Tami S. Rowen, M.D., M.S., of the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors surveyed women to examine demographic characteristics and motivations associated with pubic hair grooming habits. The study analysis included 3,316 women who answered a question on grooming.
Of those women, nearly 84 percent reported grooming their pubic hair, 16 percent never groomed and about 62 percent reported removing all their pubic hair, according to the results. Women, on average, groomed once a month but a small percentage reported grooming daily.
White women groomed more than women of other races; women 45 to over 55 years old were less likely to groom compared with younger women 18 to 24; and women with some college education or a bachelor's degree were more likely to groom, the results indicate.
But partner preference mattered. Women were less likely to groom if their partners didn't or if their partners didn't prefer it, the authors report.
Income level, relationship status and geographic location had no association with the likelihood of grooming. Neither did the frequency of sex, types of sexual activity or the sex of a sexual partner, according to the study.
Study limitations include participants who may not have felt comfortable answering questions about sexual behavior and pubic hair grooming.
"Future direction for research include understanding the cultural differences as they relate to pubic hair grooming and the role of the health care professional in influencing women's grooming habits," the study concludes.
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JAMA Dermatology. Published online June 29, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.2154