People, especially women, who groom their pubic hair at least 11 times a year, are four times more likely to suffer from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) than those who never groom the area, warns a new study.
According to the findings, those who trim their public hair have 80% higher chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
A team of US researchers found that the link between grooming one's privates and harbouring an STD is stronger in those who groom more frequently or more intensively.
The study, published in the journal 'Sexually Transmitted Infections', sought to explore the ever-increasing trend of pubic grooming, a phenomenon fuelled by changing perceptions of body hair.
"Pubic hair removal has become a common practice among men and women worldwide," said study author Dr Benjamin Breyer from the University of California in San Francisco.
"The media has driven adoption of new grooming patterns and modern society's definition of attractiveness, cleanliness and feelings of femininity or masculinity," Breyer added.
The scientists polled 14,409 people about their intimate grooming habits, the tools they used, as well as their sexual histories and STDs.
The findings showed that almost 74% of the respondents said they had trimmed their pubic hair in the past, with more women (84%) than men (66%) engaging in the practice.
The researchers found that those who groomed more often tended to be younger, more sexually active and had more annual and total lifetime sexual partners than those who groomed less often.
A total of 943 respondents said they had contracted at least one of the STDs on the list - herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), syphilis, molluscum, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, HIV, or pubic lice.
But shockingly, the team found that those people who engaged in grooming of any kind had an 80% heightened risk of having a sexually transmitted disease, compared to those who never groomed.
The intensity and frequency of grooming was also linked with a greater risk - with those in the 'high frequency' and 'extreme' categories associated with a 3.5 or 4-fold increase in likelihood of infection, especially those that arise with skin-on-skin contact, like herpes.