Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the groomers were younger than those who did not report a history of pubic grooming. In addition, the researchers found that groomers experienced more frequent sexual activity, and reported a higher number of sexual partners throughout their lifetime. The survey results also showed that the high-frequency or extreme groomers tended to be younger and female; they also reported more frequent sexual activity.
Interestingly enough, the researchers also found that grooming tool preference varied by sex. Forty-two percent of male groomers chose to use electric razors with only 12% of female groomers using that tool; 61% of female groomers preferred the use of “non-electric razor” tools versus 34% of male groomers reporting this preference.
According to the press release, extreme groomers were more likely to report having had a STD at least once in their lifetime. Thirteen percent of those who reported having STD histories either had herpes, HPV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, molluscum, or pubic lice at least once. The fact that gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis made it onto that list is no surprise: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported those three diseases as the most common STDs, and all together they accounted for a whopping total of 1.9 million cases last year.
The survey’s results regarding STD risk were troubling to say the least. High-frequency and extreme groomers had a four times higher risk of sexually-transmitted infections; the greatest risk being for herpes or HPV, which are transmitted via “skin-on-skin” contact. In addition, the researchers found that non-extreme and low-frequency groomers were more likely to report a history of pubic lice.
Almost half of Americans will acquire an STD within their lifetime, according to the researchers, and out of all of the industrialized countries, STD prevalence is highest within the United States. As a result, researchers have been putting their efforts into exploring how to cut down the number of infections. The study researchers believe that understanding the link between grooming practices and STD incidence can help guide the development of effective preventive strategies.
According to Dr. Breyer, “We need to examine the relationship of grooming and sexually transmitted infection [STI] in other populations and with different methods of exposure and outcome measurement. Grooming or not, people must remember that practicing safer sex and getting the human papilloma virus vaccine (according to CDC guidelines) are the most important things that can be done to prevent getting an STI.”
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