Sunday, January 8, 2017

Brazilians could increase your risk of contracting STIs? Rubbish!

Do not fear people from Brazil, says the study, fear sexual partners who have removed their pubic hair....?
This story on an Australian website popped up on my Facebook the other day and as a fan of the 'bare' pussy I was naturally alarmed:
Pubic hair grooming, including shaving, trimming and the full Brazilian, could increase your risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to a new study. Researchers from the University of California conducted a survey on over 14,000 people between 18 and 65 years of age and found that “groomers” had a higher risk of getting an STI than “non-groomers”. 
The study was published in the research journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. 
“In this study, we demonstrate that pubic hair grooming linked to heightened sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk,” lead author Dr E. Charles Osterberg told “In particular, this association is strongest among those who groom their pubic hair frequently and/or remove all of their pubic hair often,” he says. 
The survey asked respondents about their sexual history and the frequency and intensity (trimming or complete removal) of their pubic hair-grooming regimen — groomers tended to be younger, more sexually active and have more sexual partners. However, it was found that even when adjusting the responses for age and number of lifetime sexual partners, pubic hair removal of any kind was associated with an 80 per cent increased risk of STIs.
If my wife saw it I knew she might use this info as a reason not to get a brazilian (she's done it three times, as a treat for me, but was once against the idea in principle - see here, here, and here) so I was keen to debunk this 'scientific' study. Lucky for me, it didn't appear to be that scientific after all. Yes, they did a study but the results were 'observational' and required the participants to self report. As we all know, what one person calls big another person might call average. It's all subjective.
Because it was an observational study, the researchers stress that no solid conclusions can be drawn about causality — there is only a positive correlation between grooming and risk of infection. Instead, they suggest that pubic hair removal could simply be a proxy for higher levels of sexual activity, for example having frequent sex could motivate you to better groom more often, which is also linked to higher risk of getting an STI. 
“As society’s definition of attractiveness and feelings of femininity and masculinity have changed, the perceptions of genital normalcy have changed,” says Osterberg. “Prior data suggests that men and women may groom prior to anticipated sexual activity.” 
Dr Brad McKay, a Sydney GP and host of TV's Embarrassing Bodies Down Under, agrees with this assessment that people are more likely to tidy up their groin if they think other people might see it. “People who groom are more likely to have sex," Dr McKay told "but it’s the sex that increases your chance of getting an STI, not the grooming.” 
Phew! So I wasn't the only one to spot the obvious flaw in their study - the more sex you have the more likely you are to catch an STI at some stage. Whether you're bare 'down there' or bushy really wouldn't make much difference. A shaved virgin would likely have no STI's. Osterberg seems (IMO) to have come into the study with a preconceived bias:
“To date, little is known about the potential link between grooming and STIs,” says Osterberg. “Prior case reports have suggested there may be an association.” 
Around 13 per cent of respondents reported having had at least one of the following infections: Herpes, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), molluscum, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV, or pubic lice. It was also found that 17 per cent of survey respondents were classified as “extreme” groomers who removed all pubic hair at least 11 times a year, whereas 22 per cent were classified as “high frequency” groomers who trimmed their pubic hair on a daily or weekly basis. 
In contrast, those who reported low intensity and/or frequency of grooming were associated with twice the risk of getting a lice infestation, which is supported by research showing that pubic hair removal makes it harder for crabs to breed. The most common grooming tool among men was the electric razor (42 per cent), and among women it was the manual razor (61 per cent).
The bold emphasis in all excerpts above are mine ~ Nero. 

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