While grooming your private parts isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for many, it has become something more than just basic grooming (think a Brazilian and a vajazzled vagina) over the last decade. However, new research suggests that grooming is linked to an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections.

From the article:

“In a new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, researchers surveyed thousands of Americans about their sexual history, grooming habits and whether or not they’d ever had an STI. More than 7,500 people completed the survey, and grooming proved to be extremely popular; 66% of men and 84% of women said they’d groomed before, through methods like waxing, shaving, trimming and laser hair removal.”

Groomers were younger, more sexually active, and had more sexual partners than non-groomers- they were also more likely to report having an STI in their life like: herpes, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or HIV. But, after the research team adjusted for factors like a person’s age and number of sexual partners, a link remained.

The more frequently people groomed, the stronger the association. In fact, those who groomed daily or weekly were about 3.5 to 4 times more likely to have an STI.

But, the results don’t imply that shaving, waxing or trimming increases someone’s chance of getting an STI. In the study, people didn’t have to have a medically confirmed STI, and self-reported sexual histories are not always reliable. But the observational study still raises some interesting questions about the link.

It’s possible that grooming causes microtears and bacterial and viral STIs are better able to penetrate the skin. It’s also possible that grooming is a sign that a person is more likely to have risky sex. Far too much is unclear and more study is needed.

Source: Time