Researchers aren't sure why this link exists, but one theory was that people who groom with razors may create "epidermal microtears," which may make them more likely to contract an STD like HPV. There’s a catch, though: People who groomed were also usually younger and more sexually active than non-groomers, and they had more total lifetime sexual partners.
Obviously the more sexual partners you have, the higher your odds of contracting an STD. Plus, the CDC estimates that half of new STD infections occur among young people, reinforcing the notion that younger people are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour, thus upping the odds of STD contraction.
It’s also important to note that this was an observational study, so scientists can’t say that cleaning up your pubes actually increases your STD risk—they just noticed a link between the two.
In other words, do what you want with your pubic hair. So long as you practice safe sex and regularly check in with your OB/GYN, it’s likely you’ll be just fine.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.