Pubic hair removal among women in the United States: Prevalence, methods, and characteristics

Debra Herbenick, Vanessa Schick, Michael Reece, Stephanie Sanders, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


Introduction.: Although women's total removal of their pubic hair has been described as a " new norm," little is known about the pubic hair removal patterns of sexually active women in the United States. Aims.: The purpose of this study was to assess pubic hair removal behavior among women in the United States and to examine the extent to which pubic hair removal methods are related to demographic, relational, and sexual characteristics, including female sexual function. Methods.: A total of 2,451 women ages 18 to 68 years completed a cross-sectional Internet-based survey. Main Outcome Measures.: Demographic items (e.g., age, education, sexual relationship status, sexual orientation), cunnilingus in the past 4 weeks, having looked closely at or examined their genitals in the past 4 weeks, extent and method of pubic hair removal over the past 4 weeks, the Female Genital Self-Image Scale (FGSIS) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Results.: Women reported a diverse range of pubic hair-grooming practices. Women's total removal of their pubic hair was associated with younger age, sexual orientation, sexual relationship status, having received cunnilingus in the past 4 weeks, and higher scores on the FGSIS and FSFI (with the exception of the orgasm subscale). Conclusion.: Findings suggest that pubic hair styles are diverse and that it is more common than not for women to have at least some pubic hair on their genitals. In addition, total pubic hair removal was associated with younger age, being partnered (rather than single or married), having looked closely at one's own genitals in the previous month, cunnilingus in the past month, and more positive genital self-image and sexual function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3322-3330
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010



  • Depilation
  • Female Genital Self-Image Scale
  • Female Sexual Function
  • Genital Self-image
  • Pubic Hair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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