A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

What's the purpose of pubic hair?

September 17, 1982

Dear Cecil:

What is the function of pubic hair? This is something everyone seems to have, and just takes for granted. There are bodies that are virtually hairless, except for the pubic area, where suddenly there is a thick and luxurious patch. One explanation for pubic hair is that it acts as a cushion to prevent chafing during intercourse. But this seems unlikely to be true. If it were, we should have a lot of hair on the bottoms of our feet, for certainly we engage more in walking than in intercourse (most of us, anyway). So what is the real answer?

Dear R.:

No, I'm not making these questions up. You ought to see the ones I don't answer.

Various theories have been advanced regarding the purpose of pubic hair. For example, I have a Smithsonian monograph — nothing like a little light reading in the john — that presents the thesis that pubic and axillary (armpit) hair gives babies something to grab onto. True, my baby does this, but she's 27 years old.

Others think pubic hair helps retain glandular secretions that are a powerful aphrodisiac. According to the nation's monkey testers, armpit perfume has a direct stimulatory effect on the primate libido. Undoubtedly explains why your SO is driven wild with desire when you come in smelling a little ripe.

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