16 January 2013


Among the world's wildlife, there are two primary means by which humans induce extinction.  One way is simply killing individuals until the population is decimated below its ability to sustain reproduction.  The other way is to destroy the habitat which feeds and shelters wildlife.

It is the removal of habitat (in the form of our own pubic hair) which accounts for a dramatic decline in the incidence of pubic lice worldwide (see scanning electron microscope image above, click to enlarge).  The Bloomberg headline states it plainly ~ Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species.  "Pubic lice, the crab-shaped insects that have dwelled in human groins since the beginning of history, are disappearing.  Doctors say bikini waxing may be the reason.  Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters.  More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair ~ part of a trend that's increasing in western countries.  In Australia, Sydney's main sexual health clinic hasn't seen a woman with pubic lice since 2008, and male cases have fallen 80 percent from a decade ago.

"The trend suggests an alternative way of stemming one of the globe's most contagious sexually transmitted infections.  Pubic lice are usually treated with topical insecticides, which once included toxic ones developed before and during World War II.  While they aren't known to spread disease, itchy skin reactions and subsequent infections make pubic lice a hazardous pest.  Clipping, waxing, and shaving the groin destroy the optimum habitat of pubic lice."

So now we can add hygiene and comfort as reasons favoring bikini waxing ~ augmenting the visual and tactile pleasure which many men and women experience when one or both partners are well and thoroughly groomed.

Note ~ lice species may specialize in their preferred habitat, with head lice residing on the scalp, body lice hiding in clothing, and pubic lice nestling "in the coarse hair of the pubic and perianal areas".  Among especially hirsute individuals, these parasites may migrate from their preferred habitat to other parts of the body.  All of which lends credence to the notion of habitat removal in the pubic and underarm areas of sexually active people.

Bikini waxing ~ who knew?  Small wonder that a majority of college-age women and men in the U.S. remove all or part of their pubic hair, with the grooming trend gradually making its way into older age cohorts.

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