Hopefully, you already know that the most effective way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection is to avoid unprotected sex. But there are a few other, less obvious things that can affect your risk of contracting an STI that you should know about. It should be said up front none of these things have huge, definitive effects, so don’t freak out if they apply to you. But it’s still interesting to know what scientific data has found, and it can’t hurt to tweak some of your current habits to reduce your risk, right?
1. Removing pubic hair
A recent study in Sexually Transmitted Infections found that grooming down there at some point doubles your likelihood of getting an STI, and doing so 12 times or more per year quadruples your changes. Now, it’s possible that people who are more susceptible to STIs in the first place are more likely to trim, shave, or wax their bushes. But OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter told NPR that these rituals can tear your skin, providing more ways for STIs to be transmitted. So, if you must groom, it’s probably best not to do it right before sex.
2. You’ve had an STI before