Most people have it, but have you ever stopped to wonder why? What is the function of pubic hair, and why do people have it? Get the full story.
The development of public hair is a display of maturity, a sign that a child has grown from a child into a mature man or woman. Pubic hair isn’t a topic most people talk about, although some people make their own statement with it by shaving or even dyeing it a different color. In some cultures, such as in Islamic society, pubic hair is completely removed by shaving. But, why does a person have this type of hair in the first place? What exactly is the function of pubic hair?
The Function of Pubic Hair
The truth is no one really knows exactly why humans have pubic hair, although several theories exist. The most compelling argument for the presence of pubic hair is that these hairs help to retain natural phermones produced by glands to entice the opposite sex and encourage reproduction with a suitable partner. Phermones are produced by apocrine glands found in “hairy” areas of the body, such as under the arms and the genital region. The hair in these areas traps the pheromones, which are relatively odorless until bacteria break them down.
According to some theories, animals and people are attracted to members of the opposite sex who have phermone scents that are distinctly different from their own. This reduces the risk of inbreeding, which could produce offspring with genetic defects. Pubic hair helps to trap these volatile scent molecules, which are quickly broken down when exposed to air.
Other Theories as to Why People Have Pubic Hair
Another theory as to why people have pubic hair is to provide protection for the delicate tissues that lie in the region. This idea is supported by the fact that pubic hair is usually wiry and thicker in texture than the hair in other regions. A thick tuft of pubic hair also helps to hold on to heat. This would have been important in prehistoric times when people wore minimal clothing. Pubic hair may also serve as a visual cue, showing that a person is mature and capable of sexual reproduction.
The Bottom Line?
Why humans have pubic hair isn’t completely understood, although the pheromone theory is the most plausible. It likely will remain one of the human body’s great unsolved mysteries.
Merck Manual. Eighteenth Edition.
Morris, Desmond (2007). The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body. St Martin’s Griffin.