Male preference for female pubic hair: an evolutionary view
Summary The ectoparasite avoidance hypothesis proposes that human hairlessness was favoured by sexual selection, because hairless individuals suffered from lower parasite loads. Females have seemingly less hairy bodies than men suggesting that the selection toward hairlessness is more intense in females than in males. This study examined male preference for hairy and shaved female genitalia. Pubic hair, although still functional in terms of dissipation of phermononal secretions, was perceived by heterosexual males recruited in the university (age range: 19–38 years, N = 96) as much less attractive as shaved female genitalia. Males who were more disgust sensitive and those who were sexually unrestricted showed a stronger preference for shaved genitalia than others. Self-reported frequency of pornography consumption was associated, contrary to expectations, with a stronger preference for hairy genitalia which suggests that this may be a result of negative frequency dependent selection. Older males also preferred hairy genitalia more than younger males. Overall, these results suggest that a preference for shaved genitalia may be explained by the superficial resemblance of pubic hair with chest hair, which is less developed as in our evolutionary past, perhaps due to the benefits associated with ectoparasite avoidance.