The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?  (Read 52707 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« on: 23/10/2007 15:22:11 »
My question is about pubic hair. Some people have said its purpose is to protect your bits, or to keep your bits warm, or to make you smell more attractive to the opposite sex. I want to know why to humans have it, do other animals have it, and what is its main function?
Asked by John, Hong Kong

                                          Read this Question from our Podcast
« Last Edit: 30/11/2007 14:26:12 by BenV »


 

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
Re: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #1 on: 23/10/2007 15:22:11 »
We asked Christophe Soligo from University College London to help with this question...

I think a good indication of why we have pubic hair comes from the distribution of sweat glands that humans have.  We essentially have two types of sweat glands; ones which are called eccrine glands, which are distributed across the whole of the body and theyíre the sweat glands which we use for keeping cool.  On top of these we also have a second type of sweat glands which are called apocrine glands.  The distribution of apocrine glands essentially coincides with the distribution of pubic and also axillary hair in the armpit, and the secretion from apocrine glands also contains small parts of cellular material.  The cellular material gets broken down by bacteria and thatís what creates to a large extent our personal body odour.  So the secretion from sweat glands together with the location and the hair creates a nice damp substrate for growth for bacteria.

The next step is a bit more complicated than just to smell more attractive to the opposite sex.  Some research thatís been done where men were made to wear the same t-shirt for several nights running, and women were made to smell the t-shirts after and to rank them according to how attractive they found the smell.  The result was that women seem to be able to detect genetic differences in the men, specifically in a genetic complex we call the Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC).  Whatís interesting there is that women were actually going for the men whose MHC composition was the most different to their own.  That makes sense in the context of fighting disease because if you have offspring with a very variable MHC it increases their ability to fight off disease.
« Last Edit: 13/11/2007 12:11:28 by BenV »
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Re: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #2 on: 24/10/2007 13:49:54 »
I would guess that they are a left over from when we were covered in hair, but what purpose does it now serve?

I think this may have been answered by Rosy in another topic, when she states:

I think it's pretty generally accepted that pheremones can and do affect human behaviour. Just because we don't recognise them as a "smell" doesn't mean our noses aren't detecting it...
Women release pheremones at some stage of their menstrual cycle which causes other women living in close proximity to them to tend to synchronise with them (an utter pain in the neck if living in a shared house with a group of girls, believe me..).

There are lots of other examples out there....

So i say, that pubic hair acts as a sort of wick to release pheromones.

If this is correct, does Rosy get a prize? If she does then i think she should really donate it to me as there may be a conflict of interest!  ;)
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2331
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
Re: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #3 on: 24/10/2007 21:38:48 »
I am an expert on pubic hair. When I began conducting research into Inclined Bed Therapy we noticed, actually a nurse taking part in the primary study noticed that her pubic hair was no longer the preverbial short and curlies but continued to grow and became less course than before. Great I said sheepishly, thinking now this I gotta check out for myself as I was also sleeping on an inclined bed and so was my very understanding lab rat and darling wife Jude.
Sure enough my own pubes had to be cut off as they no longer fall out as they had done previously. We also noticed not much hair in the bathwater either. Fascinating, bacause my research was all about maintaining the circualtion while we sleep by tilting the head of the bed by six inches or fifteen cm's providing a level but tilted mattress avoiding flat bed rest since 1994. There have been many more observations using the same principle which have been discussed at length on the Naked Scientists forum. I have mentioned this several times before http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=10224.0

Andrew K Fletcher
 

Offline ukmicky

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3011
    • View Profile
    • http://www.space-talk.com/
Re: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #4 on: 24/10/2007 21:46:31 »
I've noticed during summer when i wear shorts the hairs on my legs get thicker and longer in certain places. This is due to their being less friction from jeans, trousers etc rubbing on my legs eroding and breaking the hairs off. So maybe pubic hair is so thick as they are in a place with low friction ,plus the need for the body to keep certain parts warm.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Re: QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #5 on: 25/10/2007 21:40:09 »
ok whats the big idea? nobody contributes until i ,in passing, mention a prize!..it' mine i tell y'...all mine...rubs hands with big smile on face
 

lyner

  • Guest
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #6 on: 10/01/2008 13:19:25 »
I'm always amazed at the preoccupation with removing pubic and underarm hair. Is it because many people have a yearning to being pre-pubic again?
The smell /deoderant  thing has got out of hand too.
Where does the social pressure originate from? It just ain't natural.
 

Offline that mad man

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 724
    • View Profile
    • My music
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #7 on: 10/01/2008 17:35:34 »
I think it could just be a remnant of evolution.

With evolution and modern living/dressing I don't think it is necessary any more and think that overtime it, hair, will eventually disappear. Sorry to say but I also think that includes head hair. :o

Any pheromones will still get released regardless of having hair and we now wear clothes that absorb sweat and act as a "wick" instead.

@ sophiecentaur

I think its all media and money related. The deodorant and "smell" industry is worth a fortune and people are made self concious where there is no need to be. Take the introduction of "feminine deodorants", designed to make women self concious of something they had no need to worry about in the past.
BTW
I remember a "top of the pops" where a female artist Nena did a song called "99 red ballons." The song became a hit but it was also famous for the woman appearing on the ToTP stage with hair under her armpits!!!!

There was quite an uproar but it didn't last long, because of media pressure she was made to shave her pits clean.  [:0]

Bee


 

lyner

  • Guest
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #8 on: 14/01/2008 11:20:47 »
I can't imagine female fashion going for the bald look for some while - like School uniform, hair is a great cosmetic for distracting attention from other, less attractive features. The only women who look good with no hair are lucky enough to have very good, regular and symmetrical features - the very occasional Pop Singer succeeds with this look.
Some blokes get away with looking a bit 'ard' with very short hair / shaved heads because Women are less superficial in their appreciation of men so it doesn't affect our 'chances'.
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #9 on: 14/01/2008 12:13:55 »
The distribution of apocrine glands essentially coincides with the distribution of pubic and also axillary hair in the armpit, and the secretion from apocrine glands also contains small parts of cellular material.  The cellular material gets broken down by bacteria and thatís what creates to a large extent our personal body odour.  So the secretion from sweat glands together with the location and the hair creates a nice damp substrate for growth for bacteria.




does this mean that when we shave our armpit and/or pubic hair, our personal scent changes?
 

Offline Simulated

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7188
  • Thanked: 1 times
  • Simulated..What more do you needa know :P
    • View Profile
    • Facebook
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #10 on: 20/01/2008 17:46:53 »
I've noticed during summer when i wear shorts the hairs on my legs get thicker and longer in certain places. This is due to their being less friction from jeans, trousers etc rubbing on my legs eroding and breaking the hairs off. So maybe pubic hair is so thick as they are in a place with low friction ,plus the need for the body to keep certain parts warm.

That's true.

My dad had these work jeans he had at he's old work and a big area on the front of his leg is missing hair and hasn't grown back in the 5 years since he quit.
 

Offline JnA

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1093
  • Stunt Scientist
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #11 on: 21/01/2008 03:57:50 »
I've noticed during summer when i wear shorts the hairs on my legs get thicker and longer in certain places. This is due to their being less friction from jeans, trousers etc rubbing on my legs eroding and breaking the hairs off. So maybe pubic hair is so thick as they are in a place with low friction ,plus the need for the body to keep certain parts warm.

That's true.

My dad had these work jeans he had at he's old work and a big area on the front of his leg is missing hair and hasn't grown back in the 5 years since he quit.

yes, lots of SCI's get this on parts of their legs that always rubs against the footplate uprights.
 

Offline AlphBravo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 65
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #12 on: 12/02/2008 05:31:35 »
The purpose of pubic hair, is like a floral show, for primates, in 5 colours.
The shaving apparently is a Hebrew custom, but of course due to fashion or is that peer pressure?
One has to cut down the infectious hair from the nether region, think of the bacteria in that forest, and apparently does cut down yeast type infections etc.
Shaving the hair would limit the distribution of the pheromones.
« Last Edit: 12/02/2008 05:35:02 by AlphBravo »
 

Offline paros

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #13 on: 16/02/2008 18:46:58 »
So to summarize, the purpose of pubic hair is to "hold scent".
 

GingerCooke007

  • Guest
None
« Reply #14 on: 11/08/2008 17:28:24 »
I developed a theory on the purpose of pubic hair 32 years ago when my firstborn was an infant.  While laying in bed with him sleeping on my stomach I noticed that when he startled he reached out with his hands, making a grasping motion and his toes came together in a grasping fashion.  I was reading a book about a lost tribe in the Phillipines at the time so I was focused on evolution.  
I believe we have short curly pubic and underarm hair for the babies to hold on to as we walk around.  Naturally once we lost body hair we had to keep hair somewhere for the babies to curly their fingers and toes in.  
This theory is also supported by the fact that we don't get pubic hair until puberty and it becomes sparse and straight after menopause.
 

jeremy

  • Guest
None
« Reply #15 on: 03/09/2008 22:38:33 »
how come no other primates sweat or have hair in their nether regions? i cant think of any other animal that sweats
 

Dave

  • Guest
None
« Reply #16 on: 20/12/2008 20:04:12 »
First of all, you need to understand that human hair loss is due to sexual selection.  Males selected hairless females because they were more attractive.  Mature females retained hair in the pubic region because it hid the trauma of childbirth and maintained their attractiveness to males (no stitches back then).  Males have pubic hair and are relatively hairless as a result of having selected females to be this way and picking up the traits themselves through their mamas.  
 

Clare Raine

  • Guest
None
« Reply #17 on: 26/02/2009 22:56:26 »
My friend and I have been discussing the purpose of pubic hair. All joking aside, we were wondering if, when we all walked around naked, it was a means for stopping bugs from entering our private areas? further, purhaps when food was 'hunted and gathered' it was also a means for catching brunch?
 

Tony

  • Guest
None
« Reply #18 on: 02/05/2009 01:56:28 »
Could it just be garnish?
 

MATTZ

  • Guest
None
« Reply #19 on: 13/05/2009 09:51:47 »
...im not 100 percent suer on this but i think garnish means edible. *shivers*
 

kane-o

  • Guest
None
« Reply #20 on: 27/06/2009 00:05:37 »
I have loads, and think it's there to keep me warm when my clothes fall off on a cold night.
 

smokeyjoe

  • Guest
None
« Reply #21 on: 17/11/2009 09:12:46 »
I was just wondering, if pubic hair is a haven for bacteria, could it perhaps be a cause of infection if left to grow realy long or in incontinent older adults? Has anyone ever done any studies on this sort of thing?
 

Steffens Thomas G.

  • Guest
None
« Reply #22 on: 20/11/2009 14:52:15 »
We have pubic hair to show that we are sexually mature and fertile. A caveman wants his genes to survive into the future. No sense on picking a female who isn't sexually mature.
 

Offline Shibs

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 21
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #23 on: 30/11/2009 22:20:46 »
"Not tonight dear. I'm washing my pubic hair."
 

Offline josogomez

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #24 on: 01/12/2009 09:26:42 »
I wonder if shaving off the pubic hair deters its purpose though it satisfies the aesthetic sense of today's fashion/fad.   ???
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

QotW - 07.10.28 - Why have Pubic Hair?
« Reply #24 on: 01/12/2009 09:26:42 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums