Have you ever wondered why we have pubic hair? Evolution has caused much of the hair all over our bodies to become lighter and thinner, but why not in our pubic area and underarms? Hair in these areas remains thick, coarse or curly and typically grows to a certain length then stops. Is pubic hair covering just an evolutionary remnant or does it really have a purpose?
First, pubic and underarm hair grows in the parts of our body that have the sweat glands that produce odor. The body has two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are located all over the body and are responsible for cooling rising temperatures. Their sweat does not have odor. Apocrine glands are located in our underarms, pubic, areola and facial areas and produce odor when bacteria on the skin come in contact with it.
Scientists think pubic and underarm hair play a role in absorbing and holding on to the odor of pheromones given off when we sweat. Pheromones are the unique scents each of us emit, which are felt to attract the opposite sex. Interestingly, there was a study by Claus Wedekind that tested women who smelled the T-shirts of different men and then were asked to rate the odors in terms of sexual attraction. Women were more attracted to smells that are the least similar to their own supporting his idea that opposite attraction ensures a more robust immune system in the offspring that may come from their union.
It has been hypothesized that pubic hair may contribute to warming our pubic area because before man wore clothes, loincloths were worn to cover and hold in heat around our genitals. However, if this was so males would have more hair actually growing on their penises and women would grow hair in the lower abdomen to keep their ovaries warm as well. Others have thought that pubic hair might be a way to help keep dirt and bacteria out of the vagina and urethra but this logic fails on men since their urethras are inches away from their pubic hair.
Some have suggested that pubic hair acts like a signal that a mate is of age to reproduce and some believe it is a god given modesty shield.