In my social circle, pubic hair has become the topic of much discussion lately. Recently, after a couple glasses of wine, a few friends divulged that they had pumped the breaks on their Brazilian waxing habits. It seems the bush is back. And, honestly, this probably isn’t news to you. With new products like pubic hair oil now on the market, it’s clear that women are embracing a little bit of pubic hair growth.

How many women shave their pubic hair?
Turns out, a lot. According to a study in JAMA Dermatology published in October 2016, 84 percent of women surveyed, ranging in age from 18 to 64, copped to grooming their pubic hair in 2013 (the year that the findings were collected). That’s a pretty big slice of the population!

Of these women, it seems that razors were the most common tool for hair removal. According to the data, 61% shave, 18% trim, 12% use an electric razor, and just 5% waxed. So even though waxing is top of mind lately, it seems like shaving is still the method of choice for most women.

Unfortunately, this study didn’t include men. But we do know that men are removing hair as well. A recent survey by Cosmopolitan found that 10% of men kept their genitalia au natural, compared to 6% of women surveyed.

When do women start grooming their pubic hair?
One writer caused a stir about a year ago when she penned an article about shaving her 10-year-old’s pubic hair. Her point? If her daughter felt uncomfortable with her body’s changes, then why should she have to suffer through them?

In an informal poll of my social circle, most respondents started grooming their pubes in middle school, around the ages of 12-14. Many of them cited “bathing-suit season” as the main impetus behind starting a new beauty routine, saying sex didn’t really play a role yet. Almost all of them started out by shaving. The hair removal method is cheap, easy, and painless, so it’s no wonder that so many girls start off this way.

Is pubic hair maintenance a lifelong commitment?
According to JAMA’s survey, grooming habits fluctuate with age. Women older than 45 were far less likely to trim or remove their pubic hair than their younger counterparts. Being loyal to one grooming method doesn’t mean that a woman has to be a lifer. Some were loyal to waxing, others, shaving. Some have gone from shaving to waxing and back again.

Additionally, according to most women I spoke to, their grooming frequency fluctuates for a myriad of reasons. Relationship status, as well as season of the year, were two big ones.

How does your partner factor into all of this?
According to the JAMA Dermatology study, 59% of women claimed “hygienic purposes” as the impetus to opt for a more minimal look, but 20% claimed they groomed for their sexual partners.

The numbers from Cosmopolitan are even more interesting (while Cosmo doesn’t specify, we assume they largely surveyed heterosexuals). The majority of men (46%) said they preferred women to be bare, while women like men to trim (70%). When asked if they had ever suggested a change in grooming habits to their partner, 40% of men said yes, compared to 23% of women. And finally, 30% of men said that a woman’s pubic hair could be a relationship deal-breaker, while only 19% of women agreed.

So while going natural appears to be a trend, there are still lots of women doing some pubic hair landscaping. And it seems that their partners still have a say in the matter. As long as you’re staying true to your personal preference, that’s all that matters. The right partner will love you for who you are, pubes and all.

Christina Pellegrini is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite things include Drake, athleisure, Beyoncé, lipstick, and succulents (in no particular order). According to Buzzfeed, her period is very metal. You can follow her on Twitter @theempireedit or read more of her writing on her website.

www.xtinawrites.com/