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Do swimmers shave pubic hair?

Competitive swimmers often shave or wax their pubic hair for performance reasons. While not universally practiced, removing pubic hair is common among both male and female swimmers who compete at high levels.

Why Swimmers Shave Pubic Hair

There are a few key reasons why competitive swimmers may choose to remove pubic hair:

  • Reduce drag – Pubic hair creates tiny vortices in the water that can slow a swimmer down. Removing it decreases drag and friction for a potential speed advantage.
  • Less irritation – Tight and revealing swimsuits can cause chafing and discomfort from pubic hair. Shaving reduces irritation from rubbing on lycra swimsuits.
  • Psychological boost – Some swimmers feel shaving gives them a psychological edge from knowing they’ve taken steps to be as hydrodynamic as possible.
  • Normal practice – If teammates or competitors are shaving, a swimmer may view it as normal procedure at a high level of competition.

Guidelines for Pubic Shaving

Swimmers who do remove pubic hair should follow certain guidelines to avoid problems:

  • Use a new razor and shaving cream/gel each time to reduce irritation and ingrown hairs.
  • Shave in direction of hair growth to minimize razor burn.
  • Avoid shaving right before a big meet to let skin recover.
  • Apply moisturizer after shaving to soothe skin.
  • See a waxing specialist for professional pubic waxing.

Potential Downsides of Shaving

While shaving pubic hair for swimming has benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider:

  • Ingrown hairs – Shaving can frequently cause ingrown hairs and razor bumps in the pubic area.
  • Skin irritation – Pubic skin is sensitive and may become red or itchy from shaving.
  • Stubble – Stubble from new hair growth can be rough and create discomfort in a tight swimsuit.
  • Risk of cuts – It’s easy to nick sensitive skin on the pubis and genitals while shaving.

Gender Differences

Pubic hair grooming is common among both male and female competitive swimmers, but some gender differences exist:

  • Females more likely to fully shave – Cultural norms make women more likely to completely remove pubic hair than men.
  • Males more likely to trim – Most male swimmers trim and neaten up pubic hair rather than fully removing it.
  • Higher pressure on females – There is often more pressure on female swimmers to conform to hairless norms.
  • Revealing swimsuits – Women’s swimsuits are higher cut with more pubic exposure than men’s suits.

Elite vs. Casual Swimmers

Elite Swimmers Casual Swimmers
Pubic Hair Removal Very common Less common
Main Reason Performance enhancement Personal preference
Methods Used Shaving, waxing, laser hair removal Trimming, occasional shaving

Competitive elite swimmers are much more likely to remove pubic hair than casual swimmers. Performance improvement is typically the main reason for pubic grooming at high levels of competition.

Swimsuit Styles and Pubic Hair

Swimsuit cuts and styles influence pubic grooming practices among swimmers:

  • Higher cut women’s suits – Modern suits expose more pubic area, increasing female grooming.
  • Briefs vs. jammers – Men’s briefs are more revealing than jammers, leading some to groom.
  • Lycra material – Tight-fitting lycra highlights pubic hair visibility compared to looser suits.
  • Techsuit compression – Ultra-tight techsuits compress pubic hair, causing discomfort.

Suit coverage, fabric, and compression are all factors impacting a swimmer’s decision to groom pubic hair for meets and training.


While not universally practiced, pubic hair removal is reasonably common among competitive swimmers of both sexes. The decision to shave, wax, trim, or laser ultimately comes down to individual preference balanced with performance benefits. Following proper grooming guidelines helps minimize irritation, ingrown hairs, and other unwanted side effects.