Warning: I’m about to get graphic, but doing so is pertinent to the story. Since I’ve first started shaving my nether regions, I’ve injured myself a lot. Dozens of times. Let me tell you something: A scrotum can bleed, a lot. But I’m not alone, and this is where you come in.

Manscaping injuries are super common, according to research published in the journal JAMA Dermatology. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the Washington University School of Medicine surveyed more than 7,500 people and found that, of the 76 percent of people who groom their pubic hair (67 percent of whom were men and 85 percent were women), one in four have injured themselves while shaving. Two-thirds are repeat offenders and one-third have mangled themselves more than five times, like myself. Cuts are the most common injury, followed by burns and rashes.

The majority of these injuries don’t require medical attention. Only three percent required antibiotics and less than that necessitated surgery. For men, the scrotum is the most injured area (67 percent), followed by the penis (35 percent) and the pubis (29 percent). For women, the pubis came first (51 percent), followed by the inner thigh (45 percent), vagina (43 percent) and perineum (13 percent).

Despite the fact that we now know tending to pubic hair can increase the risk of catching an STI die to micro-cuts, the reason most of us shave is duh, because we want to get laid. A recent survey from Cosmopolitan found that, for both sexes, men desired full bush on a woman the least, which is nothing new. Trimming was most popular, followed by going bare, even though it’s medically recommended to keep some bush.

We’re all adults here, but let’s have a little brush up on trimming, yeah? Based on past interviews with aestheticians, here’s how men can avoid injuries while manscaping.


BUY THE RIGHT CLIPPER
You need a clipper or a beard trimmer with a guide because the guide is what prevents you from slicing into your scrotum. When trimming, begin with the upper portion of the bush. If seeking a more natural look, only trim the area where the pubic hair begins to stray and trim down the length of the pubes in the area where pubes are more abundant. If you want to go bare, trim it down completely, working top to bottom. As for the scrotum, you’ll need to adjust your clipper to the shortest possible setting with the guard still on. Then trim all ponderous hair as short as possible so the razor will be able to grab it without tugging.

GET WET
Next, hop in the shower to rinse off excess clippings. Lather up and wash yourself as you regularly would. After cleaning up, your hair should be soft and pliable, which makes it much easier to remove. If possible, divert the shower head away from yourself or turn your back to it and use a small amount of body lotion or cream, applying it sparingly to your pubic area. Then rinse your hands and grab the razor.

GO SLOW
Grab the head of your shaft and pull it away from your body, making the skin taut. Because shaft hair generally grows up from the base, use light pressure to shave the top and sides of your shaft against the grain, rinsing the blade often. Next, pull your shaft upward, toward your navel and shave the underside. Know that if you get excited here, erections are much more susceptible to injury. As for the difficult scrotum, cup your testes in one hand and lift them up–you want to stretch the skin so it’s taut. Shave against the grain, from the middle down, along the perineum toward the rear. Putting pressure on one testicle will tighten the skin and pop the other forward. Gently shave over the taut skin and repeat on the other side. Then rinse yourself off and applaud yourself in the mirror.