APR 09, 2018 7:04 AM PDT

Do women have higher pain tolerance than men?


There seems to be a pretty commonly-held idea out in the world that women handle pain better than men - after all, we are capable of pushing miniature humans out of our bodies, aren't we! But (much to my surprise), there are actually a lot of studies that show that quite the opposite is true! In general, the research suggests that men have both a higher pain tolerance and threshold than do women. This is because in studies women often report feeling pain sooner than men and will also tell experimenters to stop the inflicted pain sooner.

The types of studies conducted vary in their torture methods from putting really cold objects directly on the skin, administering electric shocks, and putting a lot of pressure on different parts of the body. However, something to keep in mind is that all of the studies rely on self-reports, and that science mostly defines pain as subjective. That means that social factors can influence peoples' reports of pain and may have some influence on the difference we see from different genders. For this reason, some researchers have conducted studies measuring pain by biological responses, such as pupil dilation. To find out how those results turned out, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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