Perception of Pain
©Arlene Taylor PhD
Males generally are less sensitive to pain with at least one exception. They may actual experience more muscle aches and pains during episodes of the flu. I’m sure you’ve heard more than one woman comment that her male partner is “such a baby” whenever he’s sick. Males do feel more shaky and are much more likely to complain of aches and pains when ill. This may be due to the face that their muscles are less well equipped to adjust to change (as compared to female muscles that are better equipped to survive a constantly changing environment where hormone levels rise and fall, and when water retention varies).
Females generally tend to feel pain more acutely. A 1997 study by neuroscientist Dr. Karen Berkley at Florida State University determined that women have higher comfort thresholds, higher soreness ratings (estrogen has been linked to elevated levels of soreness), and a greater ability to discriminate different types of impediments in comparison to men. Depending on the culture, females may bear physical pain (e.g., childbirth), more or less stoically.
Women report more general headaches, up to twice as many as males, and take 75% of the analgesics that are prescribed. Recent studies also indicate that adult women may have more difficulty with bone/joint health and may have increased vulnerability in the musculoskeletal areas of the body.