brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Angilion angilion at
Sun Jul 14 21:52:30 EST 2002

On 14 Jul 2002 17:46:19 -0700, ohsojourner at (OhSojourner) wrote:

>angilion at (Angilion) wrote in message news:<3d307e64.3196909 at>...


>> You will find numerous studies, some of which conclude that
>> women have a higher pain threshold than men and some of
>> which conclude the reverse.  None of them come anywhere
>> near supporting the ridiculous statement made by Shadow Dancer.
>Shadow Dancer is forgetting the men who participate in boxing matches
>and other contact sports, who endure despite many blows to the body; 
>soldiers who sustain wounds yet are still able to push on; aboriginal
>"rites of manhood", etc.

Having checked the studies for myself, the prevailing evidence is
that the average pain threshold in men is higher than that in women,
but all the decent researchers stress the uncertainty of their research,
which relies on subjective feedback from subjects.  The subjects
have to state when the sensation goes from being detectable to
being painful, which is wildly subjective.  The difference could
easily be socialised, as men are taught not to admit to being in
pain to a much greater extent than women are, and that would
have an effect even in tests when subjects are just saying that
they can feel pain.  If they were looking at what level of pain
people could take without having to remove themselves from
the pain-causing device, I suspect they'd see a huge average 
difference between men and women because men are far more
strongly socialised to tough it out regardless.  I doubt if such an
experiment would be ethically acceptable, though.

A farmer near where I used to live had his arm ripped off by farming
machinery.  That has to hurt a great deal.  He picked his ripped-off
arm up in his other hand, pressed it against his shoulder to reduce
the massive bleeding and walked a couple of miles to hospital for
treatment.  He wan't just enduring the pain, he was up and walking
despite it.

So, "obviously", men have a far higher pain threshold than women.

>(I sure as heck don't have a high tolerance for pain;  for example I
>need at least twice the dose of novocaine at the dentists'...)

I didn't, but constant pain seems to have upped my threshold a lot.
I'll take the painkillers though - I don't see the point in being in
pointless pain.  I want some pain if something is wrong, as it's
a useful warning, but that's it.  Then again, I don't give a damn
if people think I am manly or not.

Pain is highly subjective, anyway.  For example, I have often
been told that having your legs waxed is very painful.  I
have extremely hairy legs (I can brush the hair, literally), so 
it would be more painful for me than most.  Of course, I had
to try it and see (curiousity has caused me some grief over
the years 8-) ).  I found it mildly painful, nothing more.  I was
having a conversation while doing it.  OTOH, someone using an
epilator on my legs (an ex-girlfriend who was as curious as
myself, a bad combination 8-)  ) was more painful than I was
willing to bear, but other people say it's less painful than waxing.

Have your nipples pierced with just a topical anaesthetic, that's
a good way to test your pain threshold.  I was just about ready 
to call it quits when the piercer got all the way through.  Of course,
the subjectivity means that some people consider that particular
pain to be minor, and it could be argued that it's not comparable
between men and women anyway.  It's a much deeper piercing
for a man, as it has to go behind/under his nipple, but women's
nipples are relatively which is worse?

Fun, though.  I was high for a few hours afterwards.   Endorphins
are potent drugs.


Always remember you're unique.
Just like everyone else. (Anon)

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