Episode 142: No Pain, No Gain

Air Date: April 28, 2010

For the following myths involving pain tolerance, all of the test subjects sat in a chair and submersed one hand in an ice bath at 1°C for as long as they could endure.

Women have a higher pain tolerance than men.


Twenty-five members of each gender took part. The women lasted an average of 100.4 seconds in the ice, while the average for the men was 84.3 seconds.

Natural redheads have a lower pain tolerance than people of other hair colors.


Two dozen people of each group (redheads and non-redheads) took part. The average time for the redheads was 132.2 seconds, while that for the non-redheads was 79.1 seconds.

Cursing aloud will allow a person to tolerate more pain than using mild language.


Adam, Jamie, Grant, Tory, and Kari subjected themselves to the ice bath while saying a list of innocuous words to cope with the pain. Jamie and Tory had to disqualify themselves because they lasted the maximum time of 3 minutes (enforced for safety). They were replaced by two staff members. In the second trial, the five subjects were allowed to say a list of curse words, resulting in an average 30% increase in the time that they could keep their hands in the ice.

If the propane tank on a barbecue grill is exposed to fire, it can rupture explosively and propel itself 150 feet (46 m) into the air.


The Build Team constructed a shed to California building code, placed a grill (with a full tank) inside, and stocked it with wood and charcoal to ensure a long and hot fire. When they ignited the shed, the pressure relief valve on the propane tank eventually opened and vented the gas. For all subsequent trials, Grant disabled the valve on every tank. The second trial involved a tank placed directly on a propane-fired burner; this time, the tank exploded and threw shrapnel up to 300 feet (91 m) in all directions. In a third test, the team bored a hole partway through the tank’s base to simulate an old tank that had partially rusted through, and saw it peel itself apart from the bottom up. Reasoning that the tank might need to have some vapor space in order to launch, they repeated the test with a partially filled tank and got it to fly 60 feet (18 m) into the air.

The team declared the myth plausible at this point, then continued working in an attempt to get a higher flight. Tory built a launch guide and set up a 9 mm pistol to fire upward into the base of the tank as it sat on the burner, creating an instant nozzle. With the fire going and the tank about to burst, the team triggered the pistol and the resulting blast sent the tank into a high, spinning trajectory – enough to convince them that a propane tank could become a rocket under the right conditions.


  1. bear says:

    With no offence to some of the men you used. Most of the men were not as masculine as I would have expected. Lets see some body builders, military non-office personnel, Blue-collar workers, Bricklayers, Carpenters, Ice fisherman, snowmobile riders, skiers, and outdoorsmen. I am also sure there is more insulation in the hands of obese individuals (many of the woman looked well fed in the hands). You need to use a different mix of people. I also believe the cursing only showed those people were motivated to keep there hands in the ice water, when the others did not seem to be motivated to test pain threshold. You may want to issue a money prize to increase the motivation to reach the three-minute time.

    • replying says:

      If you want to know the more muscular you are the faster you get cold, fat keeps you warm. muscles get tight when they are cold causing you to become ridged. plus this was proven long ago, you never see a man going through the pain of a menstrual cycle much less a pregnancy

      • alex says:

        Are you kidding me.I mean I know that a giving birth is extremely painful, but try breaking femur, or dislocating your knee cap 4 times, and having the courage to actually fight people and punch. I’m sorry, but your probably a little white girl who thinks that her period is super painful, but would never have the courage to actually go through tough shit that puts yourself in danger.

        However, on a more provable point, muscular men tend to have a higher pain tolerance than skinny men, because weightlifting naturally increases your paint tolerance as well as doing tough sports which cause you to aches and be sore

        • Norm. says:

          Wow. Aren’t you obnoxious.

          Pain tolerance is a perception. It is not empirical. I have worked in Emergency and seen “tough” guys cry while having a finger set and conversely women not flinching while having a dislocated shoulder popped back in.

          And conversely, a high pain tolerance can cause you to ignore symptoms that should have been seen by a doctor much earlier, leading to a longer recuperation time.

          • Smitty says:

            Aw, go easy on him. Some people just have a really hard time making sense of the idea that ‘toughness’ isn’t exclusively gender-based. Disrupts their whole sense of identity. Really, quite a painful realization. :)

          • Woman Marine USMC says:

            Norm. You da man.

            • s says:

              Thanks Norm! It’s beliefs like that that lead to women having bad medical treatment for pain.

          • Real life says:

            Pain tolerance, no matter how you look at it, is relevant. Women may naturally have a higher pain tolerance but men have a higher peak. By this I mean that women in general may be able to put up with more pain but men can train themselves to put up with more. This being men, no matter how you look at it, are naturally bigger and have a natural ability to build more muscle.

        • Reggie says:

          The “courage to fight people and punch”? “Tough sports”? You’re a moron. And what the hell do you even know of the menstrual cycle enough to even say it isn’t painful? Having excruciating uterus cramps that, in some cases, cause vomiting and diarrhea MONTHLY is considered painful by rational people. Besides the menstrual and pregnancy/birth pain that ONLY women go through, both genders have an equal chance of breaking bones or otherwise being injured. It’s been proven women can withstand the pain better. Get over it.

          • virgo87 says:

            its actually very strongly shown in nature that nature dose in fact take care of women a little better than it dose the guys simply bc one male can impregnate a women everyday of his mature life, while women have a “clock” and take 9months to gegstate and are also primary care givers of offspring so from a natural stand point it makes sense that women/females can tollerate pain better, simply bc it is in some cases very important to withstand pain for the sake of a species strong survival. Ex. hunting for food for offspring while injured, or pushing physical limits to rescue babies. women also have a better chance of surviving severe climates just bc thats nature being smart … it takes care of the moms, its not a contest.

        • mary titus says:

          the idea is pain. ANyone can break a bone or get punched in the face. Well, my bones are quite strong, so I admit to never having a broken bone. But i have had several experiences with labor and childbirth, so I can tell you not only can I take labor but I can also take a gunshot wound to the head.

        • Guin says:

          You mean tough like third degree burns? From my experience my “fabric fused into flesh” third degree burn was a good deal less painful than the actually super painful “thank christ I’m not throwing up yet” while on painkiller cramps I get.
          I’m not muscular or into tough sports, too rough on my nails, but I can still handle a broken bone just fine thank you very much. Meanwhile the adorable well muscled man who was ashamed of his hairy back was in tears after some waxing. I couldn’t help but laugh at the poor dear and tell him that girls endure far more on a daily basis without squirming as much.

          • Andrew says:

            Not to insult but 3rd degree burns are supposed to not be as painful as one would think. Reason being that to qualify as a 3rd degree it means it burt the nerve endings and therefore becomes numb. I have experienced this with a brand i did to myself in high school, smelled terrible but didnt hurt nearly as bad as expected. That being said everyone experiences pain differently depending on what they have gona through, this is a pointless argument

        • Addi says:

          Sorry, but women normally have a higher pain tolerance. It’s naturally that way because we give birth. An 8lb 19″ long child coming out of a tiny whole. Sorry but we are built to have a higher pain tolerance. Yes some girls act like everything hurts and yes we complain, but it’s to get guys attention. it’s biology. Don’t believe me ask an expert.. Haha and “putting yourself in danger” no girls are not immature enough to do stupid crap like you “big stong black men”.. Hahahaha

        • Gina says:

          Haha You are a complete idiot. You act like women have never broken bones! You know nothing about cramps. I have had broken bones and foot surgery, the doctors usually keep you pretty well medicated for those things. I also have had sore muscles from working out. Sore muscles can’t even hold a candle to cramps, and unless you are breaking bones once a month, shut your mouth. Youre a joke.

        • transponderer says:

          I don’t know, I never work out, but I have a pretty high paint tolerance. :P
          Also, I haven’t seen this show, but did they pick especially athletic women, or was it just a typical cross section? If they didn’t pick a particular sort of woman, I don’t see why they should for the men. That would bias the results.

        • Linda says:

          My daughter is a natural redhead…so is my other daughter….both have exceeded the normal of being extreme tolerance to pain. One had a “brain bleed” (AVM not an Aneurysm). These bleeds are characterized by “worst headache ever” and it goes on and on til doctors can relieve pain with extreme medical methods. And I have experienced 3 Natural childbirths…all very painful…something you have to experience without any medical pain relief.

          • Linda says:

            Just to add pain perception level….I have experienced a terrific injury to my lower back…..horrific pain.

        • Jennifer says:

          Actually they say child birth is like breaking 20 bones at once….I found this site and unfortunately it’s a year later, so you will probably never read this

        • johnny Dulex says:

          I have noticed since I been in the gym pain no longer affects me in the way it did, I mean I used to see paint and cry, now I’m ok with it. My paint tolerance has Deffo increased, Alex is so right. :)

          • Tricia says:

            Interesting…What’s paint tolerance again?

            • Robert Brockway says:

              He made a typo. I would have thought that was obvious. Picking on people’s typos distracts from genuine discussion.

      • shannon says:

        I have had 5 children. one w/ no painkiller at all. I hae had severe menstral cramps also. My knee went out, went to ER. It is arthuritus. That searing paralizing pain beat the hell ot of giving bitrth and cramps! Give me a break there are more painful conditions than child birth and cramps Try passing a kidney stone thru your eureathra ladies…tell me which is worse.
        I also have chronic back pain it actually hurts worse than any female pain that I have had!

        • Rebecca says:

          Menstrual cramps and even childbirth are not the same for every woman. It’s mostly genetics. Some women have serious complications… my mother actually had to have her ovaries and uterus removed due to genetic problems resulting in excruciatingly painful menstruation and internal scarring. My doctors have informed me that I have the same condition, and that I will have to have the same surgery by the time I’m 30. I’ve been on prescriptions for the pain, backed up by ultrasounds that confirm that I have severe cysts that leave scar tissue.

          However, I have wide hips that are just made for giving birth. My Ob/Gyn said straight out that having children would be less painful than my period because they way my pelvic bone is built.

          I’m not a stranger to other kinds of pain, either! I was born with bad joints, and my spine has two 45 degree angles that cause a lot of muscle cramps and pain. I went into the ER because my sprained ankle wasn’t healing right… turns out it was broken, and badly enough that one wrong step would have shattered it. I played sports with that!

      • Peter says:

        Easy Easy everyone. Sorry to said this “Mythbusters” but your survey is clearly wrong. I do not know why this is. But all other surveys shows that men have a higher tolerance to pain then women. (Just search “men women pain threshold” in google). And redheads? they get 25 % more anesthesia in hospitals due to the fact that they have a lower pain threshold. Soooooooo you Mythbusters have just lost some of my respect. Can i trust your other mythbusting projects? i ask you…

    • uliseas says:

      OK i can guarantee that this experiment is flawed i am thirteen years old male and i just did the exact same experiment and i lasted 180 seconds and i could go more i just couldn’t feel my fingers anymore so i stopped out of safety i know its all genetics and i am not saying anyone is stronger then the next person but the depth of the people were too vague i mean a thirteen year old (me) beat grown men and women just saying but it could have gone either way

  2. game says:

    With no offence to the first woman which you used, but she managed to get 3minutes with her hands in the ice.

    No wonder if u fill the glass with a thin layer of iceblocks.. its not even full like the rest of the participants have!

    myth busted!

  3. K says:

    There seems to be a bias on the redheads portion. While the men vs women part was done in a blind test, with the participants having no idea why they were being asked to submerge their hands into ice, Jamie and Adam were telling the redheads why they what they were testing, which would lead the redheads wanting to prove the myth wrong.

  4. Anon says:

    Seems unlikely that “Women have a higher pain tolerance than men” after most scientific studies conclude the opposite. For instance: http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/abstract/34/6/548 , and many more can be found by googling “gender pain tolerance”.

    • BG69iln says:

      hey lets see a guy try give freaken birth.

      • jim says:

        Let’s see a woman do it without pain killers

        • tricia says:

          I have given birth both w/ and w/out pain killers. I made it thru the no pain killer birth just fine. But it is a much more pleasant to give birth w/pain killers. That was the 1st time in 13 years that I had relief from chronic back pain

        • Ulayu says:

          Women have been giving birth without painkillers for a lot longer than they have been with painkillers, if you are going to diss childbirth and women, at least be credible.

        • Gina says:

          Idiot. Women give both without pain killers all the time, as they did your thousands if years before pain killers existed.

        • wow says:

          Your an idiot. Women give birth all the time without pain killers.

          • bg24 says:


      • Noname says:

        Hey, let’s see a girl get kicked in the nutsack.

        • James says:

          Both areas where the genitalia are have very sensitive nerve endings. They both hurt about the same.

      • Trevin Miller says:

        actually they have things to put on males and shock places so the male can feel what its like to be in labor

    • Nic says:

      Ha, that’s funny, considering the article you sited was published in the 1970’s.

      Good try though, gold star for you.

  5. bob says:

    The sample sizes weren’t even large enough to provide an acceptable margin of error in the pain tolerance myth. Would it have been that hard to gather 10 more people for an even 30 (the accepted minimum sample size for accurate results) samples of both men and women? Plus the 3 minute maximum confounds every bit of information gathered. When a person knows there is a maximum amount of time it gives them a goal to reach possibly causing them to go longer than they would normally. Additionally some people that reached the max may have only gone to 3 minutes and 1 second while others may have lasted 20 minutes. This was a wonderful example of “mythbusters science”. Someone needs to retake stats101.

    • Stats Geek says:

      Yes!! Well said! As for the male/female difference, what was the standard deviation? How do we know that is a significant difference? And the swearing one also needs many, many more participants. I’ve dealt with a very painful chronic illness for many years, now and I would like to see these experiments done in a more scientific manner, and controlling for the estimated amount of pain a person has already gone through, regardless of other variables. My guess is that when controlling for previous pain experience, most differences would no longer be significant.

  6. E says:

    Judging the results based on only the mean, does not yield meaningful results. We need to know the standard deviations and medians as well. A histogram of the data in each group would have been quite useful. The small sample sizes would have been very vulnerable to outliers when calculating means. They really should consult statisticians when planning and analyzing these kinds of tests. Proper analysis prior to starting the experiments might convince them not to undertake the experiments at all, if proper sample sizes cannot be achieved or if the data are likely to be too scattered.

  7. Obvious says:

    On the propane tanks, wouldn’t have it been easier just to invert the tank and alter the valve a little, rather than do all the work at the bottom of the tank and the solid metal?

    • Enrico Martinez says:

      They already tested and CONFIRMED that myth with an Exploding Water Heater Tank (episode 89). Doing it again is a waste of a good episode.
      Propane tanks and water heater tank are both enclosed cylindrical metal. Similar items have similar effects.

  8. Arch says:

    Pain tolerance varrys from person to person not everyone is the same but hundereds of studys have said that males do have a hihger pain tolerance then females

    • Smitty says:

      While it varies, of course, considering who conducts most of the science in our culture, you have to wonder if the methodology used isn’t somehow biased in a lot of these studies. For example, in one of the studies, the incentive to keep the hand in the ice water was monetary. Perhaps females are less responsive to monetary incentives than are males.

      I’m a social scientist and I insist, like some of the people critiquing the statistics here, that science must be employed to avoid erroneous assumptions, but bias is something that can be found in every step of the research process and it can often be subtle. One of the most important questions to ask is “Who is asking the research question, and what do they stand to gain or lose by a given finding?” Given so many of the privileges in our society being associated with the stereotype of male toughness as a justification for having them, it is important to examine this research, like any research, with a critical eye.

    • maybe says:

      Yes, but a lot of those are still debatable. Pride factors into it. Where a media portrayed “femine” woman wouldn’t care if she only lasted one minute (no embarassment) a media portrayed “masculine” man would have a hit to his ego, so although the pain might feel the same to both subject, the male might withstand it, not because his tolerance is higher, but because he would want to avoid the embarassement of not being better.

      • Gina says:

        Haha so true!

    • bg24 says:

      Do you always write in run-on sentences?

  9. Redhead Lori says:

    Well, I did not get to see this episode of mythbusters myself and only searched for it online after being told about it by a male associate who knows that natural, red haired, women do have a higher pain tolerance than most people out there. Being a 40 year-old natural redhead, I have personally experienced pain that would have completely taken down any other man or woman I have ever known. After a 2007 auto accident that left my spinal cord pinched between my C4 and C5 vertebrae in my cervical spine, unbeknownst to myself, a neurologist finally found the injury in June of 2009 and repaired it. I was in back, neck and shoulder pain over those 2 years to a point where my best friend could see the pain showing in my face long before I felt it! I had foot surgery last Friday and only know it is time to get off my foot when I feel nauseated from the pain. Everyone who has seen the large pins protruding from the end of each toe on my left foot cringes in pain when they see it. CONFIRMED! Women, particularly with red hair have a higher tolerance to pain, not just ice cubes. Also, Mythbusters, I think you should do a study on people who can operate a computer and criticize other people but cannot spell or use the spell checker button on their computer before they press the submit button!

    • maybe says:

      Also, these treatments seem necessary to your recovery. I can’t see the correlation between the fact you have red hair proving anything here. If you were to show me someone with brown hair, under the same circumstances, had killed themselves not beign able to withstand these procedures, then you may have a foundation for a debate (poor one though).

  10. Laird says:

    Based on actual news film footage of the results of fires in propane transfer and storage facilities, there’s nothing “Plausible” about the propane tank rockets. Tanks have been documented flying not just a few tens of meters, but *hundreds* of meters. Granted, no insurance or production company is going to let Adam and Jamie torch an entire warehouse full of propane tanks, so this was probably the best they can do, given their limitations.

  11. Tiexandrea says:

    you’d be surprised at what the results would be like if you actually TOLD the men that it was gonna be a gender-pain study.

    manly pride wouldn’t allow anything less than three minutes. in fact, some might dunk their head in there for three minutes.

    remember that they TOLD the redheads about the stereotype-pain issue? of course they’d want to prove it wrong. try telling the men. they’d stick their privates in that ice for free.

  12. Alice says:

    Today Dr. Oz said redheads feel more pain. So is it a myth or a medical fact?

    • hee hee hee says:

      Its a new discovery, that will fuel a propoganda, leading up to a war amongst the redheads, who have set out on a quest to find the eternal truth about their pain tolerance. So no its not a myth, nor a medical fact. Its something bigger like a prophecy for the ages.

  13. Seb says:

    LMAO, look at all these men getting butt-hurt over losing to women in a test. Suck it up and grow a proverbial pair, guys. Of course women have a higher pain tolerance. How else would nature expect them (women) to be the childbearing half?

    As a dude myself, I have no problem handing them the credit. It’s 2010 and the macho bull is dying out. Let it go peacefully.

    • Sara says:

      I actually don’t think pain tolerance has anything to do with gender but I do have to agree with you on the ‘childbearing’ part!

    • Gina says:

      Seb. Thank you for being logical. =)

    • Trevin Miller says:

      its more painful for women because they are more sensitive

  14. lol says:

    LOL @ all the affronted men commenting that men have a higher tolerance for pain than women do. “Waaah waah waah, that can’t be true, I’m a manly man! We are better than those weak-willed women!!!1! Mommy, they’re being mean!”

    • hypocritical? says:

      Not saying I disagree with what your saying, some guys for sure will think that. A the same time, the “We give birth” argument is the same from the woman perspective. (potential controversial statement alert) “we can’t possible have a lower tolerance, because we’re equals” is just as immature and biased.

      On an actual note, I would assume girls would be able to hold there hands on average longer than guys in ice. Reasoning: Girls have a higher percent body fat, and would naturally be more resistant to the temperature change. That has nothing to do with pain tolerance, its the type of “suffering” thats being inflicted. If you punch a male in the stomach I’m sure they would withhold it better than an average woman. Again, nothing to do with the tolerance of the pain, but more so to do with a man having stronger muscle in the abdominal region.

      • Girl says:

        Come over and say that to my face, then punch me in the stomach and see if you still dare to say it.

  15. Mikki says:

    Bear, I must say, I think it’s logical that they used normal people, and not people that are used to pain. If they would use bodybuilders, military men and others, they would also have to use those kind of women, or else it wouldn’t be fair.

    That being said, I think it makes sense that women have a higher pain tolerance, simply because of the (cliche) fact that women are made to push babies out of their vagina. And to do that, you must be conscious, so you have to be able to cope with a high dosis of pain.

    • Military says:

      Not quite true. Typically more males are in the military then females, and more men are bodybuilders. That would result in a higher concentration of military men, carpenters, bodybuilders, ect.. fitting into the pool then woman. It wouldn’t be biased to be done like this, because it would accurately portray the real world.

  16. AW says:

    My husband and I tried the pain study at home after we watched the show. When I saw people dunking their arms in ice water and wincing in pain, I thought, “Oh that’s not such a big deal.” My husband wanted me to prove it, so he filled up a big pitcher full of ice and water, and set a timer for 3 minutes. Interestingly enough, I didn’t feel terrible pain, but I did feel my heart rate go up significantly and my arm turned bright red. I lasted the 3 minutes no problem. My husband couldn’t beleive it, so he tried it himself. He lasted a little over a minute. He thought maybe there wasn’t enough ice in the water the first time, so I tried it again with my other arm. My heart rate went up again, but still no pain. It was definetly uncomfortable though. Afterwards, I felt a crazy rush of excitement. Maybe that was all the pain-killing endorphins running through my brain! It felt like a runner’s high, or a release after an enourmous amount of stress. Maybe it was the excitement from knowing I could withstand more pain than my husband, but I don’t think so. It was an interesting experiment!

  17. Nick says:

    I always seem to notice that women always bring the pain tolerance argument back to child birthing (specifically they argue they have evolved to handle that pain). I have no doubt that it can be a highly painful process for many women, but you have to understand that it is a very rare occurrence during the life of a woman. Whereas men have evolved to be the hunters and killers of a community, in general this has/had in men having the more painful lifestyles of the two sexes, on a daily basis (compared to the few limited times a woman might give birth).

    This was an interesting test but you have to remember that pain is also relative to the subject e.g. if it had been performed as a competition or as a reward system I imagine the men would have won (it’s simply the effect of testosterone on the humans competitiveness and men have a lot more testosterone than women). But in a random surprise test without knowing the reason women are more likely to feel obligated to hold of us long as possible.

    Notice how if a man falls over and hurts himself he will ignore the pain and deny any help, whereas a girl probably won’t ignore the pain, might ask for help and likely accept it if offered.

    Just my thoughts…

    • MigraTony says:

      There are many myths surrounding the effects of testosterone, most recently that when participants in a study of conflict resolution were given a shot of testosterone they were more likely to compromise. As a man I am very interested in hormonal differences, BUT I don’t subscribe to gender essentialism. I could easily counter that men are raised to be taken care of by their wives and mothers; why wouldn’t we ask for help more or equal to women? Or I’d point out years of history among various cultures where both men and women hunted. Famers divided the work evenly too, everyone pitched in.

      You say chikldbirth is a rare experience, true, but nature prepares every woman’s body for it. Not every man evolved as a hunter.

    • Smitty says:

      Yes, but men are socialized to not ask for help. They are taught that this is weakness and often harshly censured for doing so. Women aren’t subjected to this, and, in general, are therefore more likely to turn to others. This has nothing to do with pain tolerance, however. This has to do with socialized responses to experienced pain, rather than the degree of experienced pain one can withstand.

    • Guin says:

      …Whaaa? At what point in time were women giving birth rare? I’ll give you now but seriously a woman giving birth a dozen or more times in her lifetime over some hunting? What are you imagining women were doing the rest of the time? Needlepoint? Macrame?
      How was that not a competition? The men weren’t told point blank that if they failed they’d be losing to a bunch of girls but they were on camera being tested. Logic dictated that their times were going to be compared making it a competition.
      We’ve all noticed men being idiots. My favourite story was a Darwin award winner who was too much of a man to seek help after being bitten by his pet snake. Instead he went out for a beer. Deciding to seek help doesn’t make you weaker just more rational.

    • Gina says:

      A man won’t ask for help because he had to protect the ‘strong man’. The average woman well give birth twice in her life, but you are also forgetting years of monthly pain. While some women don’t deal with severe pain at this time, a lot do. Pain so excruciating it causes vomiting.

  18. Nick says:

    Just because you might happen to have a high/low pain tolerance it doesn’t automatically mean all men or women can handle the same. For example I have a high pain tolerance BUT I also have male friends who have low pain tolerance. Just as a side note: I broke my hand during a game of football once and didn’t even realize anything was wrong till after the game, yet I am almost brought to tears when being hit in the lower back for some reason…

    • Jeff says:

      Well when you broke your hand…your body has a natural reaction to numb the pain with adrenaline. When you get hit in your lower back it hurts more because of your central nervous system. Biology 7th grade for most I believe.

  19. jupmod says:

    I’m in disagreement with the verdict with the propane tank. The myth was that a propane tank, sitting in a burning shed, would become a rocket. Their last test is not normal circumstances due that a tank sitting in a shed will not ever come in contact with a gun at the bottom of the tank. Furthermore, drilling the hole does not make ideal ‘aging’ conditions. It’s clear this myth should have been labeled ‘Busted’ due that under no normal conditions would a round propane tank like that would become a rocket, unlike the failed water heaters.

  20. senthil says:

    Though ice causes pain, cold temperatures tolerance alone cannot mean higher pain tolerance. Women’s body is designed to withstand temperature change differently due to their monthly body change.

    • Gina says:

      That makes absolutely zero sense.

  21. George says:

    i think the women pain tolerance is plausable, otherwise, they would be sending women to war, not me, because the ratio of women to men is 10:1

    • replying says:

      they do sent women to war, speaking a female that is in the army

      • Gina says:

        Haha Apparently George is unaware that there are women in the military.

      • duplissi says:

        non combat oriented mos’s only for women though. that means no infantry, no combat engineers, no rangers, no green berets, etc.

  22. Logak says:

    bob, I do research in an actual research lab. Sample sizes under 30 are used all the time, especially when it’s too expensive to run a lot of subjects. While it’s true that larger sample sizes mean a better chance of finding an accurate result, using a sample size under 30 doesn’t automatically invalidate a finding. But hey, feel free to run your own tests, and then come back with the results.

  23. michael says:

    I think the result on swareing is not valid because the pepol where doing a test again and the fact they new what to expect could result in the highter rating the second time for control they should do a group that dose normal words both times

  24. Johannes says:

    THey probably didn’t use a statistically significant sample-size but it made me wonder anyway about why women might be less pain-sensitive than men.

    Pain is essentially a mechanism to avoid damage to your person. Nurture-induced pain-INsensitivity might have been greater factor to men since they are expected to perform as hunters and warriors.

    It might have triggered an evolutionary pressure in increasing the base-line pain-sensitivity to counter that.

    Also, haha, you should do this test *outside* the bay-area ;)

  25. Drew says:

    After watching this episode, i have to question the objectivity of the individuals making this show, especially in regards to differences in pain tolerance between the genders. Every study ever done on the subject shows the opposite results, and the creators dont event seem to acknowledge it. Dont take my word for it. Google it for yourself, and every study you will find will show that men have a HIGHER pain tolernace, not lower. That doesnt seem to be the least bit curious to the so-called “mythbusters”?

    • Blah says:

      I highly doubt that every single study shows that women are less pain tolerant. First you have to realize, that not every single document you find on Google is valid. If you’re going to use google as a research source you must throughly read every little thing it says. Including the sources of the source otherwise your point you’re trying to make is…pointless. I could easily go online right now, find sources that say a women us more tolerant, call myself a doctor and write in a bunch of “facts” you simply can’t just say google it thinking you are correct. How long did you “google it” before you put this nonsense on here?

  26. Paul Roche says:

    G’day from Oz
    The exploding propane tank is called a
    BLEVE (pronounced blevee)
    Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion
    It’s a known danger for fore fighters since the 1970’s
    and the subject of safety films.
    If a tank is ruptured and the leaking gas ignites, it can boil the liquid propane increasing the pressure in the tank and when the liquid is reduced in volume it no longer cools the tank wall against which it lies when’s there is enough volume. When the tank wall is red hot and gets soft enough, it ruptures from the high pressure. Causing a rocket propelled scenario.
    I have seen old safety films where a train carriage size tank is launched miles across the countryside.
    Another where the fireman perched up on ladder firetruck was blown away by a giant explosion
    Great show guys
    Paul Roche
    Electrical engineering officer

  27. JEFF says:


  28. a says:

    Read Lone Survivor.

    When a woman says “ugh” when she gets shot, I’ll believe it. Until then, childbirth is a natural and normal process. Some of our brave Men push their bodies beyond what nature intended and

    • replying says:

      so women don’t push past nature

    • Guin says:

      So you propose a test that involve shooting at women until you get an “ugh” because no man has ever cried at a bullet wound? Wow that is a deeply disturbed mindset you have.

  29. anon says:

    Are the Mythbusters guys too dumb to realize that running the tests in the same order (ie no-swearing first followed by swearing second) invalidates the results? Plus, running a no-blind test is just pointless. When everyone knows what the test is and it is entirely a mental test, how would you think that means anything other than confirming the test-executors’ prejudice.

  30. Andy says:

    I actually am curious about self induced pain (not cutting you emo’s) but like running. I’m a long distance runner, going more than 70 miles a week and i can feel a little pain but once i just keep pushing i dont feeling and i last alot longer, in the beginning i never would have been able to do that, so i guess conditioning also has a skew on the results, you never know what those subjects have been through, so how about athletes versus couch potatoes on a re-test

    • ukantwin says:

      Conditioning is probably the MOST important factor in pain-threshhold tests. Genetics only takes you so far but your pain-experiences determine much more how much pain you can withstand and More Importantly, the mind-set you are in while experiencing pain. Soldiers are trained in a way that mimics self-hypnosis in some cases (long marches, grueling tests, etc.) Same with martial-arts experts.I’m an ex-street fighter. There’s a HUGE difference between my pain-threshold of my first fight compared with my last. It’s less gender and body-type and more mind-set and physical condition in my humble, in-expert opinion.

  31. Pat says:

    I’m not sure if I can accept the results of the first myth explored in this episode. I’ll admit, I am a man, but that’s not the reasoning behind this disbelief. For me, it’s the way in which the testing was carried out. Obviously, this is a television program, not meant to provide absolute conclusive answers, but I want to know more about the averages they reported. Were they compiled using time passed after reporting pain, or simply time in the ice. Since pain is relative, the former should be used, and though the latter would not invalidate their study, it would take some credibility from the study. Also, what happened to people who reached the 3-minute time limit? Were they included in the sample as 180 seconds, or were they discarded because it impossible to tell where the tolerance would actually kick in. As some have already said some, like the first woman tested, appear to be able to go much longer than the maximum, while others would quit soon after. This is only an assumption, I think most would agree it’s true. Also, curiosity just makes me want to know which gender had more who did reach the maximum. Would’ve been an interesting tidbit to throw out there for television purposes.
    Oh, and p.s.: What was the reason behind the 3-minute maximum? I’ve played many sports, including football and baseball. I’ve gone through ice baths for recovery in both. In football, we routinely took 5-10 minute long full body baths, and after breaking my ankle I would take 15 minute isolated ice baths. Just wondering if I put myself at risk for serious injury, haha.

    • Gina says:

      You didn’t take 15 minute ice baths. Your body would go into shock. You could have heart failure, and would defiantly have had hypothermia.

      • Gina says:

        Heat is lost more quickly in water [18] than on land. Water temperatures that would be quite reasonable as outdoor air temperatures can lead to hypothermia. A water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) often leads to death in one hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death

        in as little as 15 minutes. [32] Water at a temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) will, after prolonged exposure, lead

        to hypothermia.

  32. Cyndel says:

    why was 3 minutes the cut off time? i am reconducting the expiriment and i waswondering if i could go longer like 4-5 minutes? please somebody comment back!

  33. alexander says:

    at school we tried this and im a very competitive person, the first boys to try managed 1-3 minutes in icy water then some of the girls tried and the best got 5 minutes. when it was my turn i would not let anybody beat me. i managed 10 and a half minutes before the teacher pulled my hand out and would not let me do it any longer. i could not move my thumb for a day but it was all worth it proving that i can do can do it the longest.

  34. Bryan says:

    I think they totally got the point of swearing wrong. I curse like normal myself, but I don’t really like saying those naughty words. I replace them with more family friendly words, like mother-flipper, son of a wench, frak, frick, and some other non-naughty words. I feel it has the same effect as a curse word would. What I noticed right of the bat as I was watching was that they were not using the nice words as they would the curse words. If one would simply say a curse word instead of yelling it with vigor, it would do the same exact thing as a regular word. I almost couldn’t believe this glaring error had made it through!

  35. Richard Skeates says:

    Re: Women able to withstand more pain than men…. Totaly unfair test! It is scientific fact that WOMEAN ARE BETTER INSULATED THAN MEN therefore a test which is based on temperature induced pain is always going to be biased in favour of women. Even the USA’s navy seals looked into using more women as part of their elite forces due to their ability to better stave off the cold.

    • MigraTony says:

      Yeah, but our circulation is different, why women have colder hands and feet and seem to always ask for our coats…

      • replying says:

        that has nothing to do with pain, more like temperature and not all women or men are the same.

    • Gina says:

      If this was full body ice bath, you MIGHT have an argument. Women are more insulated, yes, but hands are hands. Unless you are overweight and even then your hands are generally skin, bone, and nerves.

  36. straker says:

    i watch mythbusters as i am a chronic pain suffered i have had 2 operations on my back and i am waiting for my third operation a multi level fusion {if you think ice water is painful you should have a discography !} i take morphine for my pain because its that bad .but the other reason i watched the show was because of the gorgeous long haired redhead on the show called Emily? i am married to a redhead so there was teo reason to watch last night show!

  37. KO says:
  38. Xevious says:

    Hey I’m a guy but it’s plain ridiculous some of the excuses some of you are making up about how men have a lower pain tolerance. Like how, “We would have had different results if there had been more testers”. Probably not! All the women would have had to have been lower than the men, which i doubt would happen. Also, the “Bring in strong guys”. these guys may sound strong, but they aren’t neccesarily tough. plus the guys they brought may also be construction workers,or ice fishers, or whatever. Just stop making lame excuses and accept it.

  39. bull says:

    Just in the episode, The red head men seemed to last much longer than red head women. But I guess they didn’t want to show that. It seem like a PR move. Well done, they probably get more pr when they do bad tests. Especially if it’s to do with gender, ethnicity or politics.

  40. Tim says:

    There might be a bias in the women vs men as the pain used was cold and women have more body fat then man and thus might be able to tolerate cold better then men.

    • Gina says:

      You said it yourself – body fat. Your hands aren’t measured when indicating body fat because they don’t have much to begin with. Men or women.

  41. goetka02 says:

    All in all, I think that most of the comments are based on men not wanting to admit that women aren’t inferior.

  42. LOL PWND says:

    MAN! Whatever people (both genders) they did this test on must have been total wimps! Especially the men. I’m a guy and I went 5:00 doing this, that’s 3 times the women’s average.

  43. yepYEP says:

    I’ve done the ice in a cooler while camping and 1 guy got out 1st, then the 2 girls, then me (a guy). I just want to say that my dad hit his head on a metal bike rack attached to the back of the car. His head was bleeding and he didn’t even cry. I’d like a female to do that.

    • Gina says:

      I’ve cracked my head to the point if blood and not cried… Your point?

      • ukantwin says:

        Oh dear. The head has SO many blood vessels close to the surface that the smallest nick tends to bleed “like a stuck pig.” This isn’t very couragous or admirable i’m afraid. Even a severe concussion won’t nessesarily bring the “tears” that you seem to measure your bravery and pain-tolerance with, although it’s plain that your “cracked head” was certainly much less severe.(lol) And since this seems to be tha major trauma in your experience that all of your perspective is measured by, I think it’s probably safe to say that your opinion carries very little, if any weight at all. Cheers!

    • Girl says:

      I flipped over with my bike at least three times, straight onto the pavement with my face. Didn’t cry once…

      And I was a 13 year old girl the first time, hit an obstacle at full speed: my lip needed stitching and it was so bad the busdriver to hospital asked if he had to call an ambulance.

      The second time I was 17 and by bike broke while I was in a hurry to get somewhere, suddenly jamming the front wheel. Busted up my nose and was knocked out for a while, don’t know how long because I was alone… fixed my bike with some barriertape and cycled another 15 miles to my destination.

      I don’t know my exact age for the 3rd, as there wasn’t an event related to it with a date that I remember, but let’s say ~19, I was riding home, going downhill when I wanted to slow down, reached for my handbrakes… and the right one came off, smack in my wheel, the pavement scraped off some good bits of me, but I cursed a bit, got back up there and rode the 17 miles home.

      Oh, here’s a bonus for you: When I was 21, I got hit by a car, don’t exactly remember flying, but I do remember getting up a few yards away from the car, so I must have flown (thank God I had learned to wear a helmet by then! They’re not very common here.) and right from the start, it was ME who was calming the lady who hit me down, poor lady was in pieces of pure guilt. I admit I was hurting and shaking, but once again not crying.

  44. yepYEP says:

    I forgot to mention that a kidney stone passing in a guy (through the…pee-hole) is supposed to be more painful. I would think that it would, and you’d have pernament damage done, but giving birth probably hurts a much larger area, just not as much. A kindey stone for a guy is probably what (so women can relate) forcing an object out your ear would feel like. Not the best feeling in the world, I’m getting an ear-ache just thinking about it.

    • Gina says:

      If you want to talk about kidney stones, its proven that womans anatomy is more sensitive than mans, especially the urethra, which is millimeters from the clitoris, where woman would pass a stone.

      • ukantwin says:

        Completely untrue, Gina. Besides, what does the nearness to the clitoris have to do with anything? The hole to pass the stone is just a wee-bit smaller on a male.(please pardon the pun)Therefore, it stands to reason that the pain would be a bit more intense as well.(and MUCH longer, to boot, since it’s much harder to pass thru said hole)

  45. Stats Geek says:

    I also think the type of pain inflicted could make a difference in the result. Some can handle different kinds of pain than others, especially if it is a type of pain one has experienced before, or repeatedly or chronically. I have gut-wrenching abdominal pain on a constant basis, but when I get a headache, I have to take something, whereas my mother has these horrible migraines, but rarely takes anything because she is “used to it.” Another factor is the difference between whether or not you can voluntarily stop the pain. In these tests the participant can simply stop the pain whenever they can’t take it anymore, but what if you can’t? What if the pain is something that can’t be stopped, perhaps controlled with pain meds, but always there, such as back problems, or chronic illnesses? I love the show, but these questions are far more complex and require much more testing before any real answers can be obtained. And even then, as is said in “12 Monkeys”, “Science ain’t exactly a science . . .” Social and experimental bias will always creep in, tainting not only the answers, but the questions themselves.

  46. Amby says:

    I’m a fat chick. I am usually vulnerable to cold more than my ‘normal’ weight friends. I don’t think fat is ‘insulation’. The nerve endings in the skin are on the surface, not under the layers of fat. I wonder, sometimes, if being larger doesn’t mean I have more nerve endings than ‘normal’ weight people…therefore making me more susceptible to variations in room temperature. I’ve also given birth twice, and didn’t have any painkilling medications either time. I wouldn’t recommend it. It hurt like heck and I should have arranged for it, but by the time I was in active labor…they said it was too late. That said, I have also had bilateral lithotripsy to remove two shooter-marble-size kidney stones that were stuck and wouldn’t pass. I carried these things for 4 years because my stupid urologist thought I was too young for them to be causing my pain. Kidney stones hurt WORSE than giving birth with no pain meds. So, if a man can pass a kidney stone…he can endure as much pain as a woman in labor. If anything…worse, because the kidney pain doesn’t let up…and contractions come and go. That’s my two cents.

  47. Science Fair Mom says:

    FYI – my daughter saw this show and decided to test the myth for her upcoming science fair project this week – she based it on gender and age (as swearing for kids isn’t cool) She further tested kids vs adults. Girls. We had all shapes and sizes, atheletes and non-athletes, obese vs skinny – you name it we had it for both genders and all ages. Amazing the types of people you find at ball fields and work. We had ball coaches and old men that went 3 minutes. We had women and mom’s that went 3 minutes. The shocker was that we had kids (more girls than boys) that went the distance. We had one that wouldn’t even do it – he didn’t wanted to be tortured – he being a recently retired Marine who served two tours in Iraq. So you guys who’s masculinity is threatened – here’s one for you – a little 8 year old girl can go 3 minutes – how does that make you feel!

    • hee hee hee says:

      Now i understand the torture Arnold was talking about in Kindergarten Cop. Those 8 year olds owned him in just 3 minutes. lol. As for the pain tolerance measurements, I think researchers should include the cumulative factor in the future. 8 year olds have not had much prior exposure to pain and as a result haven’t reached their braking point yet, whereas a Marine has mostly been exposed to more pain than most normal people can handle and as a result has finally reached his breaking point.

  48. ... plausible says:

    The test about women having a higher paint-tolerance he’s been done quite some times, with different results, and so far,men having a higher level of pain tolerance is the most scientifically supported, not because men are tougher or support more pain, but because woman associates a level of emotion with pain, wich makes it seems more painful than normal…

    • Gina says:

      Silly. Women just vocalize a little more they don’t feel the need to protect their ego as much.

      • ukantwin says:

        So, if a woman yells from pain it’s one thing. But if a man DOESN’T yell, it’s because he’s protecting his ego. Not because it doesn’t hurt him as much. Is THAT what your trying to say? I’m a little confused as to what your point is, Gina?

  49. kathrine says:

    yes childbirth is a painful experience, but I may be one of the rare ones who say that it is not the worst pain a human can feel. My fav cousin died at 25 from cancer. She was in so much pain everyday that she would take painkiller after pain killer just to numb it down some. One day the pain was so bad that she gave up and downed two full bottles of pain killers just to stop the pain. My father died of the same cancer (may be genetic) and I can tell you he looked to be in more pain than I did when I had all three of my kids, two with no pain killer. I know for a fact that there is a much worser pain than child birth that both men and women could endure…

  50. CuriousGeorge says:

    When I was in school I ended up taking a thirty minute ice bath. I don’t think that has anything to do with pain tolerance. I just wanted to see if I could do it. In reality males and females have different individual pain tolerances. I don’t understand where some of your misguided judgement comes from.

    • Gina says:

      Heat is lost more quickly in water [18] than on land. Water temperatures that would be quite reasonable as outdoor air temperatures can lead to hypothermia. A water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) often leads to death in one hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death
      in as little as 15 minutes. [32] Water at a temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) will, after prolonged exposure, lead to hypothermia.

  51. virgo87 says:

    its actually very strongly shown in nature that nature takes care of women a little bit better than it does the guys. simply bc a man can impregnat women all day every day of his mature life, where a women has a “clock” takes 9 months to gegstate, and are in many cases the primary care givers of offspring, not to mention not all pregnancy are successful and the mothers life may also be lost. so it makes a lot of sense that nature designed women to tolerate pain better just bc thats one more thing that ensures survival in cases of danger, pushing extreme physical limits, and yes also reproduction ect. its also shown that women are more likley to survive extreme climates just bc nature is smart and it takes care of the moms… its not a contest

  52. Royal says:

    Ok, so my mother has cooked her entire life. She can hold onto hot plates and cold things way longer than I could ever dream to. When I ask her “why can you hold such hot things?” she just tells me that she’s used to it and my hands are not. My mom is 5’0 tall and cant handle any pain whatsoever. Basically, temperature pain tests are the worst types of tests you can make. Too many variables.

    • Chef says:

      Green cooks drop things. Then they get embarrassed, and push through the pain instead of reacting. Then they don’t feel it anymore.

      I have noticed that my tolerance to ice increased the more I worked with colder items.

      Tolerances to pain via extreme temperature definitely vary proportionally (in some sense) to exposure. This variable definitely needs to be controlled for.

  53. Seth says:

    I’m actually extremely glad the results came out in favor of women having a higher pain tolerance than men. Now they have ZERO excuse to complain so much!

  54. Gina says:

    Men just need to suck it up and realize it is what it is…

    • etwas says:

      It seems like you’re trying to prove something for your own pleasure. It’s really is because woman have a higher percent body fat, which insulates their arms. Some of the reasoning behind the results could simply be because woman feel they need to prove something since the feminist movement. Either way, It’s an interesting test and I’d like to see the results for other methods of pain tolerance.

  55. Brandon says:

    While I was reading the comments a lot of the women mentioned childbirth as an excuse why women can withstand more pain. As I can’t disagree i would never want to actually feel the pain they go through I would like to mention that “pain tolerance” is situational. This basically means that some people can withstand more pain in certain situations like I can stand being stabbed only because I have adrenalan running through me at that givin time. Women who go through child birth without pain medications have a lot more endorphins going through them at that immediate time. So this “test” that the myth buster did is actually inaccurate.

  56. Anthony says:

    I think we can all agree that the men and women who have bludgeoned their own limbs off with blunt instruments in order to escape being trapped beat us all.

  57. Kate says:

    I’m a redhead and I have a fairly high tolerance for heat, especially in comparison to my non-redhead boyfriend. For example, I can wash dishes with scalding hot water and I prefer my showers to be as hot as possible. I’ve honestly thought before that it seems like I simply do not feel nearly as much pain as non-redhead people regarding heat – not simply that I am being more tough. I have never considered that my tolerance for high temperatures may be a result of my redhead genes…very interesting!!

  58. Meg says:

    I think it’s pointless for people to debate examples of pain tolerance, simply because pain perception is totally subjective, like color perception. A car someone else swears is green, looks grey to me, even though I can see that the grass is green. Since childbirth can be experienced in so many different ways even by the same woman, there is no universal standard for how much, or whether, it hurts, to measure other things against. Similarly, injuries have no standard measurement of their pain output, except as ranked by an individual for his or her own experience. That has absolutely no bearing on someone else’s experience, tempting as it is to universalize our own viewpoints, and egotistical as it is to then rank others and ourselves accordingly.

  59. zach says:

    How’s the redhead test a bust? LOL the average clearly states that redheads on average lasted around almost a minute longer than non-gingers?

  60. ukantwin says:

    Hey…Since WHEN has Mythbusters ever been scientific? There’s ALWAYS a whole host of glaring inconsistencies in their tests that any scientist or most laymen would pick apart. It’s entertainment folks, so try not to let it fool you. It’s not to be taken seriously. Besides…the ice-water test isn’t even painful. It’s UNCOMFORTABLE but you didn’t see anyone with tears in their eyes now, did you? Let’s see them get electrocuted with a stun-gun or pepper-sprayed…

  61. Ross says:

    Just did the ice water test as part of a pain study at University of Canberra, Australia. Interesting experience! It feels cold for about 20 seconds, then it starts to freakin’ hurt! So it is a temperature thing up to the point you would normally pull back your hand … then it becomes a pain thing. At about 70 seconds I started to get little waves of nausea, and finished up at about 90 seconds (about average for a bloke:) In fact, I even got a wave of nausea 15 minutes later out of nowhere and a slightly irregular heartbeat – so it really can screw with your insides to push yourself like this. I am a 53 years old man. To be make a more serious point here, I would advise against people 55+ participating in the ‘ice water test’.

  62. Joseph says:

    first off… alot of those men… weren’t really men lol. but you also only used a few people. you have to use a great amount to get a real average. but besides that. their have been studies and the studies have stated the men do have a higher Pain Threshold then women. and redheads also were confirmed that they have a lower Pain Threshold.

  63. jackie says:

    I propose that if in marriage the woman gave birth to the first child and the man to the second and so on, that no family would have more than two children.

  64. Sam says:

    Pain is subjective, the small sample size made the test irrelevant. Different people are tolerant to different things. Screaming and yelling don’t indicate a weakness, it is a method for dealing with the pain. I believe that was another test.

    The test was to stick your hand in warm water, so women last longer, that does not mean that you as a man/woman will do better just because you have a big ego.

    The Zulu’s would take a pain test of walking on hot coals, to put one out with your foot, how would one of you meatheads or feminazis like to try that?

    A lot of women always bring up child birth because it’s the only thing you know. You automatically think it is a superior argument because it is gender exclusive and you can easily get other women on yourside.

    Having working in a hospital for 3 years I will say with confidence that passing a kidney stone is considered more by BOTH males and females to be significantly more painful. Argue with that.

    • Raskolnikov says:


  65. dbe says:

    The tolerance between genders could be interpreted in different ways. For example perhaps the men are less willing to endure pain because someone asked them to. It’s really hard to measure tolerance without doing unethical experiments.

  66. The Drake says:

    Pain is relative, and my relatives are a pain!

    But seriously, this is one of those times where the small sample sizes and limited testing methods Mythbusters uses just isn’t going to prove anything. Even ignoring that, did they check what medications people were one, any past trauma, are they a smoker or drinker or drink a pot of coffee a day, weight differences matter, as does exercuse patterns, even something as seemly innocuous as what they had for lunch will matter. It’s just not feasible to try prooving any group is weaker than another in this respect, and I think it’s a little insulting to try to do so.

    There’s 3 types of pain: Visceral (cramps, kidney stones, labor), Neuropathic (nerve damage from injury, infection, cancer, etc. the ‘funny bone’ feeling), and of course Somatic (physical pains, headaches, arthritis, etc.) But even beyond that, there’s mild, moderate, severe, intense, excruciating, debilitating, acute, chronic, sharp, dull, burning, steady, throbbing, stabbing, spasmodic, etc. The factors that contribute to how you’re able to deal with each type of pain are as numerous as there are people.

    I personally can take cold, I’m a crazy person in shorts and t-shirt on the slopes, I can handle most Somatic pains that I know are coming (I’ve had to stitch my own stab wounds in the field without painkillers available). But I grew up with Night Terrors and Miagrains, and experienced various traumas as a child, I was also raised to ‘walk it off’ and ‘real men don’t cry'; which I know, medically, is bull****. But burns? that dull spreading throbbing burning that increases from mild to severe quickly and stays there for a long time? I just can’t handle it as well.

    • Girl says:

      UGh, I know right? Burns just suck, they can really take some mental tricks to endure sometimes.

  67. Dr.Villalpando says:

    A single study isn’t enough to have a final conclusion. Several tests are needed, specailly when the amount of participants was so low that results can conclude ina large percent of error.

  68. Jacob says:

    I think the test is pretty accurate although as usual I disagree with the way the mythbusters tested it, they have way too few people participating and they give the wrong info (especially when it comes to the redheads).

    What I do have a problem with though, is women claiming that child birth is the ultimate pain a human can feel.
    That is illogical on an extreme scale, the female body is designed to give birth so it would stand to reason that it is not the ultimate pain, otherwise nature is really bad at designing (and we know it is not.
    It makes no sense to have something that the majority of the female population is expected to go through being the most intense pain humans can experience.
    Look up such things as Irukanji poison or cluster headaches (also known as suicide head aches) if you want to know what the ultimate pain is.

  69. Stephen says:

    Got to Jo’burg Gen (Johannesburg General Hospital)

    You will find people who have been: raped, shot, sliced, diced, mutilated and humiliated!

    Both women and men will cry in pain when admitted!

    My verdict? Nobody is tougher!

    Hear the screams of women and men in pain?
    who says which are tougher?

  70. A. says:

    I did a small experiment at home involving me (female) and my parents. I’m slim and my hands are quite skinny and boney while my parent both have fleshy hands. We took turns holding our hands in running hot and cold water.

    Me (often have cold hands due to bad circulation): no problems with the cold water, failed miserably at the hot

    Mother (somewhat chubby woman, cooks and washes dishes daily): did well at hot, failed at cold

    Father (somewhat muscular man who has been in the army, works at the office now): failed at both

    This small experiment had the results that I was expecting: each person has a different temperature tolerance depending on their experience and what they are trained to withstand.

    I believe that
    1. Temperature threshold should not be taken as pain threshold.
    2. If they had a larger sample size for their ice water experiment the results would be too close to declare a winner.

    • Stephen says:

      1. Agree:
      There are other types of pain… some which you don’t want to know!
      2. Agree:
      You have to have a broad wide spectrum of people to do this test… at least 10,000 people from all walks of life…
      But 1,000,000 would get a better result.

  71. Gerikknz says:

    It’s been scientifically proven that having a baby is only 59del units in pain breaking a bone is 160 del units and then getting kicked in the nuts depending on how hard and every is between 400-9000del units and this has been proven scientifically so women know no pain like man ever does.

  72. RP says:

    It’s your methodology for comparing swearing to non swearing that worries me. First of all, amall sample size. Second of all, all the participants did the swearing round second which adds a confounding variable. You should randomly select the order in which participants do the two treatments to get a better result. And have more than 5 participants.

  73. debunker says:

    @gerikknz, thats actually a false scientific claim. the “del” isnt even a proper unit of measurement. the attempted unit of pain measurement is actually the “DOL” after “dolor” – the latin word for pain … that being said, any measurement of “9000” just sounds ignorantly insane.

    another commenter mentioned exposing military men to this test, that they will be tougher. thats also true that military women will be tougher than non military because they’ve undergone training to become more tolerant. and pain is subjective.

    no one is saying that any one gender as a whole is “tougher”. however, pain is subjective, so its dependent on the person going through the pain, their former experience with pain, and the type of pain. this myth buster just proved that in this small sample, the women lasted 20% longer in a bath of ice.

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