Why is He Such a Baby When He’s Sick?

January 6, 2014

in Uncategorized

I have been barely-able-to-get-out-of-bed sick for a couple of days. I do not think I am much of a baby about being sick, but that could be because I generally just sleep until I am better. I do know men have a reputation for being whiny and helpless when they are sick, and I think that reputation has been earned.

Sick man © Matt Antonino | Dreamstime.com

But, maybe it really is worse for him than it is for you. I know, I know, it sounds like I am providing cover for my gender. However, my source for this is female neuroscientist Dr Amanda Ellison. She bases this on brain differences in men and women. At puberty, testosterone causes the preoptic nucleus to become larger in men than it is in women. The preoptic nucleus is the part of the brain that causes a fever, and because it is larger in men, men run a higher fever and thus feel worse.

That said, I think there is more to it. We all like a bit of TLC occasionally, but men often do not know how to ask for that. When we are sick, we suddenly have a “right” to whine and expect to be babied. It gives us a chance to get our nurturing fix, and we play it for all it is worth.

So, yes he is probably exaggerating, but he may actually feel worse than you do with the same illness. Regardless, he likes being babied, and this gives him an excuse. He will probably survive being sick, and you will probably survive his being sick!

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I try not to be a baby when I’m sick.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joao January 6, 2014 at 1:13 am

“We all like a bit of TLC occasionally” – a Google search showed me you “probably” meant “tender loving care” but why not just write it out in full and save us the trouble of looking slang or foreign abreviations up? Just suggesting.

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Paul Byerly January 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Sorry, should have linked it at the bottom. Can I get off on claiming I was sick?

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Christine January 6, 2014 at 6:56 am

It does seem men have a tougher time with sickness or pain. I’ve always wondered if God graciously gave women an extra dose of “coping” so they could endure pregnancy & childbirth and also be able to continue caring for children when under-the-weather themselves???

Anyway, so sorry you’ve been so sick the past few days. I hope you’re feeling back to your normal self quickly, and that Lori doesn’t get it.

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Paul Byerly January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I’ve seen various claims on that. It does seem that women have a stronger immune system, and in part that is because important immune function are on the X chromosome, and men have only one while women have two. I’ve also seen something about testosterone liming immune function. See http://stanford.io/1bLUbsy

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Rebekah January 7, 2014 at 6:39 am

My husband thinks that men are more whiny when sick because they are not multi-taskers. So in the case of my husband, he says that when he is sick and miserable, that is pretty much the only thing he can think about. Which of course, makes it worse. I had a little chuckle with him about that.
When we first married our only tense/ argumentative times happened when he was sick and extremely unreasonable about everything. He is SO MUCH better now.

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Christopher James January 8, 2014 at 12:13 am

I’m not a baby when I’m sick. But I tend to be grumpy.
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