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.
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.