FYI: There May Be An Actual Reason You Are Always Cold

You don't need a Ph.D. in gender studies to know that men and women are built differently — inside and out. For instance, men grow more hair than women, especially on their faces, and men tend to be more muscular while women are curvier. These are physical traits that help you differentiate between men and women. Beyond the surface, there are also natural structures of male and female bodies that give them distinctly different sensitivity levels to the same outside influences. For example, men are wired in such a way that they can handle the cold better than women. 


Picture this: you're running with your male partner in a park. As you're freezing under your sweater in the morning cold, your partner is sweating in his T-shirt and shorts. Or, when you're curled up on your sofa under a blanket, your partner insists on turning off the heater because they don't feel cold at all. This is not an anomaly; women are physiologically predisposed to feel colder than men. Here's why. 

Women evaporate less body heat than men

Men and women have steady inner body temperatures of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, with women's core body temperatures being 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit higher on average than men's. Although most women have a higher core body temperature than men, the inequalities of sensation lie in the temperature of their skin. 


According to osteopathic family physician Dr. Rob Danoff, men tend to have a greater muscle mass than women which helps them generate more heat through their skin and keep them warm (via Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine). "But since women typically have less muscle mass and evaporate less heat through the pores in their skin, they might feel colder than men in a room with the same air temperature," he says. 

For this reason, the temperature at which men and women are most comfortable is never exactly the same. Numerous studies suggest that the optimal room temperature for males is approximately 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and for women, it's approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Hormonal differences also contribute to the problem

Hormonal differences also have a substantial impact on skin and internal body temperatures. For instance, estrogen is a steroid hormone found in both men and women, but women have higher levels of it. Estrogen widens the blood vessels in the body, which increases blood flow to the skin surface and allows more body heat to escape. This explains why women frequently experience feeling colder. Women's hormonal levels usually fluctuate throughout their menstrual cycles and women tend to feel colder during their periods.


Men also have far more testosterone, on average, than women do. Testosterone is in charge of regulating the body temperature in both men and women and low testosterone levels are associated with increased sensitivity to the cold. 

Researchers from the University of Utah, in a study published in 2017, also confirmed that women's hands were found to be typically 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit colder than men's hands (via Medical Xpress). They say that this could be because women often have higher levels of body fat compared to men; this protects their vital organs but also limits blood flow to their hands and feet.

Childbirth, menopause, and birth control can make women feel colder

Cold, tingling sensations are a normal occurrence among women who have just given birth as a result of heat and fluid loss during delivery. They are commonly referred to as "post-partum chills." It's also common for women to experience frequent episodes of shivering sensations running all over their bodies after they enter the perimenopausal or menopausal phase. These cold flashes usually last for a couple of minutes. Cold flashes typically happen when the levels of estrogen in the body drop as a result of hormonal fluctuations. 


Women's health specialist Holly L. Thacker, MD, explains to Cleveland Clinic, saying, "During midlife, your hormones are fluctuating. With fluctuating hormones, your brain's internal thermostat becomes more sensitive. This means you may suddenly notice feeling either hot or cold sensations." Adding layers while indoors or having a jacket handy when you're out and about will help you feel more comfortable.

Birth control can also make women feel colder than usual. According to Fleur Women's Health, taking birth control can raise your body temperature throughout the whole month, which will alter your basal body temperature and make you extra sensitive to the cold. Once you're off birth control, your body temperature will return to normal. 


Men have faster metabolic rates than women

Metabolic rates also influence how men and women react to temperature. This is the pace at which your food and drinks are converted into energy to sustain and warm the body. A faster metabolic rate is linked to a higher body temperature, and higher body temperatures tend to accelerate metabolism. 


Compared to men, women have lower metabolic rates at all temperatures, according to a 2021 study published in "Energy and Buildings." Their slower metabolisms cause them to produce less heat. Women (and men) also tend to feel cold more quickly as they age because metabolic rates tend to slow as they become older.

An article published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" also points out that the amount of energy burned is 23% greater in the male body than in the female body. For this reason, men tend to feel more comfortable in chilly conditions than women. 

Workplace thermostats are built for men's comfort

If you always feel cold in your office, it's because the thermostats are set to favor the comfortability of your male colleagues, not you. This likely has to do with the history of gender and labor roles.   


The parameters determining the indoor temperature in buildings follow a thermal comfort standard from the 1960s, according to research published in the journal "Nature Climate Change." The metabolic rate, one of the key factors used for the thermostats, is based on that of an average male instead of a female. This is most likely due to the fact that there were more men than women in the workplace in the '60s. As a result, building structures are inefficient in offering comfort to female workers. 

Numerous studies also suggest that women tend to operate at their maximum capacity when room temperatures are higher. Research published in "PLoS One" discovered that women perform better in math and word exams when they don't feel cold. Meanwhile, men did slightly better on similar questions with cooler room temperatures, according to the study. To boost women's productivity and level the playing field, thermostats should be set higher than present standards.