Why Are Women Always Cold and Men Always Hot?

The battle of the sexes turns into a battle over the thermostat when men and women live or work together. That's because women always seem to be cold while men always seem to be hot.  What's behind this hot topic and how can men and women achieve climate control? 

It's not just a battle of wills. There are four major anatomical differences between men and women that mean they heat and cool their bodies differently. 

1. Blood Vessels. Women 's blood vessels are usually located further from the skin surface while men's are more visible and closer to the skin surface. Women have more constricted blood vessels too which leads to less warm blood reaching the skin surface. Women pull blood to the body's core in order to retain heat and keep their reproductive system toasty.  Men, on the other hand, need to keep their reproductive organs cool and therefore blood and heat are shunted away from the core and out to the skin.  The result is women have colder skin and extremities than men.

2. Skin. Men have thicker, oilier and hairier skin than women and those elements provide men better insulation from the cold. 

3. Muscles. Men have denser muscle mass then women, which means they have a faster metabolism to warm their body and more insulation. The more fit a woman is, the more muscle mass she has and the less likely she is to feel cold.  Fat provides insulation too and women who are very lean and fit may not have enough to keep warm. 

4. Hormones. Women have more hormonal fluctuations than men.  Their basal body temperature changes slightly throughout their menstrual cycle. Perimenopausal and menopausal women may experience hot flashes, which can lead to chills as the body's thermostat regulates itself.  Women are also more prone to hypothyroidism then men.  The thyroid gland plays a big role in body temperature regulation.

These physical differences that make women cold and men hot aren't open to negotiation, but we have tips for waging peace between the sexes at home or the office:

  • Agree upon a specific, set temperature that keeps both genders reasonably comfortable. 
  • Dress in layers and add or remove them as needed.
  • Invest in insulating undergarments that wick away perspiration and help keep the body warm or cool.
  • Lower the thermostat at night.  Add blankets or kick them off as needed.
  • Use a small fan or space heater.

While these tips won't eliminate all battles of the sexes, a more comfortable body temperature might cool off some hot tempers.