MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the most enduring arguments in any relationship: one person is too hot, another is too cold.

Why do women tend to be colder than men?

“Most of the women have space heaters. All of the men don’t,” said Amber Verhulst, from her office at Ciceron in downtown Minneapolis.

Verhulst keeps her own space heater, and a blanket in her drawer.

“Me and my boyfriend argue every day about the thermostat,” Kristina Epping said. “He wants it a little cooler, I want it hotter.”

Is this just anecdotal evidence, or is something real happening?

“They’ve looked at this,” said Dr. Ian Kenning, of HealthPartners Nokomis Clinic in Minneapolis. “Women are actually warmer for their core temperature.”

When researchers took temperatures of more than 200 people, they found that women are nearly a half degree warmer than men on the inside. But their hand temperature was nearly 3 degrees cooler. The mean hand temperature for women was 87.2, while men were at 90 degrees.

According to Kenning, the difference is the subcutaneous layer of fat, which acts as a layer of insulation.

“On average women are at a different spot and more equally distributed throughout the body than a guy’s,” Kenning said.

Men have more insulation where we sense temperature, essentially. Of course, these are averages, and individuals have different heat perceptions.

But there is a reason that grandma and grandpa’s house can feel like a sauna.

“As we age, we lose a lot of subcutaneous fat. We lose our insulation layer,” Kenning said.


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