Never wondered why you get goosebumps or why your nipples harden when it’s cold? Take a look at these 8 things human bodies do when it’s cold and the explanation why.
Piloerection, also known as goosebumps, refers to a reaction of the sympathetic nervous system that causes muscles to contract while hair follicles protrude outwards from the skin. This phenomenon is a physiological response to cold and intense emotions like fear. The reaction is a deffense mechanism in mammals to threats or cold weather, but there aren’t benefits in humans.
2- Hard nipples
Why our nipples harden in the cold? No one knows! It is believed that it’s probably for the very same reason that we get goosebumps. In Hairier mammals, this process known as pilomotor reflex can produce a layer of insulation. In humans, it is vestigal. The areola of the nipples have smooth muscle cells that contract when they are stimulated, and cold water makes the skin pucker inward while nipples stick out.
The areola is the most sensitive part of the body and can be stimulated in men and women. In addition to being sensitive in cold, they can be stimulated and erect during breast-feeding and sexual arousal.
3- Scrotum shrinkage
Testicles shrink when exposed to cold temperatures and drop away in warmer temperatures. Why? Because the sperm stored in the testicles needs to be regulated at a very specific temperature. By shrinking them closer to the body, the testicles will be warmer.
4- Retractile testicles
From time to time, one or both testicles retract from the scrotum into the groin area for many possible reasons. The cremaster muscle is a thin muscle in which the testicle rests. When this muscle contracts, it pulls the testicle toward the body. The main purpose for this, is the control of testicle temperature. When the environment is warm, the cremaster msucle is relaxed, and when it’s cold, the muscle contracts.
5- Men feel frisky during winter
According to recent research, men want more sex in winter. One theory is that men’s hormone levels fluctuate depending on the season and they feel more easily aroused when the weather is cold.
6- Women get colder than men
While research has shown that women’s core body is slightly higher than men’s, women’s extremities are colder: while men registered an average hand temperature of 90 °F, the hand temperature in women was 87.2 °F. The explanation has to do with baby-making. Like menstruation and menopause, shivering all the time is just part of the package you get when you carry a uterus to take care of.