Where Was This Contraction Contraption When I Needed It?

(Warning: the following is not for those prone to calling the waaahmbulance. You have been Warned.)

So my uterus is doing that thing where it reminds me it’s still young and healthy by simulating a day or two of labor, and interfering with any useful work I might be liable to get done otherwise. I’ve had male persons whine at me that “men have that time of the month, too!” and it’s a wonder no one’s lost teeth after saying that within punching distance. I’ve always been at a loss to explain what the pain is like. A particularly sensitive and caring male friend of mine who is not afraid to come up with the kind of analogies that cause most of his compatriots to curl up in a protective whimpering ball at the mere thought of them gave me some ideas that would get me arrested for grievous bodily harm, and still wouldn’t quite capture the sensation. Put it like this: the day the doctor told me kidney stones hurt worse than labor was the day I decided labor was a cakewalk, because my cramps at that time beat kidney stones in the pain olympics.

But not all people have experienced kidney stones, and so it’s hard to come up with comparisons people who have never been attacked by an internal organ can understand. Until now.

Well, Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno, hosts of the Dutch TV show Guinea Pigs, put their testes where their uteruses ain’t. With electrodes strapped to their stomachs, they experienced simulated contractions with slowly increasing intensity over two hours until they’re screaming in agony. It’s truly some fucked-up Fear Factor craziness.

Thank you, science. Thank you so, so much. *wipes away tear*

If you can stomach (ha) it, go watch the video at that link. Note that one dude didn’t even make it through the whole two and a half hours. Imagine suffering that kind of pain and not being able to make it stop for days. Keep in mind that these men were not bleeding from their nether orifice, nor did they have to squeeze out a watermelon-sized object through narrow parts of their anatomy. Well, neither have I, but doctors don’t like to prescribe narcotics for “mere cramps,” or at least they didn’t when I was young and needed them to. No, I was told to suck it up, have a heating pad and some ibuprofen, it’s not that bad. Then the (male) administration at my high school were all like, why are you missing so much school merely because you feel like someone’s repeatedly breaking your pelvic bone with a vise? Later, it was oblivious people writing attendance policies at work who hadn’t thought things through.

If only I’d had one of these contraction contraptions. I could have explained it so much more clearly, once I’d gotten them to sign the consent form…

Where Was This Contraction Contraption When I Needed It?

27 thoughts on “Where Was This Contraction Contraption When I Needed It?

  1. rq

    I saw this on my Facebook a week ago or so, and my first thought was, What brave fellows! And then I thought to myself, Hey, I survived that whole ordeal three times. With no pain relief, because it’s expensive here (no, it is not covered by insurance). And I’m lucky that it happens quickly and easily. I can only imagine what it must be like to (a) have terrible cramps every month (I’m of the headaches and nausea beforehand, with mild cramps) and (b) to do the whole birth process in more than 6 hours total. *shudder*
    My sympathies to you and I hope your ovaries and uterus get it together again soon! ;) (I know they will, but it’s always nice to hope that this time they’ll be a little more thoughtful of your feelings… no?)

  2. 2

    I’ve had male persons whine at me that “men have that time of the month, too!” and it’s a wonder no one’s lost teeth after saying that within punching distance.

    Which reminds me of a twist on the traditional ‘how many …to screw-in a light bulb’ jokes;

    (In an exaggeratedly male voice) “How many women with PMT does it take to scraaaaghhhhhhHHH!
    (In calm female voice) “Now, how many surgeons does it take to remove a light bulb from an idiots rectum?”

  3. 3

    A friend of mine described it; “Imagine you have a bunch of broken glass in your belly, and each time you move – even a little – and sometimes even if you don’t, there’s that cutting pain…”, at which point I asked her to stop since I could barely even take the *description* (much less having to suffer through that on a monthly basis for 30-ish years).

    It was at that moment that I decided most men (definitely myself included) were whiners when it came to pain.

  4. 5

    Oh, you mean that kind of contraction. After seeing Mano’s post about commas and spaces, I thought this was going to be about grammar and spelling.

    Be that as it may, thanks for the metaphors and the video, and I hope you get some relief soon.

  5. rq

    Oy, seconded on a global scale!!! All men who want to vote on abortion restrictions should be made to experience this, for 240hours straight, no opting out.

  6. 8

    Damn, I’m so embarrassed. When I read the title of your post I thought it was about what letters to delete and where to put the apostrophe.

    I feel like such a stooge.

    Don’t ask me to tell you about chronic back pain.

  7. 9

    The guys in the video had it easy. They knew they weren’t about to die. They hadn’t experienced 9 months of persistent nausea and fatigue. They could stop the pain at any time they wanted to. They weren’t at risk of having most of their body’s blood supply suddenly exit through their crotch or amniotic fluid leak into their veins. All they had to deal with was some normal simulated contractions-not even the contractions of obstructed labor, which are quite a bit nastier, just normal labor pains.

    Incidentally, my brother in law’s mother has had 8 pregnancies and kidney stones. She says kidney stones are a walk in the park.

  8. 10

    Also, a proposal: We strap one of these on every Irish legislator and turn them on for a few hours just before the next bill to legalize abortion comes up…

  9. 12

    Having had both kidney-stone induced cholic on a number of occasions and a partner with severe PMT I sympathise on several levels. We did find a (sort of) solution after years of experimentation.

    Femi-9 capsules from Seven Seas,(http://www.seven-seas.com/) gave a great deal of relief, but was expensive where we live, in the Netherlands. On a trip the UK we found a drug store which sold them for substantially less. When I immediately bought 10 boxes my partner asked “is it THAT bad?”

    What she didn’t know was I only had enough cash for 10, otherwise I’d have bought up the whole stock…

  10. 13

    Being a Canadian, I find it helpful to imagine the pain in hockey terms. As a goaltender with a lovely wife who is always willing to find ways to explain to me how unfair it is to be female (which took me a while, but I eventually realized she was quite correct – I’m very happy to be a guy), I’ve determined that the feeling can be similar to the time I gave out a bad rebound and the 6′ 4″, 260 lb center on the opposition team one-timed the puck straight into my cup from six feet away from me. Now imagine that happening on a scale of every few seconds to a couple of minutes for two or more days straight.

    Yeah, I’m happy to have my junk on the outside. It might make them subject to damage and make it uncomfortable to wear tight jeans, but sure sounds preferable to genitals that regularly make you feel like you have an angry wiener dog living in your stomach, fighting desperately to get out.

    How women can do anything but lie on the couch demanding pampering like Caesar of Rome during those times is completely beyond me.

  11. 14

    I can so relate to what you go through every month. I too used to have cramps so bad I could not stand up straight. Some times they were so intense I would loose everything in me. I was always told it was in my mind.
    I also have had 3 children. The 1st one I was in labor 24 hrs. After having cramps like that all my life labor wasn’t so bad for me. I did learn to ask for epidurals because that at least made it more tolerable. I wished I could get an epidural every month. You have my deepest sympathy.

  12. 15

    Oh those contractions. I learned early in life to not make stupid statements about that time of the month. Which, after a wife and two teenage daughters, has allowed me to live to an old age.

  13. 16

    It’s truly some fucked-up Fear Factor craziness.

    It should be noted that women are encouraged to go through 17 hours (average, first pregnancy) or so of this sort of thing without any analgesia. But when men do it for a mere two hours it’s “truly fucked up craziness”. Ok.

  14. 18

    Without birth control, I’m of the “get systemically ill every month” variety.

    Onnnn the upside, when I’m running a fever of 101.5 and my body is doing its level best to put everything that’s on my inside on my outside, whilst the smooth muscle of my bronchi clamp down like my grip on the holy-shit handle when my sister’s driving, nobody’s gonna call me a wimp if I call in sick.

    On the downside, I feel like I have a stomach bug and bronchitis at the same time.

    Birth control is lovely, though. It takes all of that away for me. I love me my birth control.

  15. 19

    “men have that time of the month, too!”

    Oh, yes, that sensation you get when one of your internal organs is tearing itself apart from the inside. Men get that, too, do they?


  16. 20

    For no particular medical reason I once had three stones simultaneously, (two in the left ureter, and one in the right), that were totally untreated, excepting OTC ibuprofen, for three days (I was very busy at the time, and hadn’t an opportunity to go to the hospital). I imagine that this would be similar to labor/severe cramp pain based on the various descriptions I’ve heard from those who have gone through both. Therefore, I am a strong advocate for pain control in the situation described in the OP.

  17. 21

    A Joke: One day a man was standing outside the maternity ward with his mom looking at his new baby. “I always wondered what it feels like to give birth,” he said. “Oh that’s easy”, said his mom. “Take your upper lip and pull it up towards your nose.” He does. “Hey that’s not too bad,” he says. “Now” says Mom, “Take it and stretch it allllllllllll the way back over the top of your head!”

  18. 23

    With electrodes strapped to their stomachs, they experienced simulated contractions with slowly increasing intensity over two hours until they’re screaming in agony

    Simulated contractions of what? A simulated uterus?
    Nope, abdominal muscles. Skeletal muscle tissue. It’s not the same thing at all.

  19. 24

    “I’ve had male persons whine at me that “men have that time of the month, too!” and it’s a wonder no one’s lost teeth after saying that within punching distance.”

    I’m a male who has never heard of such a thing. What the hell are they talking about? Punch to the teeth at such a claim, indeed.

  20. rq

    “By choosing to legislate on women’s health issues, you have also, by default, chosen to undergo this process. You made that decision when you started campaigning. You didn’t know? Too bad. Now please, lie back and it will all be over in about 24 hours!”

  21. 26

    My tattoo artist told me that in his experience, women customers ALWAYS have better pain tolerance than men. I found my last tattoo to still be far less painful than my first childbirth, and it was over in a quarter of the time.

    The sensation of pain is difficult to remember, and I have often joked that this is why the world isn’t full of only children.

    The worst thing about menstrual pain to me is the same worst thing about chronic pain–you never know when, or if, it will be over. The second worst thing is that, unlike childbirth and tattooing, you have nothing to show for surviving it.

  22. 27

    I can’t remember the specifics, but I remember reading an account of a women who suffered pretty horrible pain from menstrual cramps. She was told it was imaginary, or she was exaggerating or some such, and just dealt with it. skip forward a decade or so, and she suffers some injury (I think it happened from exercise, but not certain – I can’t even remember what the injury was), maybe a cracked pelvis or something. She finished what she was doing, and then went to get it checked out, and the doctor said something about how she should be in so much pain, she shouldn’t even be conscious, let alone standing.


    I’ve heard the thing about women tending to have a higher threshold for pain as well.

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