People are Poor Communicators When it Comes to Pain During Sex

Sex should be fun, but for many people pain is not. Nevertheless, sex sometimes surprises us with a side of pain. It might be fleeting–from a lack of lubrication, an unexpected muscle cramp, some chafing or pinched skin, or it could be the result of a more serious medical condition. But whether it’s from shame or… »7/07/15 12:00am7/07/15 12:00am

Why do we feel the pain of bad guys more than the good guys?

Whether it be in movies or real life, we don’t tend to feel sorry for the villains. But strangely, and even a bit disturbingly, we often empathize more with the pain they experience. A new study offers a potential answer to this puzzling phenomenon — and it may have something to do with wanting to keep our enemies… »10/17/13 11:00am10/17/13 11:00am

When it comes to obsessing about death, Woody Allen has nothing on the Fraggles

If you remember the Fraggles as brightly colored, fun-loving creatures partying underground, I have some unsettling news for you: The Fraggles were fucked up. They were more obsessed with death — theirs, others, yours —than any other creature on the planet, as this mind-boggling two-minute video proves. »4/03/13 5:40pm4/03/13 5:40pm

Breakthrough research suggests simple ways to reverse chronic pain

People who suffer from chronic pain often feel like the experience dominates their lives, and changes them profoundly. Now, a group of pain researchers and geneticists have discovered that this feeling isn't far from scientific truth. Being in chronic pain changes the way your brain functions on a physical level. The… »3/27/13 9:54pm3/27/13 9:54pm

Why do paper cuts hurt so much, and what do they have to do with lobsters?

As SciAm's Ferris Jabr explains in the video up top, the short answer is: nociceptors. Many animals have these sensory neurons. Some animals have weird ones. Take naked mole rats, for example — NMRs have mutated sodium channels that limit physiologically "normal" nociceptor firing, thereby blunting sensations of pain. »11/08/12 3:20pm11/08/12 3:20pm

Should we eliminate the human ability to feel pain?

In yesterday's Daily Explainer we told you all about pain — why it exists, how it works, and how scientists are trying to quantify its effects. Though pain has clearly served an important evolutionary purpose, not everyone is convinced that we still need it. A growing number of forward-looking thinkers are suggesting… »9/27/12 12:00pm9/27/12 12:00pm

Scientists created a pain measurement scale by burning the hands of women in labor

In the 1940s, a group of doctors at the University of Cornell set out to create a unit of pain intensity. Using the "dol" as a unit, the physicians created a 21-point quantitative scale, but through unusual means — testing pain reactions on medical students and women in labor between contractions. They did this by… »4/11/12 2:00pm4/11/12 2:00pm