Let’s face it, women cry more than men. But it’s not just that society says it’s more acceptable for women to cry, there are actually biological reasons that make women more likely to tear up.
Scientists who study emotional reactions like crying have found that women have much smaller tear ducts than men. Both sexes may have a strong reaction to something - but men’s tear ducts are so big that the liquid stays put and eventually drains away. In women the tears quickly overwhelm the duct and spill out down her cheeks.
Hormones also play a big role in tear production. When men and women experience sadness or pain, the emotional part of the brain fires up. And when the emotional reaction hits a certain point, the tears start flowing.
However, studies have found that testosterone buffers that reaction and increases the threshold between getting mad or sad and actually crying. Men have more testosterone than women, which means the line between getting emotional and crying is a lot wider. But since men tend to lose testosterone as they age, they’re more likely to cry as they get older.
All this science does discount the fact that society does play a role. Boys are taught from a very young age to stuff down their tears – that it’s not manly to cry. So they learn coping mechanisms that girls don’t – because it’s more acceptable for girls to cry.
Still, if you don’t want to cry – try this: Clear your throat with an “ahem.” The motion interrupts the mechanism in your nose and throat that controls crying.