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A few weeks after Susan and I were married, we had an experience that was mildly distracting. We were riding along the freeway in our Corvair and she nonchalantly reached over and turned on the car heater.

There was only one problem. I was sweating at the time. So I nonchalantly reached over a few seconds later and turned the car heater off. She gave me an icy look. Literally. She was cold and I was hot. And neither of us believed the other.At the time we were newlyweds we discovered a basic difference between us. Susan liked warm temperatures and I liked cooler ones. At the time of our discovery we each thought the other was playing games. Little did we realize that response to room or environmental temperature is a basic difference between males and females.

The late Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute for Family Relations in Los Angeles, wrote a brief article on the physiological differences between the sexes. Here are a few of his observations:

1. Men and women differ in every cell of their bodies due to the basic difference in the chromosome combination that determines whether we are male or female.

2. Women have greater constitutional vitality because they normally outlive men their same age by at least three to four years in the United States.

3. The sexes differ in their basal metabolism - that of women being lower than that of men.

4. Men and women differ in skeletal structure. Women have a shorter head, broader face, less protruding chin, shorter legs and a longer trunk. And for what it is worth, the first finger of a women's hand is usually longer than the third finger. With men the reverse is true. And boy's teeth seem to last longer than do those of girls.

5. Women have larger stomachs, kidneys and livers but smaller lungs.

6. A woman's thyroid is larger and more active. It enlarges during pregnancy and also during menstruation. It makes her more prone to goiter, provides resistance to cold, is associated with smooth skin, and a relatively hairless body. There is also a thin layer of subcutaneous fat that is an important element in personal beauty. The active thyroid also, according to Popenoe, may be a contributing factor why most women laugh and cry more easily than do men.

7. Women's blood contains more water and 20 percent fewer red cells. Since these supply oxygen to the blood cells, she is more prone to faint.

8. With a differing muscular structure, men and women differ in sheer strength. Men are 50 percent stronger than women.

9. A woman's heart beats more rapidly than does a man. (Eighty beats per minute for women; 72 for men). And her blood pressure is 10 points lower than her male counterpart and varies from minute to minute. But she has much less tendency to high blood pressure - at least until after menopause.

10. And finally, (are you reading this, Susan?) women tolerate higher temperatures better, and consequently lower temperatures worse, than do men because of metabolic differences.

Just think. It has taken me 25 years of marriage and a Ph.D. to finally figure out why Susan and I have the battle of the thermostat. And all this time I thought she was just being obstinate.

If you have comments, write to Box 1230, SFLC, BYU, Provo, UT 84602.