20 Men Try To Guess What Contractions *Actually* Feel Like & Get Ready To Laugh

The vast majority of men will never experience childbirth. While this isn't anything they've done on purpose (though I'll admit that in the throes of labor, I had my doubts) it's crazy to know that we childbearing types will never be able to truly convey the pain of birth in any way they'll be able to understand. That's why I decided to have a little fun with the whole thing. I had 20 men guess what contractions actually feel like. I will admit I was genuinely curious about their responses. I mean, how does someone who has never experienced such a thing (in most cases, folks who do not have the corresponding anatomical equipment to begin to fathom it) imagine it?

Plus,I figured it would be good for a few laughs.

I have to give the following dudes some credit, though. Overall they did a pretty decent job delving the depths of their imaginations. Some even have some pretty accurate answers, in one way or another. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that most touched on some aspect of the pain without really capturing every aspect of the experience. I also give them credit because I feel like they had to know this article was going to have a humorous element, and they were all good sports anyway.

So, what do they think contractions feel like? Here are their answers (and some of my commentary, because you know I couldn't keep myself from weighing in.)


"Like a three-time all-pro linebacker tackling a peewee league receiver."

Bobby gets some points here, at least for understanding and conveying the enormity of the feeling. But in terms of sensation? No, not really.


"I sort of imagine it like a really intense muscle cramp affecting your entire core area."

So Nicholas is kind of the opposite of Bobby, right? In terms of general sensation he's not far off, but describing it even as "really intense" is underselling it, in my humble opinion.


"Like a middle of the night charley horse in your calf."

What I like about Jed's answer is that he hits on the idea that contractions are unexpected. Because, from my experience, even when they're coming steadily and you can time them, they still take you by surprise.


"The unabated joy of replacing a letter with an apostrophe."

At this point, I sent him a gif of a rimshot.

"Incidentally, the dulcet tickle of a cymbal is what I imagine a contraction feels like."

Brian has been my best friend since we were 12. So speaking as someone who has known his sarcastic ass for more than 20 years, let me assure you that he jokes, but he could absolutely not handle contractions. He would die.


"Like this gif?"

Not really, but it does feel that dramatic. Then again, I've never been hit in the stomach with a cannonball so... maybe that's exactly what it feels like? I don't know, but I'm not going to do the necessary experiments to find out.


"Like a tummy ache."

Oh Scott, bless your innocent and unknowing heart.


"If really bad period cramps and kidney stones had a baby."

This is pretty on the money, actually. Thank you for playing, Charlie. There are no prizes, but if there were you would get one.


"Super bad intestinal/gas pain that comes in waves and is far less localized."

I was once told by an ER doctor that people come in for what turns out to be gas pains all the time, but I've never had gas pain to this extent so the answer seems laughable to me. Really? Does gas get this bad? I want to know all about these crazy painful farts.


"Like passing a pair of scissors."

Points for creativity but... no. I might give this one to you if we were taking about crowning, but not so much contractions.


"Like a little tiny hand pulling on organs from inside your womb in an attempt to call attention for their eminent arrival."

This all sounds very whimsical and precious, Arthur. Let me assure you, ain't nothing whimsical or precious about a contraction. Nothing at all.


"When you have something really, really big and sharp and painful moving through your large intestine and you squeeze to try and hold it in."

I actually find this to be an extremely accurate if incomplete description. There's more of a muscle component that goes along with this feeling but, on the whole, yeah. Well done, Javier. You've always been wise.


"I don't know I've never had one. I would never in my life speculate on how it feels to be pregnant. Not going there."

Allen has clearly been told by at least one woman to stay in his lane when it comes to reproductive matters and he, wisely, took it to heart.


"Severe muscle spasm? Or having your testicles squeezed in a vice?"

I mean... I don't know what it feels like to have my testicles squeezed in a vice because I lack testicles (also a vice). And, truly, I hope anyone who was not willingly participating in ball torture can also say, "I don't know what it feels like to have my testicles squeezed in a vice."

Another Guy Named Eric

"I would think it would be like a really bad Charley horse, but 10 times worse and in your hooha. Probably not the same, but the only thing I can think of that's similar."

Contractions don't happen in a hooha, Other Eric. They happen in a uterus which lies due north of the hooha. Still, a Charlie horse is a pretty good comparison, so you get partial credit here. You also get credit for using the word "hooha," because it's funny.

Another Guy Named Brian

“Like severe poop craps, or having severe food poisoning with no bathroom available and having to hold it in. I know that’s not even close, but that’s the worst pain I can relate to in that area... short of getting kicked in the nuts.”

"Poop craps"?


"I imagine they feel like extreme muscle spasms in your mid- to lower-abs, medial to anterior."

It's nice that Steven took a break from his busy job of writing medical textbooks to answer this question! (I kid, I kid, Steven. I'm just impressed with how technical you've gotten here.) But seriously, like Nicholas' answer, this is accuracy without precision. So... yes, but this is too clinical to be correct.


"Really bad gas that comes in waves? I don't know. I just know it hurts."

Alex and Josh clearly need a support group for these terrible farts.

Another Guy Named Josh

"Maybe like getting kicked in the nuts over and over?"

A lot of y'all dudes are very preoccupied with the idea of getting kicked in the nuts. I guess that's the worst pain dudes experience?


"Like your midsection is in a vice."

I've heard other women say their contractions felt like centralized tension, so maybe this is true for some people, but for me there was always so much more to it than just tension.



Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.