It won't be some guy standing close with part of his tummy exposed while I sit with my hand in cold water, that's for sure! He gets any closer and this cold wet hand is going to chill that bare skin in a hurry!
John mentioned childbirth. Different cultures handle the pain differently also, and I think that in America, with priviledge comes painkillers. So a lot of American women don't really know what they can tolerate, or they're so afraid of the prospect of temporary pain that they nuke a lot of other sensation and freedom to move in exchange for that epidural. My ob/gyn did her residency at the county hospital, where the dollar stretches further if not every laboring woman gets an epidural. They used other methods, and though I was at a hospital where the epidural is the norm, my doctor was rather pleased to get to demonstrate her skills with the pudendal block. "We used that one a lot over at John Peter Smith hospital," she told me. It means you go through all of the rest of labor unmedicated, but any tearing or stitching afterward is covered by the block.
And maybe it means I'm a chicken--I'd rather deal with the pain than have a needle inserted into my spine. Now that sounds horrible!