Lying About Sex To Fit In With Social Expectations Is Common For Men And Women, Study Finds

Does everyone lie about sex?

A study led by professor of psychology Terri Fisher of the Ohio State University at Mansfield, published in the April 2013 issue of Sex Roles, explored how college students lie about certain behaviors -- especially when it comes to sex.

The participants, 293 heterosexual college students between the ages of 18 and 25, completed a questionnaire that asked how often they engaged in 124 specific behaviors. One group of students was hooked up to a lie detector while they filled out the questionnaire, but were not informed that the lie detector did not actually work. The lie detector was intended to make participants feel pressured to tell the truth.

When it came to nonsexual behavior, like lifting weights, participants linked up to the lie detector were just as likely to report engaging in that behavior than those who were not, even when the behavior was considered less appropriate for their gender. However, both male and female participants were much more likely to lie about their sexual behavior.

Women not linked up to the lie detector reported having had fewer sexual partners, being older when they lost their virginity and having had fewer one-night stands. Men reported the opposite: Those not linked up to the lie detector reported having had more sexual partners, being younger when they lost their virginity and having had more one-night stands. According to the researchers, these results show that people are likely to lie about their sexual history to make their experiences line up with gender stereotypes.

"There is something unique about sexuality that led people to care more about matching the stereotypes for their gender," Fisher said in a press release.

Research from 2012 confirmed a sexual double standard, finding that it was more socially acceptable for men to have sex outside of a committed relationship than it was for women. In 2011, a study found that a person's desired number of lifetime sexual partners was linked to their gender.

Have you ever lied about your sex life? If so, why? Comment below, or join the conversation on Twitter @HuffPostWomen.



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