Amanda Pendolino
May 30, 2013

Study Says Both Men and Women Lie About Sex


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Do you lie about how many sexual partners you’ve had?

According to a new study, both men and women do it — in opposite ways.

Researchers at Ohio State University at Mansfield polled 293 heterosexual college students between the ages of 18 and 25, asking how often they engaged in 124 specific behaviors. Some students were even hooked up to lie detectors, but not told that the lie detectors weren’t actually functional. (The idea was to pressure students to answer truthfully.)

The results probably won’t surprise you: respondents were more likely to lie about sex than other behaviors. Women not hooked up to the polygraph machines 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 claimed to have had more sexual partners, to have lost their virginity at a younger age and to have engaged in more one-night stands.

“There is something unique about sexuality that led people to care more about matching the stereotypes for their gender,” Terri Fisher, an Ohio State University professor of psychology, said in a statement.

“Men and women had different answers about their sexual behavior when they thought they had to be truthful. Sexuality seemed to be the one area where people felt some concern if they didn’t meet the stereotypes of a typical man or a typical woman.”

A 2011 study similarly found that the desirable amount of sexual partners was linked to gender. No wonder Anna Faris was afraid to go above 20 in What’s Your Number.

It’s 2013, people! Why do we still feel like men should be players and women should be virginal? Maybe the solution is simply not telling people our “number” at all. What do you think?