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What Are the Most Common Lies People Tell in Their Sex Lives?

Feet under a blanket in bed

People lie for a variety of reasons – to avoid embarrassment, to spare someone’s feelings or just to make things easier – but have you ever wondered about what kind of lies people tell in their sex lives? A new study showcased in Psychology Today outlines the most common sexual lies, based on responses from “a couple hundred sexually active people.”

According to the study, people lie in most social contexts, so the researchers wanted to delve deeper and see if sex lives are one of those contexts in which they deceive. They predicted that – due to the vulnerability required during sex and anxieties around people’s bodies and performance abilities – people would be quite likely to lie in their sex lives.

“They may be concerned about the relationship, their future with the other person, or whether they should even be having sex at all,” the article’s author, Christian L. Hart Ph.D., continued. “People also bring the past with them into the bedroom, recalling past sexual experiences, old lovers, and old emotional wounds.”

Related: ‘Phone Snubbing’ your partner can harm your relationship, cause retaliation: study.

So, when researchers began to ask participants about their sex lives, “not surprisingly, it turned out that almost all of them had been dishonest.”

The top of a couple's heads lying in bed

About the study

In the first study, researchers asked participants to anonymously describe a moment in their sex lives when they had been dishonest, and 92 per cent of them were able to remember at least one lie. Those reported deceits often revolved around things like cheating, faking orgasms, etc.

Based on those answers, researchers found more than 100 topics that people lie about in their sex lives. From there, they made a straightforward yes-or-no checklist of the lies and asked 330 more people to indicate whether or not they had lied about the listed topics.

What are the most common lies in sex lives?

The most common lie revolves around deceiving your partner about your enthusiasm to have sex, with 58 per cent of people responding that they had done so. More women indicated that they had lied about this, with 65 per cent of women responding yes and 51 per cent of men responding yes.


Related: Avoiding toxic breakups – here is the worst way to be broken up with: research.

Falling closely behind were faking an orgasm or satisfaction during sex, which had 57 per cent of people indicating yes, and over-exaggerating the amount of pleasure during sex, which had 53 per cent of participants checking yes.

Other common forms of deceit included lying about being too tired or sick for sex, denying having sexual feelings for another person and lying about how sexually attractive you find your partner.

While researchers found that lying in the context of sex is common, the most common forms of dishonesty weren’t usually self-serving. People often lied in an attempt to make their partners feel good.

“It seems that prosocial motivations may drive much of the dishonesty in the bedroom,” the study concluded.

Gender differences in the types of lies

Researchers also found pretty distinct differences in the types of deceit based on gender. For example, women were more likely to lie about “enthusiasm and enjoyment” – like faking orgasms – while men were more likely to lie about “the true strength of their feelings for their partner and their use of pornography.”

A man and woman looking disgruntled in bed

How does lying in your sex life affect your relationship?

Researchers found that – while it was quite common for people to lie in their sex lives – it can actually damage your relationship.

“There is much research on romantic relationships that shows that dishonesty usually creates emotional distance and relational dissatisfaction,” they explained. “If the urge to lie comes up during sex, it might be a good time to examine the basis for that motivation and look for honest ways to achieve the same goal.”

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