Truth and consequences: using the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences in self-reported sexuality

J Sex Res. 2003 Feb;40(1):27-35. doi: 10.1080/00224490309552164.


Men report more permissive sexual attitudes and behavior than do women. This experiment tested whether these differences might result from false accommodation to gender norms (distorted reporting consistent with gender stereotypes). Participants completed questionnaires under three conditions. Sex differences in self-reported sexual behavior were negligible in a bogus pipeline condition in which participants believed lying could be detected, moderate in an anonymous condition, and greatest in an exposure threat condition in which the experimenter could potentially view participants responses. This pattern was clearest for behaviors considered less acceptable for women than men (e.g., masturbation, exposure to hardcore & softcore erotica). Results suggest that some sex differences in self-reported sexual behavior reflect responses influenced by normative expectations for men and women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Deception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Desirability
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*