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Horny People Lie More

A new study found that people who are sexually aroused are more likely to tell lies about themselves in order to impress a potential partner.

by Katie Way
Nov 5 2019, 7:29pm

Photo by Aleksandr Kuzmin via Getty Images

The adage goes that love makes people do “crazy things,” but it makes people do a lot of boring things, too, like jogging together or offering to pick each other up from the airport. Horniness is the more chaotic, volatile emotion: Do stans beg Harry Styles to stab them in the throat with a pickaxe and kick them off a cliff at Acadia National Park because they love him? Grow up—that’s pure, undiluted horniness talking.

Horniness doesn’t just inspire the afflicted to concoct elaborate death scenarios, but all-new personality traits, tastes and behaviors, too. A new study has linked sexual arousal to “deceptive self-presentation,” including behaviors that range from flattering embellishing to straight-up lying.

In the study, researchers exposed one group of its 634 student participants to sexual stimuli (a meta-horny move by the researchers, IMO), and the other group to neutral, non-sexual stimuli. The participants who got the sexual stimuli did more deception-lite work in order to manage how they came off to another study participant (for instance, horny participants were more likely to alter their preferences on a mockup dating profile to better conform to the preferences on a potential partner's profile when they believed the partner would see their choices). Other deceptions included lying about their past number of sexual partners and appearing more agreeable than they were instructed to be.

"People will do and say just about anything in order to make a connection with an attractive stranger," Gurit Birnbaum, one of the study’s authors, said in a press release. "When your sexual system is activated, you are motivated to present yourself in the best light possible. That means you'll tell a stranger things that make you look better than you really are." Where is the lie?

Sexual deception has previously been studied from a few different angles. In 2008, researchers created a sexual deception scale based on participant reports about their own sexually deceptive behaviors. The researchers found that men are more likely to blatantly lie in pursuit of sex, while women are more likely to have sex they’re not interested in as a way to avoid confrontation.

The most recent findings on sexual deception echo the results of a 2013 study, which found that men and women were both likely to lie about their sexual history in pursuit of social conformity, though women downplayed their number of past partners and frequency of one-night stands, while men tended to inflate their numbers.

Unsurprisingly, research has also shown that dating apps add another dimension to deception. According to one study, app-based communication encourages self-presentational lies along with “butler lies,” or polite untruths about your availability to keep people interested. Think, “Sorry, my phone died,” versus the truth, which is, “Sorry, someone who looks like you but is slightly hotter got back to me first.”

There’s a big difference between the kind of socially acceptable deceit we’ve all committed under the influence of horniness, and predatory, manipulative behavior that can call the consensual nature of a hookup into question, like withholding deal breaker–level information from a partner. Lust is no excuse for hurting another person. But if you find yourself saying ‘haha yeah thnx for sending me this merzbow song I’ll def listen to it when I get home!’ to a romantic interest, know that you’re not alone in your deeply questionable reaction… and get ready to hit Wikipedia to read up on your brand-new “interests.”

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Tagged:
white lies
sexual deception
horny on main
Butler lies