Sex, Lies, and Looks: What Women Think About Deception

Would you tell a falsehood to a stranger? Your coworker? C'mon, be honest.


Two months ago, I posted a blog about why women lie, and, boy, did I get some heated comments (like this one)! Some readers accused me of being less than honest, and others questioned my contention that women and men lie for different reasons. I responded with my own comment questioning whether we will ever get to the real truth about lying. Well, the website tried to do just that by asking its female members to fill out a survey on lying. The results were released today. Only 33 women completed the survey, so I'd hardly call it a scientific snapshot. Still, the list of questions was pretty comprehensive, and I was surprised at some of the things these women were admitting, such as:

  • One third find it "perfectly acceptable" to lie to strangers, though they lie most frequently to coworkers.
    • More than half of the respondents said they don't feel that withholding information is a lie.
      • Weight is the topic most commonly fibbed about; nearly 70 percent of the respondents said their driver's license weight is not correct.
      • Why do women lie? For various reasons, according to this survey, such as to improve a situation or spare someone's feelings. Nearly 1 in 7 respondents, though, said she lies to keep herself out of trouble. When asked why they don't lie more often, nearly three quarters of the women said because "it's the wrong thing to do," though some admitted that it was because they were just too bad at it.

        When it comes to men lying, the survey respondents had their own notions about what was acceptable. The majority said it's OK for a man to lie to her about how she looks. (I suppose that's assuming it's a complimentary lie.) Nearly half said it's fine for him to lie about his attraction to other women, and 40 percent said ditto for her performance in bed. What shouldn't a man lie about? His feelings, particularly about love, said nearly all of the respondents. In fact, that lie was identified as the very worst lie a man could tell. One respondent elaborated that the I-love-you-completely lie hurts like hell when you find out "he has another family in another state and has been living two lives."

        Before you go repeating these statistics, though, remember that surveys can lie, too—especially when they are as small and unscientific as this one. What's more, one third of the respondents told BettyConfidential that they weren't completely honest with their answers. Hmm. How do I know they're not lying about lying? I'd like to know what you think. Do these results reflect what most women think about lying? Or is this sample of just 33 Web users misleading?