Myths of Sex and Gender

Jezebel has a nice summary of recent research undermining popular myths. (Thanks to reader T for the link.) Here’s the abstract from the paper discussed:

Many researchers have elucidated large, well-established, and reliable gender differences in sexuality, but relatively few have empirically examined conditions under which these differences can be eliminated. This article investigates some established sexuality gender differences in greater depth. We demonstrate how creative theoretical and empirical approaches may shed light on prevalent misconceptions concerning sex-related gender differences.

And here’s a sample, on the myth that men have more sexual partners than women:

Men also tend to claim they’ve had more actual sex partners, on average, than women. To test this further, scientists hooked men and women up to a polygraph — it was actually fake, but subjects believed it worked. Conley et al write, “When participants believed that their true sexual history could be revealed by the polygraph, gender differences in reported sexual partners disappeared.” So people may adjust their “number” up or down to conform with social expectations — but make them think they have to tell the truth, and the numbers even out.

The original paper is here.

4 thoughts on “Myths of Sex and Gender

  1. “The bottom line is this: When putative sexual stereotypes are empirically fallacious, efforts to correct these misperceptions should be encouraged, welcomed, and promoted by psychological scientists. However, deeming sex differences to be categorically untrue when they are actually empirically well-supported can have deleterious outcomes for science, society, and public health.”

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