NEWARK — New Jersey men claim more frequent sexual activity than women in the state, according to a new poll, but that difference could be exaggerated because women are less likely to answer the question.
That reticence, and the difference in rates of sexual activity reported, largely evaporate among women under 50, the Monmouth University/New Jersey Monthly Poll released Wednesday found.
"The difference between men and women may be due to impression management. Due to perceived social norms, men tend to inflate their self-reported sexual experience, while women may tend to underreport," said Gary Lewandowski, a Monmouth University psychology professor who specializes in the study of interpersonal relationships.
The gender gap was widest among married respondents when asked if they had ever fantasized about a one-night stand. More than a quarter of the men said yes, compared with one in 14 women, the poll determined.
More men than women also complained they were not having sex as often as they wanted: 35 percent to 23 percent, the poll found.
Although the poll had not asked about sex before, the results were not unusual.
"Age-old images about sexual behavior continue to prevail in New Jersey," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "But the results on gender-based differences in sexual activity do raise an interesting question: If men are indeed having sex more often than women in New Jersey, are they going out of state to do it?"
Nearly 60 percent of those questioned said they had sex in the past year (68 percent of the men and half of the women). But nearly 30 percent of the women declined to answer, double the proportion of men.
Among those under 50, however, the gender gap narrowed: 74 percent of the men, and 67 percent of the women, said they had sex in the past year.
Among the 50-plus set, sexually active men outnumber sexually active women by a 2-to-1 margin.
Among those who had sex in the past year, 28 percent said they had sex several times a week (34 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women); 25 percent claimed weekly sex (28 percent of the men and 21 percent of the women); 11 percent said they had sex monthly (11 percent of the men and 13 percent of the women); and about 5 percent of both men and women said they had daily sex.
The telephone poll of 801 adults was conducted Sept. 27-30. It had a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.