Why do straight women and gay men form close relationships
with one another? A new psychology study from The University of Texas at Austin
suggests the glue that cements these unique relationships is honest, unbiased
The study, published online in the February issue of
Evolutionary Psychology, is the first to provide empirical evidence that the
emotional closeness shared by straight women and gay men is rooted in the
absence of deceptive mating motivations.
"Friendships between straight women and gay men are
free of hidden mating agendas," says Eric Russell, lead author of the
study and visiting psychology researcher at The University of Texas at Austin.
"They may be able to develop a deeper level of honesty because their
relationship isn't complicated by sexual attraction or mating
How the study was
As part of the study, Russell and his colleagues from Texas
Christian University presented 88 heterosexual women, and 58 homosexual men
with the Facebook profile of a person named Jordan.
The profiles were identical, except for Jordan's gender and
sexual orientation. During the time of the study, the respondents believed the
researchers were examining how online profiles influence friendships.
Participants were told to imagine they were at a party with Jordan,
and he/she gave them romance-related advice. They then assessed the degree to
which they would trust this advice.
According to the results, straight women perceived advice
offered by a gay man to be more trustworthy than advice offered by a heterosexual
man or woman.
Similarly, the gay male participants perceived a straight
woman's love advice to be more trustworthy than the same advice offered by a
homosexual man or woman.
The researchers theorise that women may have conflicts of
interests with other women and straight men. Other women are potential
competitors, and straight men may discourage relationships with other men and
steer women toward themselves. Gay men, however, don't have these conflicts
with straight women, so they may be uniquely positioned to provide
mating-relevant advice and support that is not tainted with ulterior motives
from sexual rivalry or sexual attraction.