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Friendships of Gay Men, Straight Women Examined in UT Study

While it is no secret gay men and straight women get along and form close friendships, a new study from the University of Texas has looked into why that might be.

Eric Russell, the lead author on the study called "Friends with Benefits, but Without the Sex: Straight Women and Gay Men Exchange Trustworthy Mating Advice", said the study found a possible source of straight women and gay men's friendship is their trust in each other's unbiased relationship and mating advice.

Russell, a visiting student researcher at UT, partnered with his colleagues from Texas Christian Universityto conduct the study. He said he approached the study with a hypothesis that this might be the case. Previous research has shown there is mating competition between heterosexual women and sexual tension between heterosexual women and men.

"We predicted that the absence of sexual pressure and mating competition would be in the relationship between straight women and gay men," Russell said.

Russell said they conducted the study by presenting straight women and gay men with a scenario in which they were being accompanied to a party by someone their close friend recommended. They were presented information on this person through a fake Facebook profile. Participants in the study were asked how likely they were to listen to this person's advice on what to wear, what guys to pursue, etc.

"What we found was that straight women were much more likely to trust a gay male's opinion on mating advice then any other straight woman or another straight man," Russell said. "And then we found the exact reciprocal effects. We recruited gay men, and they in fact trusted a straight woman's mating advice more than another gay man or lesbian woman."

Eighty-eight heterosexual women and 58 homosexual men participated in the study.

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