A study of straight male student athletes has discovered that most of them apparently love to cuddle and spoon their mates.
After conducting in-depth interviews with a group of British university-age male athletes, the researchers found that a whopping 98 percent have shared a bed with another guy.
And 93 percent revealed that they had spooned or cuddled with another man.
The authors of Heteromasculinity and Homosocial Tactility among Student-athletes, published by the Men and Masculinities journal, aimed to examine the “prevalence of homosocial tactility and the contemporary status and meaning of heteromasculinity among British male youth.”
Homosocial relationships are defined as same-sex relationships that are not of a romantic or sexual nature – or what today is commonly called a “bromance” when it comes to male friends.
One of the students interviewed explained: “I feel comfortable with Connor and we spend a lot of time together. I happily rest my head on Connor’s shoulder when lying on the couch or hold him in bed. But he’s not the only one. The way I see it, is that we are all very good and close mates. We have a bromance where we are very comfortable around each other.”
While the study is unlikely to be comprehensive or universal – it’s based on interviews with only 40, white, mainly middle-class British students – it does suggest that heterosexual men, in the UK at least, are becoming more comfortable with expressing affection and closeness with each other.
Study co-author Mark McCormack, of Durham University, told Huffington Post that this phenomenon appears to be linked to a decrease in homophobia in society.
“They [the student athletes] don’t realise this is something that older men would find shocking. It’s older generations that think men cuddling is taboo,” McCormack said.
“Older men who grew up in the 1980s may still feel the need to present a very straight version of themselves, but more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in contemporary culture mean that younger men are simply less concerned about how other people view their behaviours,” he commented.