Will & Grace
A new study has explained the phenomenon of straight women’s often close friendships with gay men.
It’s a dynamic that’s been seen in American television shows such as Modern Family, The Office, Sex & the City, Will & Grace, and other pop culture movies and television programs for years.
Many gay men can also attest to the friendships that they have with heterosexual women.
Unsurprisingly, psychology researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) say that it’s mainly because gay men and straight women don’t compete with each other in the dating world.
UTA psychology graduate student and study co-author Vivian Ta said: “It’s riskier to trust other straight women when mating competition is high. Unlike other women, gay men do not undermine women when they are seeking out mating partners. Gay men do not compete for the same men as straight women do.”
The study also affirmed that women place more trust in dating advice from a gay male friend than from heterosexual men because gay men have fewer ulterior mating motives.
“This line of research provides novel experimental evidence that there is more to the gay male-straight female friendship than just what we see on TV – certain social psychological processes are, indeed, driving these relationships in real life,” said Eric Russell, the paper’s lead author, a doctoral student, and graduate teaching assistant in the UTA Department of Psychology.
Dr. William Ickes from the UTA College of Science, co-author of the study and Russell’s mentor, explained that the research is timely and important because of the shift in public opinion in support of equal rights and acceptance of gay individuals in the USA.
“Eric’s research emphasises the benefits to straight women of having gay male friends, and it opens the door to a fuller exploration of the positive aspects of gay-straight relationships,” said Ickes
The research involved nearly 700 heterosexual female students at a major public university in the southwestern United States.
The study was published online in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior.