It’s something we’ve always known—straight women love gay men. We’ve seen it all over the tv, on shows like Will and Grace, Sex And The City, and Girls, as well as in the movies, such as My Best Friend’s Wedding. But now researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) are looking into exactly why so many straight women prefer befriending gay men and why these relationships are so meaningful.
The study found that women have an innate feeling that heterosexual men have ulterior motives and would not give them sincere advice in dating or relationships. They felt the men could be trying to date them or encourage a sexual encounter.
Additionally, women found an intense competitiveness with other women is certain social settings, such as college campuses where there were more women than men. Since the women felt that they were not competing with the gay men for the same partners, they were also more willing to listen to their advice on fashion and dating than even other women.
Vivian Ta, a co-author of the study, said the participants found it “riskier to trust other straight women when mating competition is high.”
The study did find, however, that women valued the advice of heterosexual people on other more neutral topics, such as career advice.
The paper’s lead author, Eric Russell, believes these findings are important. “This line of research provides novel experimental evidence that there is more to the gay male-straight female friendships than just what we see on TV. Certain social psychological processes are, indeed, driving these relationships in real life.”
Dr. William Ickles of the University of Texas, another co-author of the study and Russell’s mentor believes: “These studies are both timely and important because of the recent seismic shift in public opinion in support of equal rights and acceptance of gay individuals.”
The research was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.