We had women read this news article and then indicate how much they would trust a straight woman or a gay man in various dating-related scenarios.
When women read the news article about the increased competition, their trust in gay men was amplified.
View the full list For years, friendships between straight women and gay men have been a subject of pop culture fascination.
Books, television shows and feature length films have all highlighted this unique relationship, noted for its closeness and depth.
About three years ago, I initially tested this theory in a series of experiments that have served as the foundation of my research program on gay-straight relationships.
In these experiments, straight female participants were shown fictitious Facebook profiles depicting either a straight woman, straight man or gay man.
As expected, the female subjects seemed to perceive the judgments coming from the gay man to be more sincere because they knew that he wouldn’t have any ulterior motives – whether that meant wooing the subject (which they might suspect of straight men) or competing for the same romantic partner (straight women).
For the final two studies, we wanted to figure out when women were most likely to befriend and place their trust in gay men.
I also recruited gay male participants, and had them complete the same task (with the gay men viewing Facebook profiles depicting a straight female, gay male or lesbian female).Eric Russell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.This time, however, I wanted to see if women would only trust gay men’s dating-related advice as opposed to other types of advice.It turns out straight women only trusted a gay man’s advice more than the same advice from, say, a straight man or another straight woman.To further examine why this might be the case, we had women imagine receiving information from either a straight woman, straight man, or a gay man about their physical appearance and the dateability of potential boyfriends.We then asked the women how sincere they felt the responses were.Specifically, I believe evolutionary psychology and human mating can help explain why relationships between straight women and gay men tend to flourish.At first glance, this explanation may seem quite counterintuitive.(After all, straight women and gay men don’t mate with one another.) However, this is precisely the reasoning behind my approach.Because gay men don’t mate with women – or compete with them for mates – women feel a certain level of comfort with gay men, and the process of forming a close friendship can occur relatively quickly.