Dating & Relationships

Straight Men’s Same-Sex Friendships Are Surprisingly Intimate

January 8, 2018 by Justin Lehmiller

One of the most common stereotypes about straight men’s same-sex friendships is that they’re lacking in emotional depth. Their friendships are seen as revolving around shared activities like watching football or going hunting and fishing—not sitting around and talking about their feelings. Though extremely popular, a new study suggests that this characterization is inaccurate, at least among younger guys today.

This study is the subject of my latest column over at Playboy. In this research, 30 heterosexual male college students in England participated in an interview in which they were asked to compare their “bromances” (i.e., their closest same-sex friendships) to their romantic relationships.

The key finding from this study was the men’s bromances bore no resemblance to the aforementioned stereotype about male same-sex friendships. Rather than being devoid of emotion, bromances were described as being at least as intimate, if not more so than their romantic relationships. In fact, the men who participated overwhelmingly expressed a preference to share their secrets and personal concerns with their friends over their romantic partners.

In addition to this high level of emotional intimacy, there was a surprisingly large amount of physical intimacy present in men’s bromances, too, from cuddling to kissing to hugging—however, to be clear, this intimacy was not sexual in nature.

To learn more about this research, including why young men said they preferred to share intimate matters with their friends, check out the full article here.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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