Best Friends: Why Gay Men & Straight Women Have Strong Bonds

friends: male and female

A new study says without hidden mating agendas this combination holds a deep level of honesty.

One of my closest friends since way back in the eighth grade is gay, and growing up, the majority of my other close male friends were gay, as well. While our sexualities rarely came up unless we were discussing dating- or sex-related topics, I've sometimes wondered why so many of the men that I am closest to are gay, and I have often heard similar statements from other women, as well as several gay men who say that straight women make up a large percentage of their friends. So, why does this combination seem to work so well for so many people?

According to a recent study from the University of Texas and published in Evolutionary Psychology, there is evidence that the closeness felt between gay men and straight women is "rooted in the absence of deceptive mating motivations." Because they are "free of hidden mating agendas," says the study’s lead author Eric Russell, "they may be able to develop a deeper level of honesty because their relationship isn't complicated by sexual attraction or mating competition."

Within my group of high school friends, there was always a bit of competition between the females, both lesbian and straight. Being an extremely noncompetitive person (seriously, I am kind of the worst to play games with because I don't care about losing at all), this was frustrating to me because I think there should be so much more to friendship than who looks better or who is getting more attention at the party. These competitive feelings are often the result of living in a patriarchal world that pits females against one another. Nevertheless, that tension sucked, so having male friends who were not only noncompetitive but also not attracted to the same people felt appealing.

Rick Clemons, the "Coming Out Coach" and host of "The Coming Out Lounge," says that there's something that feels sincere about those who are gay or lesbian due to the nature of the world we live in. "I think most straight women trust gay men because they know gay men (and lesbians for that matter) have to fight so hard to trust themselves to be themselves that their is a kindred spirit sort of thing innately going on."

Additionally, when you're a female and have male friends — particularly during those awkward teenage years — there's often an implication that you're interested in a guy simply because you spend a lot of time with him. Even if you're not romantically interested, it's seen as "leading him on" if you want to be close as friends, and that can be very, very annoying. Keep Reading ...

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