Who do women trust for advice about guys? Guys…who like guys!Published 13 February, 2013
Corresponding author: Eric M. Russell
Austin, TX. Why do straight women and gay men form close relationships with one another? A new study suggests that one of the benefits in these relationships is trustworthy mating advice.
Women may have conflicts of interests with other women and straight men. Other women are potentially competitors for high quality mates, and straight men may discourage relationships with other men and steer women towards themselves. Each have incentives to be less than truthful and attempt to manipulate women’s choices.
Gay men have neither of these conflicts with straight women, so they may be uniquely positioned to provide mating-relevant advice and support that is not tainted with ulterior motives from sexual rivalry or sexual attraction.
Eric Russell of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues at Texas Christian University asked straight female college students whose advice they would trust more and who would be more helpful in helping them find a mate. Although there was no difference in estimated mate finding abilities, women saw a gay man’s mating advice to be more trustworthy than the same advice offered by a straight man or woman.
A second study found that this relationship was reciprocal, gay men saw a straight woman’s mating advice to be more trustworthy than the same advice offered by a lesbian woman or another gay man.
Although previous interview studies have confirmed that friendships between straight women and gay men are characterized by acceptance and comfort in the absence of sexual pressure, social stigmatization, or interpersonal anxiety, Russell notes that this is the first experimental study to provide empirical evidence that the emotional closeness shared by straight women and gay men is rooted in the absence of deceptive mating motivations.
“Friends with benefits, but without the sex: Straight women and gay men exchange trustworthy mating advice,” is published in Evolutionary Psychology and is available at:
Co-authors are Danielle J. DelPriore, Max E. Butterfield, and Sarah E. Hill of Texas Christian University.