We knew this all along?
Women are said to have friendlier and more intimate interactions with gay men than straight men after learning of their sexual orientation.
This is according “Women Interact More Comfortably and Intimately With Gay Men—But Not Straight Men—After Learning Their Sexual Orientation“, co-authored by William Ickes and Vivian P. Ta and published in the journal Psychological Science.
According to the research, women are less comfortable interacting with straight men because they worry that their friendliness could be misinterpreted as a sign of sexual interest.
Prior to this, there were already researches that suggested that the development of close, opposite-sex friendships is frequently impeded by men’s (often one-sided) sexual attraction to women.
The current research involved two studies that tested the hypothesis that women engage in more comfortable and intimate interactions with a gay (but not a straight) man immediately after discovering his sexual orientation.
In these two studies, female participants engaged in imagined or actual initial interactions with either a straight man or a gay man.
Study 1 (involving 153 heterosexual college females) showed that after the man’s sexual orientation was revealed, women (particularly attractive ones) who were paired with a gay man reported greater anticipated comfort, which was mediated by their reduced worry about his sexual intentions.
Study 2 (involving 66 heterosexual women), meanwhile, showed that once women discovered that they were interacting with a gay man, they displayed more intimate engagement behaviors with him.
According to the researchers, “these findings reveal how, and why, close relationships often form quickly between women and gay men.” These also suggest that “straight women approach friendships with gay men in a very open and relaxed fashion, which is not usually see in interactions between opposite-sex individuals.”