A fascinating new study titled The Bromance: Undergraduate Male Friendships and the Expansion of Contemporary Homosocial Boundaries pulls back the covers on just what straight dudes, particularly athletes, in bromances say and do with one another.
The study was just published in Sex Roles: A Journal of Research and is based on a series of in-depth interviews with 30 British undergraduate sports students.
Researchers set out to answer three questions: Do bromances exist in real life? What do they look like? And why should we care?
Related: The Art Of The Bromance, As Told Through Homoerotic Modern Dance
“We wanted to understand what a bromance was, why men have them and how they form,”With sports previously being a hyper-masculine environment, and universities being the first time many people have independence, sports students are a good indicator of future gender attitudes and their transformation.”
For the study, researchers defined “bromance” as “a highly close and intimate friendship, where both parties are emotionally invested in each other’s well-being.”
Participants suggested, for example, that a bromantic friend was “someone who is literally there for you all the time” and “will always be there to back you up if you need it”. A bromance is between friends whose mutual support is perceived as limitless and unwavering. All of the participants said they had at least one relationship they would class as a bromance.
So what did they learn?
First, guys involved in bromances reported “higher levels of emotional disclosure,” especially when it came to more intimate topics like, say, sex.
“These men say that ‘there are no boundaries’ and ‘nothing is off limits’,” White explains. “They proclaim their love for each other, they share secrets and even discuss health anxieties. Whereas men will often exaggerate the number of sexual encounters they’ve experienced in regular conversation, there is no need for such inflated claims in bromances.”
Related: More and more straight guys are giving up “bro jobs” and engaging in “dude sex”
The men also reported engaging in “non-sexual physical intimacy,” such as kissing, cuddling, and spooning.
“All but one of the men interviewed engaged in cuddling and spooning their bromances, and most had kissed their bromances,” White says. “They said things like: ‘You can lie in bed with your bromance, have a cuddle and just talk.'”
Just as men have traditionally bonded over common interests, whether that be sport, cars or other traditionally masculine pursuits, shared interests were also seen as a key characteristic of a bromantic friendship, especially in the formation phases. These men said things like “You have to have extremely similar interests and it has to build from that” and “When two boys meet and they get on well and have similar interests. They bounce off one another … they will be similar in personality.” They described the bromance as being a limitless same-sex friendship that is characterized by shared interests, physical tactility and emotional intimacy.
So what does this all mean exactly?
Well, aside from answering their initial question (“Do bromances exist?” They do!), researchers concluded that traditional notions of masculinity are on the decline, and that’s a good thing.
“Masculinity is no longer this debilitating and deadly curse that forces young men to act in a particularly toxic manner,” White writes, “and, as such, these emotionally open and loving bromances are blossoming.”
Related: Has Gay Men’s Obsession With ‘Straight’ Guys Gone Too Far?
h/t: The Conversation
What you have described here….is….A BOYFRIEND! OMG! lol
It’s called a friendship. I am gay and have friendship like this with two straight married with children (not that that makes any difference as my husband was married and has a kid I know that). I simply mean that it is just a friendship. Through the years both have expressed more affection to me. There is no desire on my end to sleep with either of them. When we greet each other or say goodbye there is no handshakes just hugs and kisses on the cheek (which means nothing as Hispanic and European men great each other that way). There is nothing sexual about our relationships. They come to me for advice about their wives. I was friends with the wives first and they have said how much they have changed after developing friendships with me. I have heard way more intimate things that I care to know. But that is what friendships are about.
I personally think this is FABULOUS. The straight guys simply CANNOT be homophobic. They simply can’t. This new generation will gradually change things for the better.
*THESE Straight guys
Bromances have always existed. The word has simply caught up with a pre-existing reality.
Maybe bromances are becoming more upfront and common. It could be a sign of male rebellion against modern feminism and the unfair privileges it has given to women.
Being that the test subjects were British (who conspicuously lack in testosterone and tooth enamel), I’d interpret this “study” with a boulder-sized grain of salt.
As opposed to Russia which is where your loyalty lies right?
As opposed to Russians like you who lost all of your teeth to cheap vodka?
Actually, my heredity is approximately 40% British/Irish, so my comment was somewhat self-deprecating . . . but I digress.
The fact that you guys are so obsessed with Russia now, as opposed to when Obama was offering them shady promises, is so beyond funny. Not funny as in “ha-ha,” mind you, but funny as in “yikes.”
good to see, every man that hugs, and is affectionate with other men doesn’t mean they are gay. I wish I had a close male confidant to confide in.
I am a gay guy and have a lovely friendship with my straight friend. He is very tactile, we hug and kiss too ( non sexual) and it means a lot to me. He is very secure and confident in his sexuality and the result is an open and honest friendship. I have a great deal of respect for him and admire his attitudes. Our other straight male friends are all similar too. I am older than them and this kind of male to male friendship didn’t occur back then, so its refreshing and positive to see. Undue pressure on young males to be tough and masculine causes endless problems later on so the new generation of guys are heading in the right way. To being happy and confident, which is what we all strive for I think.
Comments are closed.