Study: 93 Percent Of Straight College Dudes Enjoy “Cuddling, Spooning” With Their Bros

tumblr_l2i1qlkPxR1qc1czyo1_500Turns out straight male jocks actually are getting as close in the locker room as you had hoped.

According to a recent study out of the UK, nearly 93 percent of male athletes surveyed said they’ve enjoyed cuddling and/or spooning with male friends on a regular basis and — better yet — don’t understand why American bros don’t cuddle more often. Of the 40 participants surveyed, 39 also revealed that they’ve shared a bed with another man since starting college.

Published in March in the journal of Men and Masculinities, the study observed the social habits of 18 and 19-year-old white, middle-income college students enrolled in study co-author Eric Anderson’s sociology of sports class at the University of Winchester. Along with co-author Mark McCormack of Durham University, Anderson concludes that homosocial behaviors becoming more acceptable among heterosexual friends is a sign of the times.

Or, more specifically, “the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture.”

“We knew they [straight males] were hugging and cuddling, and we wanted to understand this phenomenon in more detail,” McCormack said in an interview with HuffPo. “They don’t realize this is something that older men would find shocking; It’s older generations that think men cuddling is taboo,” he said.

He continues:

“The social taboo against cuddling has been because for two men to get close was traditionally seen as ‘gay’. Men wanted to avoid being the target of homophobic abuse, so they would be macho to distance themselves from any perception of homosexuality. But there is a generational effect here: Older men who grew up in the 1980s may still feel the need to present a very straight version of themselves, but more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in contemporary culture mean that younger men are simply less concerned about how other people view their behaviors.”

As a result, it seems modern teenagers aren’t too concerned with “defending” their heterosexuality. And who in their right mind would ever reject a bro cuddle?

Students and test subjects Jarrett and Max explain:

Without being prompted, Jarrett repeatedly stressed the amount of cuddling he and his mates engage in. ‘‘We’re always cuddling, my lot. We’re all comfortable with each other.’’ Others highlight that cuddling occurs during the day and will often be described as ‘‘a quick cuddle.’’ John praised these short interactions, saying ‘‘I love a quick cuddle, just so you remember your friends are about and are there for you.’’

It’s worth noting that these are European teenagers — men from a continent where rugby players use making out as a celebratory gesture. It might take some time for ‘bro cuddles’ to catch on here in the States, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re totally ready for this to happen.

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  • Verlaine

    You can put an end to that really quick! Just tell your “bro” that you think you might be gay, and that you want to be “his special friend.’ Bye, bye buddy!

  • DB75

    Damnit, I knew I should have gone to college.

  • DB75

    @Verlaine: not if you give him a few beers, first….just sayin. :-)

  • Mezaien

    @Verlaine: Verlaine, the last time I told a man I am gay! he didn`t want to get out of my bed.

  • hotshot70

    I think part of it is being away from family, and you want to find someone you can trust. the cuddling is an ultimate trust, especially with “straight” guys. It shows that are comfortable with you.

  • Billy Budd

    The next generations will become more and more fluid with their sexualities. It is inevitable and unavoidable. We are naturally bisexuals. Please watch the videos of BONOBO MONKEYS having sex on youtube. They know how to have fun. All day long with all kinds of partners. That is mother nature’s call.

  • Billy Budd

    calling, I mean.

  • Blackceo

    Ahhhh I knew there had to be something to this study when I just read the headline. Its a UK study. Now it makes sense. At first I thought that number was extraordinarily high and if it was conducted in the US I wouldn’t have believed it, but European men don’t have the hangups American men do about sexuality. My European heterosexual friends are very comfortable being touchy feely with me and its non sexual.

  • Rusty

    Italian boys do the same thing and don’t have to be jocks or away from home..kissing and hugging [email protected], lol


    Had I gotten that kind of intimacy from other boys I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t have been content to leave it at that and not turn it sexual. Fuck, that sounds like some “broken manhood” reparative therapy talk shit. Guess I’m more fucked up than I thought. As If that was possible. Oh well.

  • ouragannyc

    the sample consists ONLY of 40 young men.
    Not enough for the study to be credible.

  • Blackceo


    Yes, definitely some weaknesses given the sample size, but out of 40 I still find that to be a high percentage.

  • Desert Boy

    Boner. Immediate boner. What’s hotter than het college dudes cuddling?

  • toberlin

    As far as I know this is representive for Europe .And for sure for my (baskeball and soccerplaying ) friends.Its normal 4 people fall asleep in one big bed together after long playstation session or just sleep together in one bed as friends.Its not a sexual thing.Its a puppies in a basket thing.COSY?

  • coltonblack

    Cute article. More study participants needed though. 600 is a good baseline number:) But hey – the story here was fun and made ya comment :)

  • tdx3fan

    @Verlaine: Actually, since coming out, I have had a few straight male friends that were very willing to talk openly about their own sexuality and how it is on a curve for them. There are plenty of straight men that have gay men bromances.

  • tdx3fan

    @Billy Budd: I tend to agree with you. Human sexuality is on a spectrum, and imo no one is truly straight or truly gay. Its a fun activity that allows us to express our feelings for each other. Its only natural that we would want to express those feelings for both certain males and certain females.

  • tdx3fan

    @Blackceo: USA men still do this, they just don’t talk about it. USA men are also losing the same hang ups about sexual identity, they are just not as open about that fact except in very interesting circumstances.

  • tdx3fan

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: You are who you are and you feel how you feel. Don’t feel pressure to confine to anyone’s labels for you (straight or gay). I also wouldn’t call it reparative therapy unless you believe everyone should follow suit.

  • Cagnazzo82

    This, much like straight men wearing speedos on the beach, will never, ever catch on in America. And will never become a thing.

    The culture is way too different.

  • Sexylegal13

    As a military kid Europe is so far ahead of us. So what if they cuddle. It is about trust. Kissing another guy on the lips to celebrate is part of the culture. Sometimes the US is so prudish, yet more of our kids are sexually active at younger ages because parents are scared to talk to their kids about sex… SMH. on and @Cagnazzo82 Speedos on the beach are catching on. Just happy the right ppl are wearing them.

  • jazz4108

    I wonder what percentage of these 40 guys end up having a little jerk off session. I imagine jerking off your mate is not that big of a deal either. I should of studied abroad. I really hope this expands over to the US as being a bully and homophobic is nothing but hate and this is about love even if its not sexual.

  • lurker

    Interesting article. And I do agree that homosocial behaviour has become more acceptable among younger heterosexual males (yay!), but “cuddle” in the UK has a different connotation than in the US. Its more of a quick (upright hug) rather than a horizontal spooning. The photograph and headline make the act of cuddling (from a UK standpoint) appear to be much more homosocial than it actually is.

  • toberlin

    I do not understand why it always have to be a prudish or a sex thing ?Just forget about the Speedos/Bikinis and jump with your friends in the pool…It’s FUN?

  • tjr101

    These young men cuddle because they trust each other and know it will not go any further. Not everything has a sexual connotation to it. Plus, a sample size of 40 is way to small to draw any conclusions. If they sampled college kids in the London area yea it’s possible to get 93 percent.

  • Sebizzar

    Is it sad that the main reason I want to go to college is to experience something like this lol? But then again this isn’t the UK so I’m out of luck.

  • flexdoc

    @Verlaine: clearly you are what is wrong with the world.

  • jvp3299

    For those who aren’t with familiar with research standards, for a study like this to me a true and valid research study, it must have thousands of guys in the study. Also, it depends on what groups the guys come from. If the guys in this study were all college guys, or bisexual, or rugby players, etc., the study is invalid. So, both of these make this “research” no more reliable or valid than a mere guess or mere chance. It is bogus. Why does Queerty print this kind of bullshit? It is just to get gay guys who like straight guys excited.

  • Faggot

    @Rusty: Ma che cazzo dici? Non farei mai una cosa del genere con un mio amico etero! Sei matta?! In che Italia vivi?

  • Pax

    Only Americans go to college. The rest of the English speaking world goes to university. So, the title of this article is misleading. I doubt my American brothers would cuddle as seen in the photos found in the article.

    As a university student in the UK, I can assure you that same sex cuddling is not rampant, although it does go on with opposite sex friends. Spooning with your mate is definitely taboo. I wish this weren’t the case.

    This whole article sounds like a gay man’s fantasy and is complete rubbish.

  • Verlaine

    @flexdoc: Nice to read that from you, here, at this “accepting” homo-oriented web site. All my life I had to hear that from homophobes and twinks who didn’t like me for one reason or another, and now, I have to read it from you. Whatever.

  • Daveliam


    Agreed. It’s a convenience sample. It’s not representational. It’s observational, which is fine, but it means that the generalizability is severely limited. And, to top it off, it’s only got 40 participants. I haven’t read the article yet, but the abstract seems to indicate that it’s a qualitative study, so perhaps you don’t need a larger sample size, but again, it just means that there is almost no generalizability and the most that the researchers can do is begin a dialogue about changing masculinities in a theoretical sense, beyond the 37 guys in the study.

  • michael mellor

    American men are too divided along straight/gay lines. They are also beholden to feminists and their anti-male ways. Men touch each other more when feminism is reduced.

  • nathngamsiri

    I love how this “study” is allowed to be called a study. Even worse was that it was published.

    Finding that 37 people out of 40 who are “students enrolled in study co-author Eric Anderson’s sociology of sports class at the University of Winchester”…is shooting fish in a barrel.

  • etseq

    Be wary of anything published by Eric Anderson who is infamous for producing these “studies” which are glorified press releases. His studies are always 1) qualitative (or quantitative with extremely small sample sizes and ridiculous sample selection techniques), 2) hindered Samples consisting of male college kids that take his sexuality course, and 3) rely on queer theory to draw extreme conclusions that barely has any connection to the data. All of this is designed to make for media click bait and headlines. His work is borderline unethical but since his results are always positive, no one really challenges him but he has to publish in mediocre journals because he reputation is so bad.
    I feel bad criticizing him sometimes because his goals are worthy – he really wants to decrease homophobia but publishing unreliable studies doesn’t do anything to change reality.

  • stranded

    The kissing post a few days ago, i had my doubts, but spooning. Yeah i have experience with this. Mostly in high school and college; you get drunk, pass out next to each other and just end up snuggling a bit. When you finally wake up, nobody talks about it or feels weird about it. just something that happens.

  • toberlin

    This is for sure not a scientific but as far as I know representitive for a lot of students( also already in school) in europe.I did flat sharing with 3 of male friends.There was no room left to “park” our friends overnight and there were often more people than beds…this seem to be really a THING in the US.Its something you even not think about here

  • ingyaom

    “Uni Blokes” would be more like it, considering this is the U.K.

  • Black Pegasus

    If this study it to be believed, it makes one consider just how incredibly insecure American men are when compared to their U.K counterparts.

  • yupwhatever

    @Desert Boy
    “Boner. Immediate boner. What’s hotter than het college dudes cuddling?”

    About a million other things. Mainly gay college dudes having sex.

  • tham

    93% of a survey of 40 people….

    PLEASE stop with your science! Stick to what Queerty knows best, judging cynically the half naked selfies famous actors put on Instagram…

  • mz.sam

    In retrospect to the initial editorial question, European culture in general have had a sexual history and sensibility of diversity, whether accepted or not, running deep into the centuries compared to American Judeo-Christian morality since early immigrants sought the New World with their God-fearing religious freedom of expression. This residual seismic prejudice is still pervasive and reflected on modern American male society. ‘Muricans’ still have a long way to go.

  • midraf

    @Desert Boy:
    Hell ya!

  • DK

    @Black Pegasus: 1. Americans don’t consider it: we don’t give a crap about the UK. This “study” actually makes one consider why Queerty is not a reputable source for news, since it asks no critical questions and instead tries to extrapolate the results of this study incorrectly.

    2. The study is bogus. 40 participants in one class at one school in one country? That’s called a self-selecting sample: white males who take sociology classes at this school may be already predisposed to this sort of thing. A valid sample would include males in different classes and at different colleges.

    3. Cuddling doesn’t mean the same thing in the UK that is does in the US.

    Completely misleading article, but par the course for Queerty who I guess thinks its reader base is too stupid to do the fact-checking that they will not.

  • wpewen

    Hope on guys. Here’s a 55 yr old gay man who sees photos of men who sure “look” gay to me. Never wanted to get it on with straight men in college in the dorms. Sure, sexuality if fluid but please don’t confuse male/male affection specifically with male/male sex.

  • wpewen

    Bingo. This is propaganda from hopeful gay guys. Try leaving your dorm buddies alone and taking affection from other males for what it is. At 55 yrs. old I’ve experienced both sexual stuff from men and non sexual affection. Better to keep your dick in your pants and just be friends.

  • MiralParis

    I had to stop reading at “Older men who grew up in the 1980s…”

  • UpInTheGallery

    @michael mellor: Reducing feminism does not reduce homophobia. Search Google Scholar for “homophobia and misogyny”. Limit the articles to those from 2010 to the present to find the most recent relevant literature.

  • toberlin

    UpInTheGalley:)people who belive less feminism would help to reduce homophobia have no Google

  • jazz4108

    I love the picture and the idea but the more I look at it I think this might have been photoshopped as there are a few discrepancies in the hands.

  • ChuckGG

    Clearly, it’s time for me to head to London for some post-grad work!

    Actually, back in my 20’s I had a straight roommate who knew I was gay and he loved to cuddle on the sofa. I think there were some “daddy issues” come to think of it. Well, no complaints from me!

  • kevzin

    I do this all the time with my str8 guy friends just because I’m gay does not mean I want to have sex with them

  • esemple

    Can I spoon?

  • Curtispsf

    PROJECTION…the author of this article is totally full of it. I teach guitar to a very gay friendly but straight British guy. Checked with him. A cuddle is JUST a hug…nothing more.

    Plus, I’ve slept with “straight” guys. What’s the big deal ?

  • ChuckGG

    @ouragannyc: Is there a website where I can volunteer for a new, improved study? After all, anything to help the advancement of science, of course.

  • ChuckGG

    @MiralParis: I know! I had just finished putting new tennis balls on my walker when I read this. Jeesh! I remember being a young lad at the first Reagan inaugural. Was it THAT long ago?

  • Maude

    When I was in high school and college, if any one of my ‘mates’ were to spoon me from front or back, I’d immediately get an erection.
    That’s a fact. My dick was in constant readiness! and so was/is everybody eleses at that age.

  • mgmchicago

    Had several drunken cuddle/spooning/sleepovers with straight guys in my 20s/college.
    I was openly gay, so they knew who they were spooning with. Sex may have been an option, but since they were straight friends and drunk I never took advantage of them, aside from throwing my arm over them and snuggling in close. Suspect that some/many/all of them were somewhere on the bisexual scale, but never knew any men who they actually had sex with. We remained close friends afterwards, it was never an issue later on.

  • Niall

    I thank whatever deity for the ability to read and reason, or I might have actually taken that survey seriously.

  • toberlin

    mgmchicago:There are less Things who make a straight man more unattractive than homophobia…good to hear that US Boys cuddle too

  • Mike M

    I am a 7th grade teacher in NYC Public Schools. While walking to a field trip with my class, one of my boys proceeded to casually hold hands while walking for a little bit with every person in the class, boy or girl, it didn’t matter. It made my day to see that everyone was comfortable with it. None of the boys “freaked out”. They went along with it happily.

  • Black Swan

    If the state of gay porn is any indication then I know exactly what kind of “straight people” you mean.

  • Brian Crim

    And because unlike the ignorant little boys disguised as men, they’re secure with their sexuality and don’t really care what people think about them because at the end of the day can’t nobody live your life but YOU!! *DROPS MIC* Lol

  • brockman

    A survey pool of “40 respondents”…?

    I’d suggest increasing the pool size to get a truer picture…

  • Kevin Wotipka

    To understand this behavior one need look no further than one’s pets. They sleep together all the time. Male cats, female cats, cats and dogs, oh my. And let’s not even get started with wolf pack behavior. The only reason humanity fell out of this easy companionship with each other is that we started overthinking and feeling guilty about, well, everything.

  • Dannypou

    I live in Orlando, Fl and I live in Arbours Apartment, by U.C.F and I can tell assy how many college student, ” stray ” do more than that, with out even think about it, and I’m taking the full play. we me and my other friend meet in page.

  • batesnight

    I love how this alleged medical expert says they wanted to understand this phenomenon. They’re not having sex and sticking it in. They’re just cuddling. It’s harmless.

  • phallictomato

    I think a sample size of 40 is pretty small to be honest :-/ and I probably wouldn’t be able to contain my excitement if I spooned with a hot straight guy, lol. What I’d like to know though is how all these straight guys are perfectly comfortable spooning other guys – I don’t know many guys that would do that, or at least admit it, and how would a conversation would like that go? “Hey man, do you want to spoon?”. Not sure it would be that easy :-/ one can only dream.

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