Chat with straight men
We had women read this news article and then indicate how much they would trust a straight woman or a gay man in various dating-related scenarios.When women read the news article about the increased competition, their trust in gay men was amplified.
For the final two studies, we wanted to figure out when women were most likely to befriend and place their trust in gay men.In other words, it’s not like straight women totally trusted gay men on all matters.It really only had to do with one thing: dating and relationships.With heterosexual men (who, by definition, are sexually attracted to women), the process is longer – and potentially more fraught – because men may be grappling with their own sexual impulses.In other words, because gay men are attracted to their own gender, they’re a “safe bet” for women – at least, from a sociobiological standpoint.For instance, a recent study in the revealed that straight women tend to hire gay men over other heterosexual individuals because they perceive gay men to be more competent and warmer.
Furthermore, marketing researchers have suggested that straight women prefer to work with gay male sales associates over others in consumer retail settings.
We predicted that this would most often occur in highly competitive dating environments, where a trustworthy source like a gay friend would be valued by women jockeying with one another for a boyfriend.
To test this, we created a fake news article that detailed extremely skewed sex ratios, indicating that women in college were competing over a very small pool of men.
About three years ago, I initially tested this theory in a series of experiments that have served as the foundation of my research program on gay-straight relationships.
In these experiments, straight female participants were shown fictitious Facebook profiles depicting either a straight woman, straight man or gay man.
However, the strong trust that women initially form with gay men can serve as a primer; eventually, this trust could extend to other areas, with the friendship blossoming over time.