For a long time, friendships between gay men and straight men – what some now call “bromosexual” friendships – were uncommon. Homophobia was likely one reason; another was that straight men probably assumed didn’t they have much in common with gay men.
But lately, “bromosexual” friendships have started to receive more attention, acceptance and interest. They’re being explored and depicted in movies, books and blogs. In October, The New York Times even devoted an article in their Style section to “The Rise of the ‘Bromosexual’ Friendship.”
This sort of normalization is good news. But social scientists still haven’t studied the dynamics of these friendships: why they develop and how they’re maintained.
We’re part of a team of community, evolutionary and social psychologists that has recently begun a research program with the goal of studying this very topic. Specifically, we’re interested in looking at the reasons gay men and straight men become friends (or remain friends after the gay friend comes out). We currently have a survey investigation underway that explores some of the positive outcomes of “bromosexual” friendships, including our theory that gay men and straight men can be optimal wing men for one another.