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THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Honest and unbiased relationship advice is a major reason why straight women and gay men often form close bonds, according to a new study.
"Friendships between straight women and gay men are free of hidden mating agendas," lead author Eric Russell, a visiting psychology researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a university news release. "They may be able to develop a deeper level of honesty because their relationship isn't complicated by sexual attraction or mating competition."
He and his colleagues presented 88 straight women and 58 gay men with a Facebook profile of a fictional person named Jordan. Other than Jordan's gender and sexual orientation, the profiles were identical.
The study participants were asked to imagine they were at a party with Jordan and that he/she gave them advice about romance. The participants were then asked how much they would trust this advice.
Straight women were more likely to trust the advice if they believed Jordan was a gay man rather than a straight man or woman. Gay men were more likely to trust the advice if they believed Jordan was a straight woman rather than a gay man or woman.
The study was published online in the February issue of the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
The researchers said straight women may view other women as potential competitors and believe that straight men may discourage relationships with other men and instead try to attract the women toward themselves. Gay men don't have these conflicted interests with straight women, and so can give unbiased advice, the researchers said.
-- Robert Preidt
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