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.
Not only were women more apt to trust gay men under this condition, but we also found that they became more willing to make gay male friends.
The downside is that if a straight woman values her gay male friends only for dating advice, the relationship could become quite superficial (see Chris Riotta’s essay “I’m Gay, Not Your Accessory”).
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.
(After all, straight women and gay men don’t mate with one another.) However, this is precisely the reasoning behind my approach.
Because gay men don’t mate with women – or compete with them for mates – women feel a certain level of comfort with gay men, and the process of forming a close friendship can occur relatively quickly.
The female participants were then asked how likely they would be to trust the individual’s dating advice.
I also recruited gay male participants, and had them complete the same task (with the gay men viewing Facebook profiles depicting a straight female, gay male or lesbian female).
Specifically, I believe evolutionary psychology and human mating can help explain why relationships between straight women and gay men tend to flourish.
At first glance, this explanation may seem quite counterintuitive.
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.