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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.
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.
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.
As expected, the female subjects seemed to perceive the judgments coming from the gay man to be more sincere because they knew that he wouldn’t have any ulterior motives – whether that meant wooing the subject (which they might suspect of straight men) or competing for the same romantic partner (straight women).
For the final two studies, we wanted to figure out when women were most likely to befriend and place their trust in gay men.
We then asked the women how sincere they felt the responses were.
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.
Other findings – combined with our own – show that there seems to be an extremely strong psychological underpinning for why women are so drawn to gay men.
For years, friendships between straight women and gay men have been a subject of pop culture fascination.
Books, television shows and feature length films have all highlighted this unique relationship, noted for its closeness and depth.