A new paper in the journal Men and Masculinities suggests that 93 percent of straight young British men have spooned with another man in bed, and 98 percent have admitted to sharing a bed with a guy.
British sociologists Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester and Mark McCormack of Durham University, investigated young British men’s views on the boundaries of same-sex friendships by interviewing 40 straight male undergraduate students, recruited from Anderson’s sociology of sports class.
According to the NewRepublic:
Two students, Jarrett and Max, explain just how casual their attitude toward cuddling with other men is:
Max then described how he and his friends would nurse their hangovers together:
It’s hard to define a norm when it comes to “homosociality”—the word sociologists use for intimate same-sex behavior that is not romantic. American psychiatrist Fritz Klein, write Anderson and McCormack, believed that straight guys avoid physical intimacy with other men because of “a myth that such intimacies are inspired by sexual desire and are thus precursors to sexual intimacy.” Sociologist David Plummer also thought homophobia was responsible for the taboo on same-sex touching: “Homoeroticism is … excised from same-sex interactions through homophobic stigma, leaving little but physical violence and particular ritualized sporting activities as outlets for male same-sex touch.”
Of course, a sample of 40 students can’t really prove anything, especially when that sample consists entirely of white 18- and 19-year-olds, most of whom identify as middle-class. And especially when there’s no cross-cultural comparison. Got that, sociologists? We need more research. These are pressing questions.