The New York Times Explores “Bromosexuals,” Or Straight Men With Gay Friends

For years, culture has widely accepted, if not exalted, the gay man-straight woman friendship. Now, according to a report in the New York Times, a new friendship is bubbling on our cultural radar between gay men and – wait for it – straight men.

Labelled ‘bromosexual relationships,’ a play on the ubiquitous term bromance, the new moniker to seems to fit an era when an entire generation has not only shifted its views on homosexuality but has largely moved passed it.

Unthinkable even ten years ago, movies, television content and books are now warming to this dynamic in ever increasing numbers. From Scream Queens, where a gay Nick Jonas is widely accepted by his fraternity brothers, to The Andy Cohn Diaries, where the author writes humorously about bring his straight male friend to a Pride festival to the Shahs of Sunset that feature as its two protagonists one gay and one straight male, Americans of a certain age are ready to explore one of the few sexual frontiers left.

“With heterosexual male friends, sometimes a subject comes up that will require a particular allegiance to what guys are expected to say and do. That can feel blustery and false. It’s nice not to have to listen to a chorus of people who feel compelled to act the same way,” explains author Odie Lindsey whose latest collections of short stories, We Come to Our Senses, features several prominent gay characters.

Even-Nick-Jonas-loves-him

And if straight men are temporarily relieved of heterosexual braggadocio, gay men find something equally as rewarding: validation. “The intense fear of losing those masculine friendships we have had,” was what kept many gay men in the closet around their heterosexual friends, observes Vin Testa, 26, a math teacher in Washington, D.C., who is also an L.G.B.T. liaison for the district’s public schools.

But if a bond is forming – if this is becoming a ‘thing’ – it is not without its pitfalls, however superficial they may seem. For straight men it’s the envy that comes with our hook-up culture which has only been magnified with the advent of mobile apps. “Straight guys complain, ‘You can just meet a guy and go home and have sex,’” author David Toussaint says. “One hot straight guy I know complains, ‘With a girl, I have to take her out and put on all these airs, when all I want to do is sleep with her and move on.’”

For gay men, however, it’s the double standard on body shaming. “Straight guys can let themselves go and no one cares. Gay men are judging each other worse than women in terms of body shaming.”

Of course, as welcome as the news might be, there are still limits to this new dynamic. As 25-year-old Ben Moss explains, “I talk with straight guys about what surrounds the sex rather than what we’ve actually done.”