Rise of the ‘bro­mance’ threat­ens men’s re­la­tion­ships with women

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Sarah Knapton SCI­ENCE ED­I­TOR

THE in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the “bro­mance” could threaten het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships, say aca­demics, after dis­cov­er­ing that many men find close male friend­ships more emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing than re­la­tion­ships with women.

In­tense male friend­ships have grown more ac­cept­able in re­cent decades as at­ti­tudes to­wards ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity changed, mean­ing men no longer fear show­ing af­fec­tion to­wards each other.

But re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Winch­ester warned that bro­mances, cou­pled with the ease at which men can now en­gage in ca­sual sex, are en­dan­ger­ing re­la­tion­ships with women.

After sur­vey­ing 30 un­der­grad­u­ates, they dis­cov­ered that 28 would rather talk about emo­tional is­sues with their male friends than their girl­friends. The ma­jor­ity also said it was eas­ier to re­solve con­flicts with men, and ad­mit­ted they kept se­crets from part­ners which they shared with male friends. Dr Ste­fan Robin­son of the Univer­sity of Winch­ester said the re­sults, pub­lished in the jour­nal Men and Mas­culin­i­ties. were “sig­nif­i­cant and wor­ry­ing” for women. “These men cher­ish their close male friends, so much so that they may even pro­vide a chal­lenge to the or­tho­doxy of tra­di­tional het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships,”

‘Two men can live to­gether and ex­pe­ri­ence all the ben­e­fits of a tra­di­tional het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ship’

he said. “Be­cause het­ero­sex­ual sex is now achiev­able with­out the need for ro­man­tic com­mit­ment, the bro­mance could in­creas­ingly be­come recog­nised as a gen­uine life­style re­la­tion­ship, whereby two men can live to­gether and ex­pe­ri­ence all the ben­e­fits of a tra­di­tional het­ero­sex­ual re­la­tion­ship.”

All the men in­volved in the study had had “bro­man­tic” friends who they lived with, and had known for at least 18 months.

Of the 30 men in­ter­viewed, 29 said that they had ex­pe­ri­enced cud­dling with a same-sex friend, and many ad­mit­ted they of­ten slept in the same bed.

One man sur­veyed said: “It’s like hav­ing a girl­friend, but then not a girl­friend.”

When asked to de­scribe the dif­fer­ence be­tween a “bro­mance” and a ro­mance, an­other un­der­grad­u­ate an­swered: “Sex really. That’s all.”

Dr Robin­son added: “There are how­ever sig­nif­i­cant and wor­ry­ing re­sults here for women. These men per­ceived women to be the pri­mary reg­u­la­tors of their be­hav­iour, and this caused dis­dain for them as a whole in some in­stances.

“Much in the same way that women are por­trayed in con­tem­po­rary cin­ema as ob­jects for male grat­i­fi­ca­tion sev­eral of the par­tic­i­pants spoke of women they knew in a gen­er­ally neg­a­tive way.”

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