New Study Provides “Confirmation for Stereotypes About Sex-Hungry Males and Naïve Females”

Picture: Oliver Abels (CC)

Harry: … men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Irritating rom-com, When Harry Met Sally, may have been on the money as regards the age old question of platonic relationships between men and women. Scientific American reports that, according to new research, men see their women friends as potential conquests:

researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into…a science lab.  Privacy was paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship.  In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility. These friendship pairs were then separated, and each member of each pair was asked a series of questions related to his or her romantic feelings (or lack thereof) toward the friend with whom they were taking the study.

The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief. In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt—basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends. Women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends; because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual. As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.

Men were also more willing to act on this mistakenly perceived mutual attraction. Both men and women were equally attracted to romantically involved opposite-sex friends and those who were single; “hot” friends were hot and “not” friends were not, regardless of their relationship status.  However, men and women differed in the extent to which they saw attached friends as potential romantic partners.  Although men were equally as likely to desire “romantic dates” with “taken” friends as with single ones, women were sensitive to their male friends’ relationship status and uninterested in pursuing those who were already involved with someone else.

FULL STORY CONTINUES IN SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN HERE

, , , ,

  • Andrew

    This is shit science reportage. The only numbers the article mentions is how many people participated in each study. It doesn’t say 100% of the male participants felt one way and 100% of the female participants felt differently, but the writer goes to some lengths to lead readers to that conclusion. The original headline is unsupported, sensationalistic cultural reinforcement.

  • Nunzio X

    I have plenty of women friends, and I have no interest in getting romantically or sexually involved with them.

    (The unattractive ones, I mean.)

  • BuzzCoastin

    that was valuable research fer sher

    the other day I was reading about Jean Pain
    a French dude that found a way to generate hot water & usable methane from compost
    stuff like that’s boringggggg
    but bogus ineffectual science that proves nothing
    datz da bomb

  • Xe

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GAYS??

21
More in Friendship, Gender, Men, Sex
‘Emmanuelle’ Actress Sylvia Kristel Dead at 60

Multiple media sources are reporting that Sylvia Kristel has died after a fight with cancer. She was 60 years-old. Kristel was most famous for her role as the eponymous sexual...

Close