Rise of the 'bromance' threatens men's relationships with women
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 rather than 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," 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."
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."
- The Telegraph, London