Women College Students Socially Distance From Gay Men They Perceive as Sexually Promiscuous

A new study, led by Corey Cook, an assistant professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, finds that sexual promiscuity negatively impacts social responses of college students toward both gay and straight men.

Researchers surveyed a large group of heterosexual undergraduate college students on their social attitudes toward either gay men, straight men, gay men who are sexually promiscuous, and straight men who are sexually promiscuous. Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements such as  such as “members of this group are the kind of people that I tend to avoid.”

The authors note that historically heterosexual women have been generally more accepting of gay men than is the case for heterosexual men. But the current research shows that when women college students perceive gay men as sexually promiscuous they tend to shy away from interpersonal relationships more so than for gay men generally. Male participants in the survey did not show any differences in their attitudes toward gay men who were sexually promiscuous and gay men in general.

In a second survey the authors determine that women undergraduate students were more likely to distance themselves from sexually promiscuous gay men due to fears that these men might be more likely to have a sexually transmitted disease.

The full study, “You Don’t Know Where He’s Been: Sexual Promiscuity Negatively Affects Responses Toward Both Gay and Straight Men,” was published on the website of the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinities. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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