Friendship dynamics of young men with non-exclusive sexual orientations: Group diversity, physical intimacy and emotionality

Rory Magrath, Mark McCormack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-exclusive sexuality identity labels such as “mostly straight” and “mostly gay” describe distinct sexualities. While research documents their existence and distinctiveness, little focus has been given to friendship dynamics with these groups and research on friendship has a heteronormative bias. In this study, we use data collected with 25 men with non-exclusive sexualities from a university in the northeastern United States to examine their friendship dynamics and intimacy practices in order to advance understanding of friendship beyond binary frameworks of straight and gay friendship groups. We document the friendship practices of men who are mostly straight, “bisexual-leaning,” and mostly gay, and develop understanding of bromance as a term that has extended to cross-sexuality and cross-gender friendships. We call for greater engagement with these sexuality labels and greater recognition of fluidity as a concept that extends beyond sexology and debates about heterosexual privilege to understand the complex dynamics of intimacy and friendship and a broader range of friendship practices among men that such understandings facilitate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1204-1222
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • friendship
  • sexuality
  • diversity
  • non-exclusive

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