Straight men like to cuddle with other guys, by an overwhelming majority of 93 percent. That's at least the stance of a new questionable study from Durham University out of Britain.
The purpose of the study -- to examine the changing habits of heterosexual males -- found that pretty much every participant was up for some guy-on-guy cuddles.
First published in the March issue of the Men and Masculinities journal, the study's authors also claimed that 98 percent of the subjects were college-aged male Caucasian athletes and that the 93 percent portion had "spooned or cuddled" with another man in spite of identifying as heterosexual.
Mark McCormack, a study co-author and sociologist at Durham University, said that the results exemplified "changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture," reports Huffington Post.
"As homophobia decreases," he said, "straight men are acting 'much softer' than those from older generations."
"We knew they [straight males] were hugging and cuddling, and we wanted to understand this phenomenon in more detail," McCormack told HuffPo in an email. "How do men gain from rejecting the homophobia of previous generations?"
In-depth interviews were conducted with 40 young male athletes -- "a sample they chose because of the group's likelihood to be in closer physical contact with one another and because of the notion that athletes embody what it means to be traditionally masculine."
The Daily Mail shared two responses from the study, with one saying it was "merely an act of friendship."
"I love a quick cuddle, just so you remember your friends are about and are there for you." Another added: "I feel comfortable with Connor and we spend a lot of time together.""They don't realize this is something that older men would find shocking," McCormack said. "It's older generations that think men cuddling is taboo," acknowledging that two men getting close "was traditionally seen as 'gay.'"
"Men wanted to avoid being the target of homophobic abuse, so they would be macho to distance themselves from any perception of homosexuality," McCormack explained. "But there is a generational effect here: Older men who grew up in the 1980s may still feel the need to present a very straight version of themselves, but more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in contemporary culture mean that younger men are simply less concerned about how other people view their behaviors."
Before getting too carried away with the idea that a new trend is afoot, let's try to remember that this study is only 40 kids hand-picked out of Great Britain. With comments like these from Sam Wheeler, it's doubtful you'd get the same response in the United States.
What do you think, Inquisitr community? Is the population of straight men really becoming more at ease with the idea of physical affection toward their male peers, or is this just bogus overreach?
[Image via James Franco Instagram]