Young gay couple lying in bed, embracing --- Image by © Matthias Ritzmann/Corbis

Science: Straight Athletes Love a Same-Sex Snuggle

Sociologists have found that sporty young men enjoy hopping into bed with other straight guys for a bit of nonsexual spooning

‘‘I love a quick cuddle. Just so you remember your friends are around and are there for you.” This is John, a self-identified straight guy who took part in a study investigating attitudes toward same-sex cuddling at a university in the U.K. Researchers found that 97.5% of heterosexual, male college athletes have shared a bed with another guy and 93.5% have indulged in spooning. “We very often have hangover cuddles and naps together,” reported another participant named Max.

The findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Men and Masculinities. In it, researchers Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack describe how changing attitudes toward homosexuality have lessened stigma around nonsexual contact, and that the majority of young men now have no problem being affectionate with their friends—a particularly common trend among those on sports teams.

Affection has never been an issue on the field.

Getty Images

“As part of my ethnographic work on sports teams, as well as interview research on athletes and nonathletes, I find that cuddling in bed is a normal and acceptable part of heterosexual male youth culture in England,” Anderson tells Vocativ, adding that it’s becoming increasingly common across the pond. “Friends are tactile with each other in other locales as well,” he says. “I show that it occurs among high school runners in California.”

The sociologists deliberately focused on athletes to gauge the changing beliefs of a group traditionally thought to harbor negative opinions about same-sex contact. Conducting qualitative interviews with a small sample size of 40, Anderson says their responses were consistent with his earlier research. A total of 39 out of 40 said they have shared beds, usually after a night out, and 37 said they often fall asleep spooning.

"Sometimes you grab his cock, sort of as a joke. …It’s not like you’re going to wank him.”

The reason for this, researchers believe, is that homophobia is on the decline, and intimate contact is no longer seen as a breach of masculinity. A recent national survey found that 29% of British adults think same-sex relationships are wrong, a sharp drop from 46% in 2000. It’s backed up by data from the Pew Research Center, which found that 74% of Americans born after 1980 believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society.

“I feel comfortable with Connor and we spend a lot of time together. I happily rest my head on Connor’s shoulder when lying on the couch or hold him in bed,” said study participant Matt of his best friend. “But he’s not the only one. The way I see it is that we are all very good and close mates. We have a bromance where we are very comfortable around each other.”

Even early morning erections aren’t an issue.

“We don’t give anyone shit anymore,” said Stephen, another interviewee, who added that any joking is light-hearted. “Sometimes you grab his cock, sort of as a joke, particularly if he’s got a semi going. …It just relieves the tension. It’s not like you’re going to wank him.”

When asked why the behavior seems more accepted among athletes, Anderson says that it has more to do with opportunity than comfort levels; men on sports teams travel together, shower together and develop tighter bonds. He adds that research shows the behavior is common among all young guys, but it begins to taper off with age.

“Outside of an undergraduate setting the numbers are likely to be far less. While we know, definitively, that it is a regular occurrence among 16- to 18-year-olds in addition to university students, it is not likely to exist whatsoever among 40-year-old men,” he says. “This is both a function of the homohysteric culture that 40-year-old men experienced in their adolescence, as much as it is a function of the fact that 40-year-old men go home to sleep in bed with their spouses.”

More of Eric Anderson’s research appears in his upcoming book, 21st Century Jocks: Sporting Men and Contemporary Heterosexuality.

Respond Now
  • Leave it to the media to take stuff that has been going on for years, ie, teenagers in dorms getting drunk and falling asleep next to each other, and turning it into some psychobabble nonsense about homosexual “bromances”. 

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    • Being a woman I believe your opinion is somewhat biased considering this article creates more of an inside opinion on what happens behind closed doors during male sports. I don’t think this is being turned into “psychobabble nonsense” more trying to throw the idea out to the public eye that homophobia is something that is rapidly leaving today’s society. Also please refrain from turning my point on you being a woman into some sort of “psychobabble nonsense” about womens rights.

  • Next week? New research shows that men who place their genitalia in other men’s rear are just bonding and are completly straight.

  • When you do your agenda driven study in homosexual hotspots, what else would you find?

  • Jew Freud pushed his twisted and corrupt so called science to undermine Christian mainstream values and succeeded. Here we go again with more garbage from that crowd,

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    • Your comment is highly indifferent to what the article talks about. The article itself doesn’t attempt to undermine Christian “values” however gives awareness to the fact that your so called Christian values are undermining themselves and that todays society may not care for homophobia. Rather than sitting on your computer and making a fuss maybe you should attempt to give this “garbage” a break and stop forcing your religion on todays youth who clearly want no part in a religion that excludes those whom are “sinners” in the eye of “god.”

  • I have to call BULL. NEVER have I seen anything like this. The research seems more agenda driven than fact driven.utterly bogus.

  • Heh heh heh… Gay.

  • Show More
  • What a bunch of fruits.

  • ‘John’ and ‘Max’ are as ‘straight’ as Madame Lambert.

  • I knew a couple named Bo and Gus.The veracity of this article is typified by those two; i.e., BO-GUS.

  • I think this article just made me homohysteric. Nice job.

  • So much for Science. 

  • Not so. They are bisexuals, a variant of homosexual. Double the fun I suppose.   

  • Men throughout history have had close and intimate relationships with other men…until the fear and stigmas took over.  When I was a young boy my older half-brothers would walk down the street with their arms draped over the shoulder of a buddy. I accepted it as natural, and so did everyone else.   Two decades later and I saw no guys doing that all.  They were too afraid of being called gay. They were terrified of having their masculinity questioned. There is nothing wrong with guys being close or affectionate. I have too totally heterosexual friends that cuddled all the time. One just married last year, and has a new daughter.  They have always been close, and they don’t care what people think.  Neither has any sexual interest in other men.  I am glad that young men are reclaiming their right to be close to, and bond with, other men.

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    • Yes, you’re clearly correct but it was always non-sexual contact with your friends, brothers and pals. It was the hypersexualization of the 1960′s on that changed that to sexualize every human interaction and make people uncomfortable with any physical sign of emotional connection. It occurs with adult men and children as well. You can’t show any interest in kids at all and even a majority of women are also affected by this silted social interaction. 

  • Horseschitt…spooning is common…next study forking each other will be declared common. 

  • Uhhhh NO… they’re not. If two men are “spooning” they are at best, bi-sexual.

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    • wuts next locker room spooning at half time lol

  • PROTIP: They’re not straight if they’re spooning in bed with each other.

  • Holy Bible ROMANS:1 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and (received in themselves) the due penalty of their perversion. ………….AIDS………….. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, (((God-haters))), insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

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    • Oh please. Go pray to your Santa Claus for adults. Believe in witches too?

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      • knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3)

      • Whatever, tarbox. Go snuggle with your buddies….

  • Sounds to me like what we have here is a creepy researcher (whose pastime is probably salivating over young boys) traveling around the world and seeking out perverts who will validate his preconcieved fantasies about athletes.

  • Is this an Onion article? 

  • C’mon. Homosexualizing male bonding via physical contact is stupid. High fiving someone or slapping him on the butt is a far cry from “spooning” in bed. I was a major college athelete and never saw or heard of any spooning going on. The gays seek to homosexulaize everything. 

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    • They’re out to recruit you. Bet you’re such a manly man that any guy just can’t help themselves, as you leave a trail of broken hearts and “semi’s”. Go join CRYSTAL MARTINEZ for some good old fashioned hetro sex down. God wants you too.

  • As an ex-major-college athlete, all I can say is “Gross, Ewwww!”  Sickening, not to mention unnecessary!  With all the babes available to male athletes, my question is “Why?”Oh, wait!  These are Brits!  Never mind.A Brit once said to me, “Women are alright, but there’s nothing like the real thing!”  ‘Nuff said about Brits.

  • You people are all OLD with terrible memories.  If you never shared a bed, you either never played sports, or went to the richest high school in America (who can afford single beds?!?)  And if you never ever spooned with another guy you’re either old, have amnesia, homophobia, or no sense of humor.

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    • wtf does sports or high school have to do with beds? I had my *own* bed…at *home*. And no, normal guys don’t spoon with other guys. You might as well come out now…you’ve already told the world.

    • It sounds like your childhood wasn’t actually normal, friend.

  • Construction worker: Builds housesMechanic: Fixes machinesMedical doctor: Cures illnessBus Driver: Moves peopleJanitor: Keeps everything sanitarySociologist: Gets free money

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    • Seriously?What next, a study showing that handing buckets of money to researchers Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack leads to extreme happiness, low crime and sunny weather?I am betting the entirety of this “study” was made up. They are really straining with this outright propaganda.

  • Is this a test run for an onion article?Just goes to prove twhat i ahve been saying for years… Sports are gay. 

  • All of my straight college athlete friends used to cuddle as well after we gang raped each other in the butt. Its called teamwork.

  • Salad tossers all.

  • Cough cough Bu ll sh it cough cough cough

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    • As a guy who played H.S. football and baseball and spent 4 years in The Corps, my B.S. meter also went off….a hug after a big game, hell yes, spooning?? Lmao…uh no.

  • LMAO! Is this an April Fool’s?

  • This is definitely not true.  Not a chance.  

  • This is research with a small r.  I guess anyone can call themselves a researcher these days.  Look up the author’s bio.  It’s a joke.  He’s nothing more than a propagandist with a PHD. is so far away from the truth.  Case in point the hazing incident recently with the Miami Dolphins with Richie Incognito  and Jonathan Martin. Profesiional football locker rooms are not bastions of gay tolerance. Even the indication of weakness or femininity will get you beat to a pulp in one of these locker rooms.  As much as this author wants us to believe that society is all of a sudden embracing all this same sex intimacy, he’s got a tough sell because sexuality is innate and if you’re attracted to one sex you’re going to find the idea of intimacy with the same sex abhorent and unnatural. He can publish as many biased research papers as he wants to but he’ll never change what people fell in their gut.   

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Expertise

      • Sociology of sport, examining gender and sexualities
      • Sociology of Masculinities,  in either education or among youth
      • Homophobia in sport or education
      • Monogamy and cheating among athletes and non-athletes
      • Bisexuality
      • Coaching distance runners

      That’s a lot of “expertise”… this guy must be a supergenius! I’m a photographer, and mastering that alone takes a lifetime.

    • It actually sounds like the fellow has an unhealthy obsession with sex.

  • What the!?! Who are they talking to? I do not know a single athlete from my playing days that would ever admit to such a thing. Sorry, but I’m calling BS on this one. I’ve never met a straight man who would admit that he’d grabbed another man’s junk. Frankly, if anyone on a sports team I played on had done that to a teammate he’d have been the guest of honor at a blanket party.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • what is a blanket party?

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      • Wrap rocks or soap or other hard, destructive items in a towel, sneak up on the victim at night and trap him on the bed by tightly pinning him to the bed with a blanket, and the rest of the crew armed with towels rain down hell…

  • Pure propaganda BS.

  • So everyone is secretly gay. This is the same bullsh*t the homosexual perverts have been peddling since the 70′s.  And if some male friend of mine grabbed my stuff I’d punch him in the fokking face and he wouldn’t be a “friend” anymore. Gays and liberals are DISGUSTING HELLBOUND CRETINS, who wake up every day in rebellion to God and His word.

  • It isn’t enough to accept gays. YOU MUST LOVE THEM!

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    • It’s not enough to love them, you must also admit you are one.

  • Obviously a UK study – cannot imagine similar results in the US.

  • This is a bunch of BS perpetuated by the LBGT community.  Now, apparently, the agenda is not only to convince folks that homosexuality is normal, but that it’s abnormal not to be a homo.”Hmm, all guys like to spoon each other under the covers together.  It’s true!”Ridiculous sissies…

  • Few understand that there is a strong under-current of homosexuality, latent or otherwise, among some British youth going back a long way and it has been accepted, or overlooked by their society. The seducing or sexual hazing of schoolboys has been written about by many writers and intellectuals. Sociological research in general tends toward a very agenda, or political, bias and should not be taken as “science”, or definitive.

  • Allow me to puke.

  • This is progressive think:  everyone is really gay.Just like they try to convince people that grown men who sexually abuse children are really “straight”.

  • More Propaganda “research”.  I liked the one that said 40% of HS football players are gay.  Turns out there were 13 subjects of the research, and all were college Cheerleaders!!  Some who had play HS Football.  What bunk!

  • The article in which a bunch of gay guys swear to god they’re totally not gay. 

  • Nonsensical Conservative clap trap.

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    • What strange world do you live in where an article about everyone secretly being gay is in your mind, “conservative”???

  • It’s not a lie if it advances a left agenda.

  • I spent a lot of time playing organized school sports growing up.  Plenty of locker rooms, plenty of hotels. This never happened – once, with any of the teams I played on. Is this article a joke? 

  • Mike, David, Steven. How is it this article held your interest to the end? curiousity, fascination or relief?Aside of surgery, one male’s hand to another’s male semi-rect is not heterosexual behaviour.1/3 of 1%? in Branson Mo or Podunk Minn?

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Gaystapo BS

  • This has to be a joke. There is no way that in my 35 years of sports have I ever delt with this. Ive been a Mt. Biker, A fencer, A bodybuilder, A swimmer and, A diver. All sports that most people would say that would tend to head in “want to cuddle with another male” direction. I’m sorry but this is just total bovine faecies.

  • This was a comedy piece – right? Or is it pro-homo propaganda?Nausiating – either way.

  • Researchers? Liberals.

  • LOL.. The pedophile sodomites keep trying.. 

  • Sounds like a bunch oy guys deep, deep, in denial.

  • Quick, someone grab a few dozen normal sports guys to debunk this propaganda study. Be sure to use that same ridiculously unscientific sample size of only 40 guys so you can similarly twist the results to your desire as they did.

  • Gays are genetically delusional so comomg up with such rancid dreams is normal

  • I think this article belongs in The Onion.

  • Complete and utter rubbish! What a hoot! This one needs to go write for The Onion!

  • They found a sample of 40 waterboys to fit their gay agenda. Notice how they use a sample of 40 ‘athletes’ to claim a global trend.This article may inspire cuddling parades in san fran.

  • All part of the propaganda campaign to normalize homosexual behavior.  Do a search of homosexual diseases and you will find the behavior will never be considered normal or healthy.

  • Homosexual fantasies. 

  • This is propaganda fraught with dishonesty.  I don’t believe these findings for a New York second!

  • The University of Alabama, the Crimson Tide, is known for having “cuddling sessions”.  Coach Nick Saban says it helps with team spirit and has engaged in cuddling himself.  In fact they have found it so beneficial that they will cancel scrimmages and have “cuddling scrimmages”.  That’s why Saban has recruited so well from California, but not so well from the state of Alabama.

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    • BS a coach would be fired for cuddling with his team.  This article is stupid and the people behind the research are nitwits.

  • BULL$HIT Im as normal and average as a guy can be.  I’ve never been 5%-8% of any study. 1 “heterosexual” guys are much more likely to exchange strictly sexual favors. I dont see guys on sites like craigslist looking to cuddle. This is just so completely not accurate. 2 Where the hell does being an athlete play any role? Skew it by only sampling male cheerleaders?

  • This article is referring to homosexual athletes. Just part of the agenda to recruit nybile young men who are confused from attending Common Core schools.

  • TOO FUNNY THAT THEY SHOW TWO LONGHORNS WITH THIS ARTICLE!  It fits though…Austin is the “san fran” of the South.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • They’ll still never want you. 

  • Completely ridiculous. This does not sound like a legitimate study. While I can understand that there would be a closeness among people who spend a large amount of time together, I don’t think spooning would ever happen between heterosexual men, ever. Maybe neck hugs and fist bumps,  but spooning? No way.

  • This is baloney.  I was a varsity athlete in college and I never heard of anything like this in four years in school.  Why did they focus on males with not information on female athletes.Nonsense.

  • This is typical drivel from the Homo faction.  they need to justify their homosexual pedophilia by including the whole of society in their sick way of life. 

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    • The prison of lack of finances to maintain REAL heterosexual relations with a woman could be driving more to seek out a homosexual encounter.  But guys who prefer women are certainly not entering into sweet cuddly bonds of spooning.  They’ll get eachother off like men in prison and usually stops there if they can be even considred mostly heteroexual

    • >>>>”….they need to justify their homosexual pedophilia….”Homosexualisty =/ pedophilia. You sound ignorant.

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • Holy hell. This site’s comment formatting sucks.Homosexuality does not equal pedophilia.

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      • Pedophilia, homosexuality, lack of trust between men & women, divorce are all social contagions being spread by media brainwashing, desire for excess, insecurity, and financial hardship drives up hedonitic sex ( no relationship ) just sex.

      • +
      • thank you

      • Every boy who has ever been molested by a MAN was molested by a HOMOSEXUAL, you complete moral imbecile.

  • 1/3 of 1% are sodomites? You must never have left Branson Missourior or Podunck Minnesota! Teasing a semi-erection is not hetero behaviour. teasing another with a semi isn’t either. 

  • I played sports and the last thing I wanted was to another dude anywhere near me…..gross, discusting and down right nasty. It must be the new generation because us old schoolers don’t play that way.

  • What drivel. Homosexual propagandizing with a vengeance.

  • I have played sports my entire life.  Played college football.  I have never ever seen this.

    • GOOD CATCH SIR!!! It turns out that the “researcher” is a poofter who goes around sniffing jockstraps looking for teh gays!

  • Next you’ll tell us that straight old men love to take non-sexual showers with little boys. GTFO.

  • I’m still straight as long as he doesn’t put it all the way in.

  • Can we see this “research” please?  I’d also like to take a look at the person that conducted this “research” and see what their agenda is. As if it wasn’t obvious.

  • The college homosexual who put this apocryphal piece of nonsense out must be fishing for more boys to rape, molest, and to murder when they’re done with their felonious behavior.

  • 1/3 of 1% of the general population are sodomites.The remaining 99.97% don’t lie with men as they lie with women.

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    • Your statistic is way off.  In the late 1950′s the Kinsey report found fully 10% of the population was fully gay (sodomites – to you) – and the times were far less promiscuous than now.  It is likely higher now but it has not shrunk to 1/3 of 1% and there are NO studies that suggest it could be that low.  Research your facts – don’t just make up facts!

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      • Kinsey was a pervert who sought out other perverts to help him conduct his “research” for social engineering purposes. Not unlike the “research” quoted in this article.

      • Laumann’s research and that of others — research based on scientific sampling procedures (using random selection and yielding represenative samples with generalizable results)– shows that Kinsey’s 10 percent estimate was at least 2x higher than it should have been.  This is because Kinsey’s research was based on a large but still nonrandom sample.  Being nonrandom, it was not represenative of the larger population.  A random sample of 2000 will produce more accurate estimates of population parameters than a nonrandom sample of 10,000.  In short, random selection is necessary for producing generalizable results.  While I haven’t looked closely at this article’s research, my guess is the researcher’s sample was not random and he probably defines “cuddling” in questionable ways. 

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • +
      • Damn, no edit function?  Meant to write “representative” …

      • There is not one respected researcher on the planet that will go on record claiming the population is more than 2% homosexual, at best.

  • I smell an agenda…

  • I’ve heard that democrats do this a lot,especially before mid term elections.

  • This is just gross.

  • This article is totally gay.

    • Now THOSE are some old gay photos!

  • Is this article a joke? IT doesn’t happen in the Staes…at all. 

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Are you sure? The researcher has done studies on U.S. athletes. We’ll need to defer to the U.S.’s foremost cuddle scientists on this one and see if it holds water.

  • total bs.

  •   Well, it does prove one thing, it is that all humans are Bi-sexual.  Who they choose to “Get Off” with is supposedly what they believe defines them as one or the other.  If you grab another guy’s “Semi” and give it a whank, then you are essentially entering the sexual arena, and thus are performing a homosexual act.  There is nothing wrong with men loving men, and it doesn’t need to be a sexual relationship, but being gay, and knowing men, I will say that the barrier between “Going All The Way”, and just fondeling and/or spooning is paper thin.  As the old saying goes; “An Erection knows no conscence”, and men know this of themselves, but like to pretend that another physical body in close proxcimity is not stimulating, especially when that body belongs to the same sex.  It also proves another thing;  It is that the largest sexual organ your body has, is housed inside your skull !!!

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    • well said

  • England…

  • Very gay.

  • I wish they’d try to be more like us instead of trying to make us more like them.We have less diseases and mental health problems than they do.

  • Sorry, there’s nothing straight about any of this.

  • The homosexuals researchers continue to attempt to blur the lines between straight and gay to further confuse the general populace.  Unfortunately a homosexual and homosexual acts are still just that. What a hogwash study.


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