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Entries in cross-sex friendship (6)


Cross-Sex Friendships: Hazardous to Your Mental Health?

A reader asked: Is it true that girls who have more guy friends than girl friends are less likely to have anxiety and depression? What does research say about girls who have more guy friends than girl friends?

Interesting question. Before I respond in more detail, I’ll cut to the chase: In my review of the existing research, I couldn’t find a study that directly answers your question about whether having more opposite-sex (OS) than same-sex (SS) friends raises psychological health in women. However, this is what we do know from the research:

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Everyone Needs an Enemy

February has come and gone, and, fortunately (for some), the Valentine’s Day craze has left with it. Leading up to and throughout the month, contributors at Science of Relationships worked overtime to bring you as much research as possible about the day of love (click here for a thorough recap). With all of the hullabaloo, I think I fell into a state Valentine’s Day fatigue; quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing about love!

Instead of love, what about hate? Instead of parents, close friends, and romantic partners, what about enemies? Batman had the Joker; Harry Potter had Voldemort; Austin Powers had Dr. Evil; Jennifer Aniston has Angelina Jolie. What about non-superheroes/celebrities, you ask? Don’t regular people have enemies, too? (for the record, Science of Relationships doesn’t have any enemies. We’re lovers, not fighters.) And, if so, what functions do enemies serve, and are there benefits to having a mortal nemesis?

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Tales From the Friend Zone: REALLY Just Friends?

How many times do you think a guy sees a girl and thinks, “I bet we’d would really get along well. She’d be a great friend to hang out with and talk to?” That is, how often do guys start out wanting to be friends with a girl for purely non-sexual (i.e., platonic) reasons? If you suspect it doesn’t happen very often (if at all) then you’re right according to new research from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

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Sex in Friendships, Friendship After Sex

I'm currently involved in what you term a 'cross-sex' relationship. I've found all of your articles very insightful into the way we interact, and the benefits we receive from our close friendship. I also have found knowing that sexual encounters occur in these sort of relationships, which is what happened between my friend and I (yes we fit the college student statistic) interesting. I've read about cross-sex 'life-cycles', different phases in the friendship etc. I was wondering if you could elaborate more on this? Or give some suggestions on how to continue the friendship after sex (Cosmo just doesn't compare with your articles, obviously!). 

The blending of friendship with sex seems to be popping up everywhere these days. What you call “cross-sex relationships,” others call “friends with benefits” (FWBs), “booty calls,” and any number of other names. Regardless of what they’re called, these relationships have one important feature in common: they’re complicated!

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Sexual Strategies in Cross-Sex Friendships

Evolutionary psychologists, including pioneers such as David Buss, have yet another perspective on this type of friendship. These researchers tend to view cross-sex friendship as an evolved reproductive tactic, or “sexual strategy.” In a nutshell, evolutionary processes have created differences between men and women with regards to sex. Thus, men and women may have different motivations for becoming friends with the opposite sex.

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Cross-Sex Friendships: Can Men and Women Ever Be “Just Friends”?

This is a question I get asked a lot by my friends and students. The answer is yes, heterosexual men and women are perfectly capable of remaining platonic friends without dating or hooking up (labeled as “cross-sex friendship” or “opposite-sex friendship” in the scientific world),1,2 and nearly all men and women have had such a friendship at some point in their lives.3 However, there are unique aspects of cross-sex friendships that can be potentially problematic or rewarding depending on your perspective.

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