Perceptions of a sexual advance from gay men leads to negative affect and compensatory acts of masculinity

Nathaniel E.C. Schermerhorn, Theresa K. Vescio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Prior research highlights the relationship between anti-gay prejudice and masculinity: straight men (1) avoid being misclassified as gay and (2) experience increased anti-gay attitudes when their masculinity is threatened. We hypothesized that a sexual advance from a gay man would constitute a threat to straight man's masculinity. Four experiments and a cross-cultural replication (N = 1407) manipulated perceptions of a same-sex sexual advance and found that straight men experienced greater public discomfort and subsequent anger. This anger predicted both non-aggressive (e.g., avoidance) and aggressive (e.g., likelihood to use violence) compensatory acts of masculinity. These findings were not ameliorated by reasserting heterosexuality (Study 2), were unique to sexual advances by gay men, not straight women (Study 3), and were replicated in the United States (Study 4a) and the United Kingdom (Study 4b). Findings suggest that a same-sex sexual advance threatens straight men's masculinity and implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-279
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of a sexual advance from gay men leads to negative affect and compensatory acts of masculinity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this