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Men Are More Comfortable Going to a Gay Bar Than Telling Family 'I Love You'

Toxic masculinity sign; men hugging
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

Men are more uncomfortable saying "I love you" to their relatives or crying in front of other men than they are going to a gay bar, according to a recent survey.

Toxic masculinity may not prevent some men from going to a gay bar, but it does prevent them from saying "I love you" to their family.

That's according to a fall report from YouGov, which found that approximately 44 percent of adult men in the United Kingdom would be uncomfortable going to a gay bar, slightly less than the 45 percent who said they are uncomfortable telling other men they love them — even their own relatives. The report didn't break down the data based on sexuality or gender identity.

An even higher amount — 48 percent — said they are uncomfortable crying in front of other men, friends, or family.

As for actions that would make men less uncomfortable than going to a gay bar, 42 percent said they would be uncomfortable applying sunscreen to the back of a male friend or having to share a bed with a friend of the same gender. Thirty-one percent said they are uncomfortable wearing pink.

Women reported being significantly more comfortable doing all of the above actions, with 20 percent or fewer expressing discomfort in going to a gay bar, saying "I love you," and crying in front of the same gender.

There was only one action women were more uncomfortable with than men — being naked in front of the same gender. Sixty-seven percent of women said they would not want to change clothes around the same gender, whereas only 49 percent of men said the same. This still marked the activity both sexes were the most uncomfortable with.

When it comes to age, the report noted that the generational differences are "not clear cut." Older men were more uncomfortable wearing pink, sharing a bed, or going to a gay bar. On the flip side, younger men were more uncomfortable crying in front of others. The oldest and youngest groups were equally uncomfortable saying "I love you" to other men.

"Conceptions of masculinity and ways it is acceptable for men to relate and interact with one another have changed over the decades," the report states. "But many men are still reluctant to show emotion in front of, or make physical contact with, other men."

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.