Homophobia is ‘virtually extinct’ and most men are now comfortable kissing their male friends on the lips, a university study claimed today.
Boffins at the University of Bath found that 89 per cent of men are happy to smooch their heterosexual mates ”as a sign of friendship”.
They claim homophobia has ”reduced to near extinction” as red-blooded fellas embrace their feminine side.
The study also found that 36 per cent of men have engaged in sustained kissing with their mates, initially to shock others but continued doing it ”for a laugh”.
Dr Eric Anderson, from the University’s Department of Education, who led the research, said: ”Heterosexual men kissing each other in friendship is an offshoot of what happens when homophobia is reduced.
”At these universities, overt homophobia has reduced to near extinction, permitting those men to engage in behaviour that was once taboo.
”Men are kissing each other in university clubs and pubs, in front of their peers, and for many it serves as an occasional, exuberant greeting or banter when partying.
”The kiss is a sign of affection in student social spaces, a sign of victory on the pitch, or celebration at a nightclub but it does not have a sexual connotation in any of these spaces.
”It seems generally younger people are becoming more and more open minded with each generation.”
Adi Adams, who is studying a PhD in Sociology at Bath and assisted with the research, said men are even advertising their liberal attitude to kissing on the internet.
He said: ”We noticed that more and more men were kissing each other in clubs or after scoring a goal as a form of celebration, and many would put pictures of themselves kissing their friends on Facebook.
”We then began our research and realised that the way men tell each other that one has made it into their circle of close friends is to kiss.
”In this respect men are catching up with women who regularly use a kiss as a sign of affection to a female friend.
”My first experience of kissing a man was at uni and I was bit taken aback, but now it feels like a normal act of friendship.
”It doesn’t feel that it threatens my masculinity or heterosexuality – instead it is becoming part of acceptable masculinity and heterosexuality.”
The research team interviewed 145 white men aged 18-21 from two universities and one sixth form college for the study.
Dr Anderson’s findings have been published on the online journal ‘Archives of Sexual Behaviour’.