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In sociology, homosociality describes same-sex relationships that are not necessarily of a sexual nature, such as friendship, mentorship or others. The opposite of homosocial is heterosocial, preferring non-sexual relations with the opposite sex. In group relations involving more than two individuals, the relation can be either homosocial (involving same-sex social relations) or bisocial involving social relation with both sexes)

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Homosociality and sexual orientation

Homosociality, by definition, implies neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality. For example, a heterosexual male who prefers to socialize with men may be considered a homosocial heterosexual. The term is often used by feminists to emphasize aspects of solidarity between males, although other feminists identify a close link between female homosociality, feminism and lesbian desire (see Interpretations).

It is not uncommon for people in a homosocial friendships to be physically affectionate with each other, not implying sexual bonding or desire. Holding hands, hugging, and teasing are all common features of homosocial relationships, as are frank discussions about sexuality, life, and health. Some researchers believe that the physical aspect of such friendships may actually be an important socializing tool, pointing out that people with less physical contact in their lives can be less socially confident and emotionally stable.

Historical uses

Homosociality is a term sometimes used in discussions of the all-male world of knightly life in medieval culture. It is also used for historically largely male occupations such as being a sailor (for example, historian Marcus Rediker uses the term to describe the pirate world). Homosocial relationships are not obliged to be sexual relationships, they are merely same-sex social interactions.

Predominantly homosocial arrangements include:

Interpretations

Feminist scholars such as Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Heidi Hartmann have emphasized the role of male homosociality in perpetuating perceived patterns of male dominance in the workplace. There is also controversy regarding the relationship between homosociality and homosexuality. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick identifies a continuum between these, going as far as correlating feminism and lesbian desire. On the other hand, research at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University has found that mutual identification over heterosexual activity is often the medium through which male homosocial bonding is enacted.[1]

Bromance

In popular culture, "Bromance" has recently been used to refer to an especially close yet non-sexual relationship between two men. Bromance is most often used in the case of two heterosexual partners, although there have been prominent celebrity gay-straight bromances.

See also

References








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