In this article, we combined data from 145 interviews and three ethnographic investigations of heterosexual male students in the U.K. from multiple educational settings. Our results indicate that 89% have, at some point, kissed another male on the lips which they reported as being non-sexual: a means of expressing platonic affection among heterosexual friends. Moreover, 37% also reported engaging in sustained same-sex kissing, something they construed as non-sexual and non-homosexual. Although the students in our study understood that this type of kissing remains somewhat culturally symbolized as a taboo sexual behavior, they nonetheless reconstructed it, making it compatible with heteromasculinity by recoding it as homosocial. We hypothesize that both these types of kissing behaviors are increasingly permissible due to rapidly decreasing levels of cultural homophobia. Furthermore, we argue that there has been a loosening of the restricted physical and emotional boundaries of traditional heteromasculinity in these educational settings, something which may also gradually assist in the erosion of prevailing heterosexual hegemony.
Anderson, E., Adams, A., & Rivers, I. (2012). "I kiss them because I love them": The emergence of heterosexual men kissing in British institutes of education. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(2), 421-430. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-010-9678-0