News | United Kingdom

Study Finds Gay Couples Are Happier, Less Likely To Display Public Affection

A recent study of 5,000 people conducted by the UK Economic and Science Research Council revealed that “LGBQ participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer) are more generally positive about and happier with the quality of their relationships” than heterosexual couples.

HandsHowever, the study also found that “Public/private boundaries of ‘couple display’ remain fraught. Many LGBQ couples, especially the younger ones, say they would not hold hands in public for fear of reprisal.”

In one of 50 follow-up interviews conducted by the study, Joe — a 26-year-old from London in a four-year same-sex relationship — said:

“Although I’ve never received physical or face-to-face abuse, I am very aware of stares and raised eyebrows when holding my partner’s hand. It took us a while to have the confidence to hold hands and kiss on the lips in public, for example when saying goodbye to each other.

We spent a year saying our goodbyes at home in the morning rather than on the Tube, despite us both travelling in together, out of fear of potential disapproving looks or abuse. I know in London it’s probably much easier than other parts of the UK, or other countries around the world, but I don’t think we’ll ever feel 100 per cent comfortable in public as a couple.”

In contrast, the study found that heterosexual parents are "the group least likely to be there for each other, to make ‘couple time’, to pursue shared interests, to say ‘I love you’ and to talk openly to one another.”

It also found that "couples without children were generally likely to be happier than parents," and that most partners prefer loving actions — like noticing achievements, giving gifts, cuddling and sharing housework — over just hearing "I love you."

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Comments

  1. interesting. when i was living in the UK my "summer romance" was like this, as were a great many of his friends in relationships - would drop their partner's hand when stepping off the side streets and onto the high streets.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 14, 2014 1:39:49 PM


  2. "In contrast, the study found that heterosexual parents are "the group least likely to be there for each other, to make ‘couple time’, to pursue shared interests, to say ‘I love you’ and to talk openly to one another.”

    Well, now there is a study to reflect on when given the recently hot diatribe that children are happier when raised by two parents of opposite sex.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jan 14, 2014 2:02:14 PM


  3. I probably wouldn't hold hands with a partner in public but will kiss friends (straight, gay, male, female, trans) on the lips without hesitation.

    People have preferences, and it's often wise to hold back depending on the locale. Not a surprise.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 14, 2014 2:16:11 PM


  4. I think this is more of a depiction of the UK than it is the rest of the world.

    I never had problems holding hands or kissing in public even in a busy area. However, I find many gays in the USA will take flight at the first sign of a problem in a relationship.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 14, 2014 2:47:41 PM


  5. Gay men are cowards. Even in liberal parts of New York City, gay men will refuse to hold hands. All of the progress we've nade as gay men has been strictly political and not cultural.

    Posted by: sam | Jan 14, 2014 2:53:37 PM


  6. We are not cowards, some of us (even large competitive bodybuilders) do not want to get shot, attacked, etc...I would love to hold my partner's hand in public, or kiss him, but you never know what that may incite. Sorry, but it has more to do with not getting assaulted.

    Posted by: Thor | Jan 14, 2014 2:58:48 PM


  7. ... most partners prefer loving actions — like noticing achievements, giving gifts, cuddling and sharing housework — over just hearing "I love you."

    That's called action speaks louder than words!

    Posted by: Howard B | Jan 14, 2014 3:15:19 PM


  8. ... most partners prefer loving actions — like noticing achievements, giving gifts, cuddling and sharing housework — over just hearing "I love you."

    That's called action speaks louder than words!

    Posted by: Howard B | Jan 14, 2014 3:15:19 PM


  9. "Although I’ve never received physical or face-to-face abuse, I am very aware of stares and raised eyebrows when holding my partner’s hand."

    What hor$e$hit! How does homeboy know those weren't APPROVING stares, or APPROVINGLY-raise eyebrows? He's totally imposing his own inhibition onto what could just as easily be innocuous reactions.

    There's no bigger supporter of gay rights and equality than me. But I've had it happen that an overly defensive lesbian tried to make a case of it when I smiled at seeing her kiss her partner. I had to be all "Settle down, b.itch, I'm on your side!"

    Hyper-sensitive LGBTs are almost as bad as fundamentalists.

    Posted by: Teammates | Jan 14, 2014 3:26:06 PM


  10. Most gay men are wimps and cowards. They are too afraid to express even mild forms of affection in public. Just goes to show that all this talk about being out and proud is crap.

    Posted by: sam | Jan 14, 2014 3:45:21 PM


  11. No, what it shows us, Sam, is that years, decades, of institutionalized oppression and bullying takes it's toll. Not to mention society is still very heterosexist and homophobia is still an issue.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 14, 2014 3:50:25 PM


  12. Francis,

    Blaming society again? I thought New York City was liberal. Gay men are wimps, period.

    I also think women are to blame. Women exploit double standards. That's why you see more women holding hands than men.

    Posted by: sam | Jan 14, 2014 3:59:33 PM


  13. My husband and I don't hold hands or show PDA in public, and we hold the "honeys" too. I think it's just too ingrained in us. If he were to grab my hand or kiss me at the grocery, I'd be as shocked as anyone around us!

    Posted by: Jamie in Las Vegas | Jan 14, 2014 4:09:06 PM


  14. After all those civil rights marches, they better be happy!

    Posted by: anon | Jan 14, 2014 4:42:10 PM


  15. I dunno, "Sam", - i'm pretty *visible* with my Out and Proud-ness. So it ain't crap over here. Is it crap on *your* end? Share who you are, like I do, and see if you can prove me wrong :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 14, 2014 4:52:56 PM


  16. http://instagram.com/p/iF-00AB0rm/

    that link is for you, "Sam". I mean Jason> i mean, oh, who cares? you're not a real person.

    remember, Troll, Internet Anonymity is the last refuge for cowards ;-)

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 14, 2014 4:55:34 PM


  17. So, raising babies sucks ass and hetero relationships suffer from the gender gap?

    Now, tell me something I didn't already know.

    Posted by: FFS | Jan 14, 2014 6:24:06 PM


  18. always the biggest turn off if the guy I'm with doesn't want to hold hands or anything in public, obviously there are situations when it might not be wise to, even then if i want to hold his hand i will.

    I am harassed just walking down the street by myself wearing a big scarf and skinny jeans. I was kicked out of a club in Brussels Belgium 2 years ago because me and the guy I was with were making the 'other patrons uncomfortable' and it 'wasn't sunday'. The world won't get used to us being out in the open unless we show them our resiliency.


    Posted by: Pat | Jan 14, 2014 7:44:40 PM


  19. My fiance and I hold hands all the time in our Boston-metro neighborhood. I worry about the risk, but I ultimately think it's worth it.

    We've been at it for years, and we've never had a problem, even in some other neighborhoods. But we're always watching our backs.

    Posted by: nafe | Jan 14, 2014 7:59:16 PM


  20. I am often shocked when I see men holding hands. I don't like seeing public displays of affection regardless of who the participants are. Unless it's a short kiss or something. But actually hanging on a person annoys me.

    The other day a couple has sex in the doorway across the street after the bars closed. Counter-intuitive as it might be, that's fine with me. Obviously they needed it. So if you really need to hold hands in that same way, then I'll sense it and it will be fine for me. But if you're using affection as a political statement, you risk a backlash. Things change slowly usually.

    Posted by: Markt | Jan 14, 2014 8:20:09 PM


  21. As a 50+ gay couple both raised in small town midwestern US its a reflex not to show affection in public. We just don't do it, and it doesn't help the reflex that we now live in NC.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 14, 2014 11:06:19 PM


  22. As a 50+ gay couple both raised in small town midwestern US its a reflex not to show affection in public. We just don't do it, and it doesn't help the reflex that we now live in NC.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 14, 2014 11:06:20 PM


  23. I completely understand the unwillingness of gay couples to hold hands in public. Even in the most liberal and accepting of locations you will still find more than a handful of ignorant individuals.

    In diverse metro regions such as NYC and London you will still encounter hate. Count yourself luck if you escape with only verbal slurs, unfortunately we still have a long way to go.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jan 15, 2014 12:58:45 AM


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