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Can a Man and Woman Be “Just” Friends With No Sexual Desire, Research Proposal Example

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Research Proposal

Introduction

Men and women interact in many ways in different circumstances. Platonic relationships are a reality but the big question that many cross-sexual platonic friends often ask themselves is: is it possible for sexual desire not to feature in a platonic relationship? Although it is difficult to imagine a time when sexual attraction is out of the picture in any type of relationship between cross-sexual partners, this subject has not been conclusively surveyed in academic researches. This proposal outlines a study that will try to investigate the likelihood of man and woman relating platonically in ways that are not sexual in nature.

According to Floyd, it is men who ordinarily exhibit affectionate behavior whenever they are in socially interactive situations (345). Platonic friendships are very common among peers as well as between people of different social statuses. Affection refers to the central element of every communication process between people who are used to each other’s cordial company and interdependence.

Some people would say that the success of platonic friendships depends on such factors as family ties, age differences, compatibility and relationships in the work environment. Some factors such as social classes and work relations can be debated.

This research aims at determining whether men and men can maintain friendships that are not motivated or driven by sexual desire.

Literature Review

Sex relationships have always been a very core element of determining how people relate with each other in society. The family is the most important institution in every society. This institution is always cemented by sexual attraction. Without sexual attraction, the family cannot be formed. Although heterosexual men and women in platonic friendships are always attracted to each other, whether or not this attraction turns sexual is determined by many relationship variables (Kaplan 202)

The study that was done by Kaplan targeted cross-sex, platonic and close relationships (196). The population was constitution was 83 males and 103 females, all of them heterosexual undergraduates. A survey was done in order to determine their current relationships with their platonic friend who belongs to the cross-sex category. It was found out that sexual attraction during cross-sex friendship situation is characteristic of both sexes, although men are more sexually attracted to women cross-sexually.

Objectives of the Study

  1. to determine whether platonic friendships exist
  2. to investigate the nature of different cross-sex relationships and their influence on platonic social interactions
  3. To find out which social pressures determine the extent to which platonic friendships remain platonic or end up in romance.
  4. To find out whether sexual desire can come in the way of cross-sexual platonic relationships.

Hypothesis

A man and a woman cannot remain friends without sexual desires being experienced by either party.

Theoretical Framework

This study will be carried out using expectancy violations theory. This framework is the same one that Floyd used to investigate the effects of affectionate behavior on friendships (355). In his study, Floyd thoroughly investigated the effects of varying intensities of affection-related behaviors and how they determine the difference between platonic and sexually-motivated relationships.

The main difference between Floyd’s research and this one is that in this one, focus is on platonic friendships and whether they can exist. In Floyd’s research, emphasis is on expectancy-violating changes and how they affect behaviors in relationships.

This research is to be conducted within the context of theoretic frameworks that target various forms of distress in platonic relationships among heterosexuals. This is the kind of framework that defines the nature of a satisfying and fulfilling platonic relationship between people who would otherwise be expected by society to ordinarily wallow and drown in sexual attractions.

Preparatory Work

The study will focus on a population of 50 randomly selected university students who will be supplied with questionnaires, a sample of which is attached to this study proposal. The recipients will also be interviewed. The interview question will relate to the nature of the respondent’s current platonic relationship, pressures that the society puts on the relationship, future prospects for the relationship, and the role played by sexual attraction (if such attraction ever existed in the first place) in weakening or strengthening the relationship.

The random selection of respondents will be done beforehand in order to maintain randomness. All the necessary reference, tabulation, analysis and presentation materials will be made available in order to ensure that the study is completed within the given timeline.

Methods of Data Collection

This research will be carried out through empirical qualitative methods of data collection. These methods include observations, quasi-observations, questionnaires, projective techniques, in-depth interviews, and creative group sessions. The data will be collected using cost-effective manner that makes it easy for it to be analyzed and presented.

Data Analysis and Presentation

The data collected will be analyzed using descriptive and numerical methods. The descriptive methods will facilitate accurate presentation of observations and quasi observations. It will also involve presentation of responses to interview open-ended interview questions. In this case, the information will be presented in a manner that best describes the circumstances in which the response was given Numerical presentation of data will involve averages, percentages, frequency distribution, standard deviation and regression analysis.. The results of the evaluation that will be done on a control group will also be presented.

The data analyzed will be presented using standard writing style, tables, diagrams, charts and figures in order for findings to be easily derived.

Works Cited

Bleske, A, and Buss D. Can men and women be just friends? Austin: University of Texas at Austin, 2000.

Fitz-Gibbons, Carol Tayler. How to Analyze Data. Newbury Park, CA; Sage Publication, 1987.

Floyd, K. (1999) Affectionate Behavior in Adult Platonic Friendships Interpreting and Evaluating Expectancy Violations. Human Communication Research, 25.3 (1999): p.341-69.

Kaplan, L. “Sex and Relationship Variables as Predictors of Sexual Attraction in Cross-Sex Platonic Friendships between Young Heterosexual Adults.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14.2 (1997): p.191-206.

Monsour, M et al. “Challenges confronting cross-sex friendships: Much ado about nothing?” Sex Roles, 31 (1994): p 1-2.

Morris, Lynn Lyons. How to Communicate Evaluation Findings. Newbury Park, CA; Sage Publication, 1987.

Reeder, M. “I Like you… as a Friend’: The Role of Attraction in Cross-Sex Friendship,” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17.3 (2000): p.329-348.

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Research Proposal