Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

William Ickes


Previous findings indicate that heterosexual female customers are more comfortable working with gay male—relative to straight male or female—sales associates in retail departments where apparel and beauty products are sold. However, researchers have not tested whether women’s comfort with gay male sales associates influences women’s likelihood to purchase the products that are recommended by them. In the present studies, I tested whether women’s increased comfort influences their likelihood to purchase from gay men, and I examined when this effect is most likely to occur. Specifically, I advanced the hypothesis that women are more likely to purchase from gay salesmen who recommend appearance-enhancing products that are used by women to attract potential mates. Study 1 revealed that women’s heightened comfort and trust consulting with a gay male sales associate may be associated with women’s increased intention to purchase from him. Study 2 experimentally demonstrated that women—but not men—are more likely to purchase appearance-enhancing products from gay male sales associates than from straight male or straight female sales associates. Study 3 replicated and extended these results by revealing that women’s increased likelihood to purchase these products from gay men was evident in a context in which women intended to attract a mate with the products. This set of findings not only aligns with previous psychological research examining women’s relational trust in gay men, but it also provides practical implications for business research and managerial decisions in retail settings.


Gay-straight relationships, Heterosexual women, Homosexual men, Relationship marketing, Purchase intent, Retail, Consumer behavior


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons