Young adults, as well as Democrats, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those living with a partner are most accepting of open marriages — “a marriage where both spouses agree that they can date or have sex with other people” — Pew Research Center found.
The survey, which was conducted with 5,073 respondents between April 10-16 and published in September, found that more than half (51 percent) of young adults ages 18-29 say open marriages are “acceptable.” Young adults are the age group most likely to hold this view, with older adults expressing less support as they increase in age.
“Fewer than half of those ages 30 to 49 (41 percent) say these marriages are acceptable, as do 26 percent of those 50 to 64 and 15 percent of those 65 and older. And 70 percent of adults 65 and older say these marriages are unacceptable,” according to the survey report.
Overall, U.S. adults are more unsupportive of open marriages, with 33 percent calling them “acceptable,” and 50 percent calling them “unacceptable.” Sixteen percent of respondents say open marriage is “neither” acceptable nor unacceptable.
Young, Gay, Democrats be like 'Hell yeah, open marriage!' pic.twitter.com/BF9EEz3BX5
— Polling USA (@USA_Polling) September 15, 2023
Acceptance of open marriages is most prominent among adults who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual, with 75 percent calling open marriages “acceptable,” compared to 29 percent of heterosexual individuals.
Individuals who say they are living with their partner but are not married are also among the groups most accepting of open marriages at 56 percent, as are people who have never been married (47 percent). In contrast, 57 percent of married adults and 61 percent of divorced, separated, or widowed adults say open marriages are “unacceptable.”
By political affiliation, Democrats are more accepting (47 percent) of open marriages than Republicans (20 percent).
“Views among Democrats are more mixed: 47 percent say these kinds of marriages are acceptable and 36 percent say they are unacceptable. As may be expected, conservative Republicans are the most likely to say these marriages are unacceptable (74 percent), while liberal Democrats are the most likely to say they are acceptable (63 percent),” the survey report states.