New Pew Research Center polling revealed a range of opinions about open marriages among Americans across various demographic groups, with the LGBTQ+ community accepting this relationship arrangement at significantly higher levels than other groups.
According to the study, published Thursday, exactly half of respondents were either somewhat or entirely against open marriages, where both partners agree to pursue relationships or intimacy outside of the marriage. Thirty-seven percent of respondents considered these unions totally unacceptable, while 13 percent deemed them somewhat acceptable.
Researchers also found that adults hold contrasting opinions about open marriages. Half of the respondents expressed disapproval, while 33 percent said they accepted such unions. Divergent perspectives on this issue were evident based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and political affiliation.
The survey revealed a stark contrast between acceptance rates based on sexual orientation. Bisexual, lesbian, and gay adults expressed significantly greater acceptance, at 75 percent, than heterosexual adults, at 29 percent. Even when accounting for age differences, this discrepancy persists.
A substantial portion of opinions were shaped by political affiliation. Sixty-four percent of Republicans deemed open marriages unacceptable, while only 20 percent approved. Democraticviews were more varied, with 47 percent supporting and 36 percent opposing such unions.
Conservative Republicans were the most likely to disapprove, with a 74 percent majority, while liberal Democrats were the most accepting, with 63 percent.
Compared with women, men tended to be more accepting of open marriages, with 36 percent finding them somewhat acceptable versus 30 percent for women.
The background of someone’s race and ethnicity also shaped their viewpoints. Asian adults endorsed open marriage the most, with 44 percent approving. About a third of white (33 percent), Hispanic (32 percent), and Black (31 percent) adults expressed similar support.
In general, younger adults favored open marriages more than older adults. Most respondents under 30 (51 percent) found them acceptable, but their acceptance waned with age.
Only 41 percent of those 30 to 49 approved, 26 percent of those 50 to 64, and only 15 percent of those 65 and older did. Open marriages were unacceptable to 70 percent of respondents in the most senior age bracket.
The marital status of adults also influenced opinion, with 57 percent of married adults and 61 percent of divorced, separated, or widowed adults opposing open marriage — conversely, respondents living with a partner viewed such unions most favorably, with 56 percent in favor.