Complete commitment is becoming a rarity in human relationships, and open marriage statistics confirm this trend. Along with other open relationships, such as polyamory, open marriages attract many individualists, especially across Western countries.
While the older population continues to emphasize conventional marriage as a fundamental institution of society, millennials are not ready to shut the door to other enriching experiences for the sake of traditional marriage.
Together with the surprisingly large number of testimonials, these open marriage statistics for 2021 will give you an idea of the upcoming revolution in human relationships and their proportions.
Top 10 Open Relationships Figures and Facts
- Only 29% of millennials believe that marriage and children should be a societal priority.
- Open marriage statistics suggest that 80%-90% of people in open marriages felt happier after they started to engage in swinging.
- European open marriage statistics show that CNM people are less satisfied with their sexual life than people in monogamous relationships.
- Canadians in their 20s and 40s are most likely to be in an open marriage, statistics show.
- Demographics show that other non-Hispanic individuals were more likely than Caucasians to report open relationships.
- 42% of OkCupid.com users were interested in dating someone in an open or polyamorous relationship, open relationship statistics show.
- Open relationship statistics show that 22% of Americans who approve of open relationships believe that the concept of marriage is outdated.
- Mainstream open marriage statistics show that 1 in 5 single Americans has engaged in some form of a consensual, non-monogamous relationship.
- A Canadian survey shows 23.2% of polyamorous people lived in a household where a child under 19 was present.
- Open relationship statistics show that 1 in 4 polyamorous individuals have experienced some type of discrimination.
Open Relationship Statistics in the US
As with all non-standard societal notions, honest accounts, and realistic numbers on open relationships/marriages are hard to obtain. We did the legwork for you, and here is what we found out about Americans’ perspective on this matter.
1. Only 29% of millennials believe that marriage and children should be a societal priority.
A recent Pew survey questioned whether marriage and children should be society’s number one priority and if they think those two things are most beneficial to society. The results were drastically different for older and younger generations.
While 61% of people over 65 thought that marriage and having children should be a priority in society, only 29% of millennials shared the same view. What’s more, 69% of them said that “other priorities” can be just as beneficial to society.
2. Open relationship statistics show that 40% of men and 25% of women would change their monogamous relationship to a consensual, non-monogamous relationship if open relationships were the norm.
A significant percent of men (40%) and a quarter of the women surveyed in a recent study said that they would consider “opening” their relationship if the consensual, non-monogamous (CNM) relationships were more socially acceptable.
The research showed that some people could be characterized as strictly monogamous, some as entirely non-monogamous, and some as somewhere in between these opposite sides.
3. Open marriage statistics suggest that 80%-90% of people in open marriages felt happier after they started to engage in swinging.
A 2008 study involving 1092 individuals in open marriages showed that 80%-90% of them felt happier after entering the swinging lifestyle. Over 60% thought that swinging improved their unsatisfying marriage, and 49% were happy before swing reported being even happier.
Half of those who reported being happy before this lifestyle change reported higher marriage satisfaction rates than before. The convenience of online dating plays a big part in the increasing number of these kinds of meetings.
4. Open relationship statistics show that 22% of Americans who approve of open relationships believe that the concept of marriage is outdated.
A 2016 Avvo survey found that American attitudes about relationships have drastically changed in a short time. 22% of Americans who approve of open relationships stated that the marriage concept is outdated, and almost 60% said they would date someone married.
Surprisingly, the same Avvo poll shows that most of these respondents (92%) believe that their relationship is meant to last. This means that they have identical expectations for the longevity of their relationship as monogamous individuals.
5. Mainstream open marriage statistics show that 1 in 5 single Americans has engaged in some form of a consensual, non-monogamous relationship.
(Vanier Institute; CMAJ)
According to 2010 estimates made by Deborah Anapol, the author of “Polyamory in the Twenty-First Century,” the number of Americans who were in an open and polyamorous relationship during that time exceeded 500,000 in numbers.
More precisely, her estimations show that in the US, as much as one in 500 individuals is either polyamorous or has been in a polyamorous relationship.
6. 4% of American couples are in a CMN relationship, as per open relationship statistics in the US.
A US study on a nationally representative sample showed that 4% of people in a relationship considered it “open.” 8% of the participants who were in a relationship defined their relationship as nonconsensual non-monogamous.
Additionally, a staggering 38% of the gay/lesbian and bisexual participants in this study reported being in consensual, non-monogamous relationships.
Transgender participants were also more numerous in reporting a CNM relationship, accounting for 4% of these relationships’ total relationships in the study.
International Open Relationships Stats
Now that we’ve seen how open relationships and marriages are perceived in America let’s see how the rest of the world perceives and engages in open interpersonal relationships.
Building a stable, healthy relationship is not easy, but contrary to popular belief, people in open relationships may face more challenges than monogamous couples.
7. European open marriage statistics show that CNM people are less satisfied with their sexual life than people in monogamous relationships.
Sexual satisfaction ratings that were part of a 2017 research article comparing monogamous and consensually non-monogamous couples in the 28 EU member states indicated that open relationships, contrary to popular belief, are not as sexually satisfying for the Europeans as conventional relationships.
According to this research, the satisfactory ratio was 82% for conventional relationships and 71% for open relationships, which was conducted on 11,000 Europeans over 18 years of age.
8. More than half of polyamorous relationships in Canada involve a married couple, open relationship statistics suggest.
(CMAJ; Vanier Institute)
Statistical data from a Canadian survey involving 547 polyamorous individuals shows that, while most polyamorous people were unmarried, more than half of them were in a relationship involving a married couple (61.2%).
Regarding the number of people involved in these relationships, 64.6% reported that their relationship was composed of three people. In 17.9% of cases, the relationship involved four people, and in 13.8% of cases, the relationship was composed of six or more individuals.
9. Canadians in their 20s and 40s are most likely to be in an open marriage, statistics show.
It’s more logical to conclude that younger married couples would be more inclined to enter an open marriage. Still, a recent survey shows that Canadians in their 40s are just as likely to engage in open marriages as couples in their 20s.
The background motivation for these statements is the lack of sexual exploitation in their younger years, for the couples in their 40s, and the consequential fear of missing out on sexual experiences.
10. A Canadian survey shows 23.2% of polyamorous people lived in a household where a child under 19 was present.
(Vanier Institute; CMAJ)
Many open marriages involve children, and according to the open relationship stats obtained through a Canadian survey, almost 75% of people in open, polyamorous relationships are of child-bearing age.
Furthermore, almost one-quarter (23.2%) of those responding to a 2016 online survey in Canada stated that at least one child below 19 was living in a polyamorous household, under the full-time care of a parent or one or many guardians.
8.7% of the respondents said that at least one child lives part-time in their polyamorous household.
11. Open relationship statistics show that 1 in 4 polyamorous individuals have experienced some type of discrimination.
Individuals engaged in open marriages and other polyamorous relationships are often victims of discrimination that is linked to their polyamorous lifestyle. This is frequently the case when such an individual has to discuss their status for medically necessary disclosure.
Discrimination against these people was also observed in the medical care they received during pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, legal arguments were collected and presented to the authorities, conceptualizing polyamory as a sexual orientation that should be included within the anti-discrimination legislation.
12. Women in open marriages can experience sexuality changes following a bisexual encounter, according to open relationship facts.
JK Dixon, the author of “Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences,” observed the changes in women’s sexuality that were part of a heterosexual of open-marriage couples after different sexual experiences.
In this research conducted by in-depth interviews with 50 women over 30, who were engaged in an open marriage, the author found out that even with no previous record of homosexuality, women realized that they were bisexual after having a sexual encounter with another woman.
13. Men and sexual minorities are most likely to engage in open relationships, open marriage statistics suggest.
A 2018 study reveals that men and sexual minorities are primarily over-represented in open relationships. In this study, 61% of individuals in open relationships were heterosexual, and only 39% involved in such relationships were women.
Some forms of CNM, such as polyamory, seem to be more common in sexual and gender minorities. For example, roughly 38% of queer women between the ages of 18 and 36 prefer non-completely monogamous relationships.
Other open relationship stats show that gay or bisexual men are more likely to engage in CNM than any other group. Further studies point to a rapidly increasing number, with projections stating that the overall numbers of open unions will continue to grow.
14. Demographics show that other non-Hispanic individuals were more likely than Caucasians to report open relationships.
The most recent research on open relationships shows an entirely different demographic picture than that observed in 2014. In terms of race, the prevalence of open relationships was found to be more significant in other, non-Hispanic individuals than in Caucasians.
Following this research, the reporting of open relationships was not influenced in any way by education or income, as previously suspected.
15. 42% of OkCupid.com users were interested in dating someone in an open or polyamorous relationship, open relationship statistics show.
Statistics dating from 2016 show that a large percent of OkCupid.com users were interested in dating someone in an open relationship. Today, according to OkCupid.com, the majority of their registered users fall into the non-monogamous category.
Luckily, the modern-day Internet is accepting and welcomes individuals of all sexual preferences and orientations that used to be taboo. Whether you feel more comfortable trying online dating on exclusively gay dating sites, lesbian dating sites, or just want to share your kinks with others — there’s a place for everyone.
However, the term non-monogamous can encompass different practices, and it could mean an occasional threesome or a single trip to a swing club. Consequently, these data show interest in non-monogamous dating, but not the actual figures illustrating such practices’ prevalence.
What percentage of open relationships work?
Confusing results are swirling around the internet that present conflicting results concerning the success of open relationships.
While some psychiatrists claim that human nature can’t make open relationships work, recent data from the University of Rochester, presented by Science Daily, shows no notable difference between consensual monogamous and non-monogamous relationships in terms of success.
Instead, what is clearly discernible from the results is that groups of partially open and one-sided non-monogamous relationships failed in 60% of cases.
Is it legal to have an open marriage?
In countries where adultery is punishable by law, open marriages are also considered illegal, regardless of the mutual consent between spouses. Most countries tolerate infidelity, but in some, stoning is still practiced as a form of punishment.
Adultery is illegal in 21 American States. However, these statutes and regulations have a merely symbolic value since no actual enforcement, and adulterers don’t really risk persecution.
Adultery is prohibited in Islamic countries. In Taiwan and Indonesia, adulterers can serve one to several years in prison.
What does it mean to have an open marriage?
(Ranker) (Urban Dictionary)
Open marriage is a term related to the practice of non-monogamous marriage. Nena and George O’Neill introduced it in 1972 with the publishing of their book “Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples,” which became a national bestseller.
A married couple enters an open marriage when they decide to allow additional sexual and emotional partners in it while not seeing these practices as adultery. Open marriages are based on their individual open marriage rules and ideals such as equality, mutual respect, and honesty.
What percentage of open marriages end in divorce?
The analysis of the open marriage’s pros and cons shows that spouses engaged in an open marriage face all the hardships of conventional marriages and a few more, such as public scrutiny and degradation, jealousy, time management, STDs protection, emotional confusion, etc.
However, there is no definitive evidence that open marriages are doing worse than conventional marriages, which, more often than not, end in divorce (51%). One should keep in mind that returning to a monogamous marriage model is always an option for these couples if both sides agree.
Is an open relationship healthy?
A recent study conducted by the University of Guelph showed that people in an open relationship are just as happy as couples in conventional relationships. Individuals practicing open relationships displayed a good level of self-esteem, satisfaction rate, and overall well-being.
While sexual freedom might seem an attractive and exciting concept, certain aspects need to be addressed before entering an open relationship, such as safe sex practices, honesty, jealousy, and emotional extent. Respecting the previously outlined rules is not always the case in open relationships, and this, according to experts, can lead to the degradation of the relationship.
What it’s like to be in an open relationship?
There are no universal conventions or rules that are supposed to be followed when entering an open relationship. It all comes down to individual experiences, which in turn are conditioned by honesty and agreement between the concerned individuals.
Online sources are abundant in open marriage stories and different testimonials that describe almost every aspect of open relationships. They frequently state that an open relationship is a more practical way of satisfying sexual needs and other needs, too, like emotional or even material ones, which in those cases don’t depend on only one person.
Open relationship statistics that precisely characterize this social phenomenon are severely deficient in modern research.
As with any other intimate aspects of an individual’s life, gathering information on the extent, rules, risks, and benefits of an open marriage or any other type of open relationship is a challenging task. However, one thing is certain – the social stigma surrounding the open relationship models and practices is slowly but surely diminishing.
Consequently, creativity is gaining ground in the aspect of dating and forming relationships. The convenience of dating sites and abundant advice on open relationship rules makes us wonder if we’re about to see larger numbers in open marriage statistics in the future.