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J Sex Res. 2017 Jul-Aug;54(6):677-684. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1178208. Epub 2016 May 23.

Has the American Public's Interest in Information Related to Relationships Beyond "The Couple" Increased Over Time?

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a National Center for Institutional Diversity and Department of Women's Studies, University of Michigan , Ann Arbor.


Finding romance, love, and sexual intimacy is a central part of our life experience. Although people engage in romance in a variety of ways, alternatives to "the couple" are largely overlooked in relationship research. Scholars and the media have recently argued that the rules of romance are changing, suggesting that interest in consensual departures from monogamy may become popular as people navigate their long-term coupling. This study utilizes Google Trends to assess Americans' interest in seeking out information related to consensual nonmonogamous relationships across a 10-year period (2006-2015). Using anonymous Web queries from hundreds of thousands of Google search engine users, results show that searches for words related to polyamory and open relationships (but not swinging) have significantly increased over time. Moreover, the magnitude of the correlation between consensual nonmonogamy Web queries and time was significantly higher than popular Web queries over the same time period, indicating this pattern of increased interest in polyamory and open relationships is unique. Future research avenues for incorporating consensual nonmonogamous relationships into relationship science are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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