Half Of College-Aged Adults Not Opposed To Open Relationships, Avvo Study Reveals

By Megan (Weyrauch) Johnson on September 24, 2015

Many college campuses are basic breeding grounds for open relationships. But do you know how many college students really approve of the practice?

Maybe it won’t surprise you too much to learn a recent press release revealed that a 2015 Avvo, Inc. study of relationship trends across the U.S. finds that half of college-aged Americans are not opposed to being in an open relationship, defined as a relationship in which both parties consent to sleeping with others.

Also noted was that 49 percent of Americans aged 18-23 and 43 percent of those aged 24-32 say they are morally opposed to the idea of open relationships as compared to 56 percent of people over age 33.

In the release, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, noted sociologist and sexologist from the University of Washington, attributed this acceptance of open relationships to experimentation that is common in this age group.

“When we’re young and out in the world on our own for the first time, we’re more apt to experiment with our romantic relationships and be open to new experiences when it comes to love and sex,” Schwartz said. “As this generation ages, it will be interesting to see if their views will evolve to accept open relationships less, or if they will continue to accept the idea of open relationships as they marry.”

When it comes to marriage as a life goal, college-aged Americans may be more like their parents than those only a few years older than them, according to the release. A quarter of Americans 24-32 say marriage should be a life goal whereas 20 percent of 18 to 23-year-olds and 17 percent of those over age 33 feel the same way.

Additionally, when it comes to attitudes around the relevance of marriage as an institution, 12 percent of 18 to 23-year-olds and 8 percent of those 33 and over believe marriage is an outdated institution, compared to 19 percent of those 24-32 who hold the same view.

On associating children with marriage, 15 percent of Americans 18-23 believe an unwed couple who has a child together should get married in comparison to 24 percent of those 24-32 and 22 percent of those 33 and older who agree.

Approximately 75 percent of all age groups disagree that married couples who no longer want to be in a romantic relationship or who’ve lost the spark with their spouse should definitely get a divorce.

“With divorce rates trending upward overall over the past 50 years, and with many of these young adults growing up in homes where divorced parents and remarriage were the norm, it comes as no surprise that there is a significant number of people who believe that divorce is a reasonable and validated choice when romance fades,” Schwartz said. “The percent of young people who are less invested in marriage as an institution shows a generational vision of marital fragility and perceived limits to the idea of life-time marriage.”

The leading online legal marketplace connecting consumers and lawyers, Avvo offers on-demand, affordable legal advice through Avvo Advisor®, which delivers a highly reviewed lawyer for 15 minutes over the phone – anytime, anywhere – available online or via a free app for iOS devices.

Avvo’s lawyer directory provides Avvo-rated profiles, client reviews, and peer endorsements for 97 percent of all lawyers in the U.S., so consumers can find the lawyer who’s right for them.

Conducting periodic studies of topics at the intersection of lifestyle and law to better understand issues facing individuals engaging with attorneys and the legal system, Avvo’s lawyers answer questions about divorce, prenuptial agreements and family law in the company’s Q&A forum everyday as well as through Avvo Advisor.

Visit Avvo.com for additional resources about marriage and divorce or to find a divorce or family lawyer in your area.

If you are interested in how this poll was conducted, the methodology for the poll is shown below, taken directly from the press release.


These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted May 11-15, 2015. For the survey, a sample of 2,011 U.S. adults age 18 and over was interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, region, and household income based on Census data.

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