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Surveys: More Americans dating online; sex views shift in past decade

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A Pew Research Center study shows there's been a three-fold uptick in young adults who have turned to dating websites to find love.

A total of 15 percent of American adults report they have used online dating sites and/or mobile dating applications, up from 11 percent in 2013. Specifically, 12 percent of American adults have used an online dating site, up from 9 percent in 2013, while 9 percent have used a dating app on their cell phone, up 3 percent.

The growth is attributed to an increased use among the youngest demographic, 18-24, and people in their late 50s and early 60s.

"Today 27 percent of these young adults report that they have done so, up from just 10 percent in early 2013," the Pew Research Center the report says. "Meanwhile, the share of 55- to 64-year-olds who use online dating has doubled over the same time period -- from 6 percent in 2013 to 12 percent in 2015."

About 41 percent of adults said they know someone who uses online dating, while 29 percent said they know someone who has married or entered a long-term relationship with someone they met through online dating.

Although online dating has been viewed more favorably recently, Americans still weigh the pros and cons.

On the positive side, about 80 percent of Americans who used online dating said it is a good way to meet people, 62 percent said it allows people to find a better match and 61 percent said online dating is easier and more efficient than other ways of meeting people.

On the negative side, about 45 percent of online dating users agree online dating is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people, 31 percent said online dating keeps people from settling down -- because they always have more options -- and 16 percent said they believe people who use online dating are desperate.

"Overall, men and women who have used online dating tend to have similar views of the pros and cons -- with one major exception relating to personal safety," the report said. "Some 53 percent of women who have used online dating agree that it is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people, substantially higher than the 38 percent of male online daters who agree with this statement."

In a separate survey, OkCupid reported between 2005 and 2015 the views of its users have shifted.

In 2015, 50 percent of people said they would consider having sex with someone on the first date, down 19 percent since 2005 -- a more traditional shift.

On whether there was "such a thing as having too many sex partners," about 52 percent of people in 2015 said yes, down 18 percent since 2005 -- a more liberal shift.

On whether they could consider having a friendship based only on sex, with no further intent, 61 percent of people said yes in 2015, up 11 percent from 2005.

On whether it was acceptable for a woman to talk openly about her sex life, 86 percent said yes in 2015, up 15 percent from 2005.

And last, but certainly not least, on whether a user needed to have sex with someone before considering marrying them, 76 percent of people said yes last year, up 11 percent from a decade ago.

OkCupid has 12 million users who have a median age of 29 and are mostly college-educated and white. Although not representative of the entire nation, the study could provide insight into the ever-evolving nature of the American sex life.

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