June July 2016
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The Advocate

OkCupid Makes an Appeal to the Polyamorous

OkCupid

Online dating site OkCupid is launching a new feature aimed at the polyamorous.

Starting today, users who are listed as “seeing someone,” “married,” or “in an open relationship” will be able link their profile to their partner’s and search for others to participate in their relationship, reports The Atlantic. It has been available to some users on a trial basis since last month.

The move comes in response to increased interest in nonmonogamous relationships, The Atlantic notes. Twenty-four percent of OkCupid users indicate they are “seriously interested” in group sex, and 42 percent say they would consider dating someone who is already in an open or polyamorous relationship; both figures are up eight percentage points from five years ago. The proportion of users who say they are strictly monogamous has fallen from 56 percent to 44 percent over the same period.

“It seems that now people are more open to polyamory as a concept,” OkCupid chief product officer Jimena Almendares told The Atlantic.

That’s supported by figures quoted in the most recent print edition of The Advocate. “The data from a March 2015 Gallup poll clearly shows a growing tolerance for relationships and situations outside the bounds of traditional monogamous marriage,” reports writer Brenden Shucart. In the 2015 poll, “tolerance for ‘polygamy’ is up to 16 percent, which may not seem like much, but it’s more than twice the 7 percent who found it to be morally acceptable in 2001,” he continues.

(RELATED: Polyamory By the Numbers)

He also notes that most practitioners of polyamory differentiate it from polygamy, as the latter generally refers to a relationship in which there are multiple wives for one husband, while the gender mix in polyamorous relationships varies widely. But many, including the Gallup pollsters, tend to lump the two together.

Shucart also quotes studies indicating 4 percent to 5 percent of Americans participate in some form of consensual nonmonogamy. A 2012 survey found a high proportion of polyamorous people identifying as bisexual — about half the women respondents and about a fifth of the men reported they’d had sex with people of both genders in the preceding 12 months.

OkCupid’s new feature is groundbreaking, The Atlantic notes. “Though specialized dating sites for polyamorous people exist, this appears to be the first instance of a mainstream online-dating platform allowing two users to search for sexual partners together, as a unit,” the publication reports.

OkCupid’s parent company, Match Group, also owns Tinder and Match.com, but the linking feature is not coming to those sites, at least for now, Almendares told The Atlantic.

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