Internet Bringing Mates Together

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 16 (UPI) — Having Internet access in the home increases the likelihood that adults will be in a romantic relationship, U.S. researchers say.

The Internet is especially important for bringing together same-sex couples, and could someday replace friends as the main way Americans meet romantic partners, a report given at a meeting of the American Sociological Association said.

A study found 82.2 percent of participants who had Internet access at home also had a spouse or romantic partner, compared to a 62.8-percent partnership rate for adults who did not have Internet access, the report said.

“Our research suggests that Internet access has an important role to play in helping Americans find mates,” Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University and the lead author of the study, said.

The study also found the Internet is the one social arena unambiguously gaining significance as a place where couples meet.

The Internet is especially important for finding potential partners in groups where the supply is small or difficult to identify such as in the gay, lesbian and middle-aged heterosexual communities, researchers said.

“Couples who meet online are much more likely to be same-sex couples, and somewhat more likely to be from different religious backgrounds,” Rosenfeld said.

“The Internet is not simply a new and more efficient way to keep in touch with our existing networks; rather the Internet is a new kind of social intermediary that may reshape the kinds of partners and relationships we have,” he said.

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