American singles, according to a new study, are optimistic about love, celebrating diversity and focusing less on "outdated traditions," says Indiana University evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia.
Garcia, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Gender Studies and research scientist at The Kinsey Institute at IU Bloomington, also is scientific advisor for the international online dating site Match.com, which recently released the results of its fourth annual Singles in America study.
Here are some of the findings:
*Breaking barriers: 75 percent of singles would date someone from a different ethnic background, while 70 percent of singles would date someone of a different religious background. More than half of singles approve of partners having children out of wedlock (54 percent of men; 52 percent of women).
*First dates are found online: Meeting online is the No. 1 way singles met their last first date (31 percent), ahead of meeting through a friend (25 percent). Singles are more than three times more likely to have met their most recent first date online than through work (8 percent) or a bar/club (6 percent).
*Date around: Dating more than one person at a time isn't taboo for women; in fact, 72 percent of women think it's OK to casually date more than one person simultaneously (vs. 60 percent of men).
*Ask him out: 92 percent of single men are comfortable with a woman asking them out on a date.
Garcia blogged about some of the sex-related findings, writing that "sexual satisfaction can predict a wide range of outcomes, stretching from one's sense of happiness, to health factors, and even the likelihood of breaking up."
Here are a couple of stats from his blog post and the study:
*More, more, more: 68 percent of single men and 57 percent of single women want to have more sex this year compared to last -- just not every day of the week. Singles report they ideally would have sex two to three times a week, with only 15 percent of single men and 12 percent of single women pining for sex every day with a familiar partner.
*What number? 21 percent of women and 23 percent of men have altered the number of sexual partners they’ve had in the past when asked, either by increasing or decreasing the figure. Nearly half of singles simply don’t want to know their partner's sexual history (56 percent of men and 48 percent of women).
*First date do's and don'ts: More men than women find kissing (85 percent of men vs. 70 percent of women), oral sex (39 percent of men vs. 7 percent of women) and sexual intercourse (37 percent of men vs. 8 percent women) to be appropriate on a first date.
Despite some obvious differences, the findings indicate that men and women are more alike than different when it comes to love and sex, Garcia said.
"The findings demonstrate that for a vast majority of the 111 million singles in America, across a wide range of demographics -- gender, age, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity -- dating, sex and love are an important part of their lives," he said. "If we want to know how to promote and maintain healthy and successful romantic relationships, sexual behavior is an undeniable part of that. We must continue to talk openly and honestly about human sexuality, with all its ups and downs and wonderful variety."
The study involved a representative sample of 5,329 men and women ages 21 to 70 plus.