A new dating app for people desiring non-monogamous, open relationships has drawn 70,000 users since it launched last month. The app’s website bills it as an anti-cheating alternative for members who are “liberated from the confines of conventional, old-fashioned, repressed ways of loving.”
The app, called OpenMinded, claims it caters to the growing number of people interested in “unconventional relationship configurations.” OpenMinded founder, Brandon Wade, launched the app in the midst of what he calls a shift in societal ideals: “Society has come to a point where marriage has taken a downward turn because it no longer satisfies the needs of the modern woman or man.”
But while conservative social analysts acknowledge a trend towards more casual sex, they argue Wade’s claims that most Americans are unsatisfied with monogamous marriage don’t hold up to facts. Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, notes the vast majority of Americans don’t accept or desire a marriage that allows for extramarital affairs.
Sheffield points to a Gallup survey released last week that found only 8 percent of Americans view married men or women having an affair as morally acceptable. That number increased just 1 percent from 2001 to 2015, while acceptance for other moral issues, like homosexual relationships and having a baby outside marriage, jumped 23 percent and 15 percent respectively during the same time period.
OpenMinded follows the familiar path of online dating sites and apps: become a member, create a profile, connect with other users. But the app allows users to identify what kind of relationship configuration they want, and how many users they would like to connect with.
Member “Jessie” is married with two grown children and lives in the Washington, D.C., area. On her profile, she describes herself as an “interesting, introspective, happily married D.C. professional,” who is “into building deep and loving relationships that add to the joy and aliveness of being human,” shetold The Washington Post. She calls her approach “ethical non-monogamy” and says she and her husband have a close, intimate, committed relationship. She says she is open with him about weekly dates with one of her four extramarital partners.
Wade argues traditional marriage restrictions are unnecessary in this modern era: “If you look at marriage, it developed as a survival strategy and a means of raising kids,” Wade told the Post. “But relationships are no longer a necessary component of life. People have careers and other interests—they can survive without them.”
Sheffield disagrees. Statistics show monogamous marriage is still the best arrangement for adult and, especially, child flourishing, she said. Inside a stable marriage, children are less likely to be poor, drop out of high school, do drugs, or commit a crime, according to Heritage research.
“Marital stability matters for children,” Sheffield said. “A mother and a father who are committed provide children the greatest opportunity to thrive. Where do the children come into this brave new world of sexual relationships?”