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There is currently little knowledge about what gay men and lesbians seek in a romantic relationship. This study extends the literature on gay men and lesbians' partnership preferences by engaging in the first large-scale empirical study of the long-term dating intentions and monogamy beliefs of gay and lesbian online daters across 53 regions in 8 European countries (N=24,598). Looking at profile and preference information, the authors examined both individual and contextual determinants in a series of multilevel logistic regression analyses. They show that lesbians give more importance to monogamy but show less interest in starting a long-term relationship. The data also reveal the importance of life course aspects such as relationship history and presence of children. Finally, the authors empirically demonstrate that social tolerance and legal recognition of same-sex unions are associated with higher long-term dating intentions and stronger monogamy beliefs.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Marriage and Family

Publication Date





523 - 541