Romance is back in fashion

A survey released in London on Valentine’s Day indicates that the attitudes embodied in Sex and the City are over — and 2005 heralds a return to romance. Casual sex and pornography are no longer popular and singles are looking to be swept off their feet.

Long-term relationships are also back in fashion, according to 73% of the 2 500 Britons interviewed during a six-week survey carried out for the dating website

The respondents believe monogamy is essential for a lasting relationship; 87% said it was a core way of demonstrating love and commitment.

Martin Raymond, director of the Future Laboratory in London, which carried out the research, said the results were different according to age groups.

“The under-30s had an idea of romance and they felt incredibly strongly about fidelity and monogamy and the need to meet that one person, fall in love with them and live with them.

“But if you went to people between 34 and 45, infidelity was not such an issue and monogamy was something they were cynical about. They were more concerned with co-habiting than marriage.’’

There had been a real shift in the two years since it last carried out such research. “In 2003, there were incredibly high ratings for pornography and recreational sex,’’ he added.

Women are still cynical about Internet dating and are likely to seek endorsement from their friends before embarking on dates, he said. Salary, career and status were now issues on which a date’s suitability was judged. “A couple of years ago, these did not come up.’’

The survey found that once men and women have made the decision actively to seek a relationship, they want to know as quickly as possible if an online flirtation could develop into romance. It was not unusual for a couple to move in with each other after a couple of weeks.

One interviewee said: “Meeting people over the Internet and through other forms of technology can cause an initial high. Forming e-mail relationships is very different to traditional dating. You can be more expressive and open with a fast turnover.’’

The downside of Internet dating is that the possibility of rejection is high and there is little time to get to know partners before attempting to make a decision.

Marriage is far less important than it was to previous generations and often the ceremony is put off until people are in their late 30s or even 40s.

As women become more economically independent, they are less likely to take on the roles of cooking, cleaning and child care. Men are having to share the homemaking.

Judi James, a relationship and body language expert, said: “People want to find someone who is quite like themselves. They would like to find someone to whom they can come home and have a good moan.’’ — Â

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