What do Canadians think about love, intimacy, and monogamy?
Findings from the MACLIC study, co-directed by two UQAM professors
February 8, 2024 – Canadians have different ideas and values regarding intimate relationships. What are their main ideals? In 2022, more than 3000 participants aged 18+ participated in the Mapping Contemporary Love and Intimacy Ideals in Canada (MACLIC) project, based at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and co-directed by Professor Chiara Piazzesi and Professor Martin Blais, Faculty of Human Sciences. The researchers established five attitude profiles regarding values, expectations and ideals in matters of intimacy and love.
“The five profiles are located on a spectrum. At one end of this spectrum, we find people holding very romantic, traditional ideas and conceptions of intimate relationships (14.8% of the sample) – participants who endorse monogamy, sexual and affective exclusivity and who believe in love as an inescapable force uniting partners ‘made for each other’, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, we find people cultivating a very modern conception of love and intimacy (18.1% of the sample), who, to different extents, reject exclusivity and monogamy, as well as the belief that true love happens only once in one’s lifetime.”Chiara Piazzesi
All-in Romantic (14.8%)
All-in Romantic individuals believe that love unites two partners who are destined for each other. They want committed relationships that are sexually and romantically exclusive and believe that love can overcome any obstacle.
Reasonably Romantic (44.8%)
This profile, which represents almost half of the sample, is composed of individuals who hold a rather neutral stance regarding both romantic and modern ideals: they tepidly endorse romantic ideas, while they express a slightly negative view of more modern conceptions of intimacy (non-monogamy and uncommitted sex).
Cautiously Modern (16.8%)
Participants in this profile endorse the idea that love can overcome any obstacle. While they reject consensual non-monogamy, they regard uncommitted sex as acceptable. For these individuals, romantic exclusivity remains an important feature of an intimate relationship.
Mostly Modern (5.6%)
Mostly modern participants reject the belief in the exclusiveness of love but agree to a certain extent that love can overcome all obstacles. While they strongly endorse consensual non-monogamy, they disapprove of uncommitted sex, thus affirming that a committed relationship remains the ideal context in which to experience sexual encounters.
All-in Modern (18.1%)
All-in Modern individuals reject romantic ideas (for instance, the fact that love can overcome all obstacles) and clearly endorse consensual non-monogamy and sex without commitment.
Key findings on the sociodemographic composition of the profiles
“Ideas and beliefs about love and sexuality combine in different ways in Canadian society. Such combinations, or profiles, are observed to varying degrees in different sociodemographic groups.”Martin Blais
- The most modern profiles (“All-in Modern” and “Mostly Modern”) show a significantly higher proportion of younger people. The “Mostly Modern” profile is the youngest.
- The two most modern profiles (”All-in Modern” and “Mostly Modern”) also comprise a higher proportion of LGBQ+ people.
- The most modern profiles (“All-in Modern” and “Mostly Modern”) show a significantly higher proportion of people in a non-monogamous relationship, while participants in a monogamous relationship are mostly present in the other three profiles (more romantically / traditionally inclined).
- The two more romantic profiles (“Reasonably Romantic” and “All-In Romantic”) comprise a higher proportion of men, while “Cautiously Modern” shows a higher proportion of women.
- Single people not dating anyone are more present in the “All-in Romantic” and in the “Cautiously Modern” profiles.
More information on the sample can be provided upon request.
The MACLIC project and its team
MACLIC is a 5-year research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and based at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The main objective is to document and describe current individual attitudes towards different conceptions of intimate relationships, as well as intimate arrangements among the Canadian population. MACLIC will provide data on aspects of our everyday life, such as ideas and practices in love and sexuality, that are of crucial importance for our personal and collective well-being.
These results are jointly presented by the ERICA Research Chair and by the Research Chair on Sexual Diversity and Gender Plurality (both at UQAM).
Chiara Piazzesi and Martin Blais are available for interviews.
Conseillère en communication
Division des relations avec la presse et événements spéciaux
Service des communications
Tél.: 514 987-3000, poste 3268
Cell.: 514 297-2771