Romantic relationships in India are no longer always conservative. The survey found that nearly 60% of Indians are unfaithful to their partners, and some Indians have begun to try new romantic relationships such as openness.

Marriage has long been considered sacred and exclusive by Indians, but now more and more Indian couples are turning to extramarital affairs and even becoming practitioners of open relationships.

One wonders: How did India move from marriage to free love?

The path of transformation of Indian love relationships is open, BDSM is right

Dating app company Gleeden partnered with market research firm IPSOS to conduct a survey in February 2023 that surveyed 1,503 married Indians aged 25 to 50 from big cities about their views on marriage.

The world has thus been able to understand the main reasons why Indians are unfaithful to marriage and the evolving love relationships in Indian society today, and the three main findings of the study are as follows:

Faithfulness to your only partner is no longer an iron rule:

57% said they were unfaithful to their partner; 55% of respondents said they like to have intimate contact with someone other than their partner; 44% believe that it is possible to fall in love with two people at the same time; 37% believe that cheating and loving a partner are not incompatible.

2. The pandemic has changed people's perception of infidelity:

Nearly a quarter of Indians said they no longer oppose infidelity after the pandemic, with 22% switching to open relationships and are now in non-monogamous relationships.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Third, diversified new love practices:

  1. Open relationships
    Open relationships based on informed consent between partners and free expansion of the dating space have gradually become a new landscape of Indian love relationships.
  2. Change couples
    Swapping means "sharing a partner" with others, a concept that strikes directly at traditional monogamy. Among Indians aged 34-50, 17% are willing to try changing spouses.
  3. homosexual
    With the legalization of homosexual behavior in India, 16% of Gen Z young people are more willing to speak out as homosexual.
  4. BDSM
    21% of men are keen on BDSM, which involves dominance and obedience, and about 30% of Indians say they like to be spanked once or twice during sex.
  5. Threesome
    Throuple, which has nothing to do with gender or sexual identity, is increasingly admired by those who only want to follow the fun.

As more and more Indians challenge traditional socio-cultural norms, the concept of romantic relationships and marriage in India continues to evolve, once again showing that lust is a fluid rather than a fixed concept.

At the forefront of this change, it can be expected that Indians will be able to gain a safe and secure space in an increasingly open landscape. One day pursuing the loved one on your own terms will be a majority.

(Also screened: Day & Night American Secret Sex Fetishes BDSM)

How traditional Indians love

However, although the transformation of romantic relationships in India reflects the rise of individualism, there are still many Indians who embrace traditional monogamy, so we also want to take you to understand India's traditional marriage culture - arranged marriage.

India's arranged marriage, as the name implies, is a system in which parents or marriage agencies are introduced in the middle, and the right man and woman enter into marriage. At first, it was a high-ranking caste group, which was formulated to protect their social status and money, and only later slowly spread and was adopted by other castes.

It is worth noting that with the development of technology, online platforms have shared the role of traditional matchmakers, so India's matchmaking culture is no longer a physical introduction, but can be matched online through more than 1,500 dating websites in India.
Users only need to enter personal information such as height, weight, occupation, religion, photo, caste class and so on on the website, and through the big data system, they can quickly find the ideal partner across the country, thus attracting many people of marriageable age to use.

Murugavel Janakiraman, founder of the marriage website Matrimony, said that because Indian dating websites know more about India's dating ecology, and it appeared in about 2010, dating apps Tinder, Happn, OkCupid, and Bumble that entered India long before 2016, the number of users is more.

However, although Indians seem to have some control over the relationship and can choose the partner according to their preferences, we can still see the traditional thinking behind the Indian marriage culture.

Image | Courtesy of Netflix

Watch the battle over marriage culture from the Netflix documentary "Indian Matchmaker"

 Netflix's recent documentary "Indian Matchmaker" may help you actually see a corner of Indian matchmaking culture and the controversy behind it.

"Indian Matchmaker" tells the story of how Sima Tataria, an Indian matchmaker who claims to be "Mumbai's top matchmaker", shuttles between Delhi, Mumbai and several major cities in the United States, connecting thousands of American and Indian men and women to marry.

When the pictures of how these Indians choose a mate and enter into marriage are presented to the audience one by one, in addition to meeting the audience's glimpse of how India, a mysterious country, interprets love, it also sets off discussions about Indian marriage culture such as the re-engineering of patriarchal thinking and the misuse of feminine traits:

1. Caste system

Sima Tataria's U.S. customers include successful, affluent Indian-Americans who have tried dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, but ultimately want to return to the most traditional methods of finding their home. In order to find someone who matches their class, many guests will explicitly ask for the caste of their partner, and make discriminatory remarks such as "different castes cannot communicate" on the show.

Image | Courtesy of Netflix

2. Gender discrimination

Sima Taparia insists that "parents know their children best, so they must guide their children's wedding events", and tells the married woman that "women should not be too stubborn" and "learn to compromise".

In addition, Sima Taparia will also comment on women's appearance, and some netizens have edited Sima Taparia's blunt criticism of women's appearance, and posted it on social media, once again bringing harm to these criticized women.

Moreover, when "Indian Matchmaker" deals with the image of the groom choosing a bride, it presents women as commodities, being picked and chosen, and the image is like dwarfing women.

3. Failure to fulfill the responsibility of supervision

From time to time, the show rejects blind dates because of height, education, class, etc., and in the face of these prejudices, the show does not question them, but allows patriarchy, discrimination, and the vices of the caste system to run rampant.

However, some people believe that the content of the documentary is a reflection of the real society, and the real problem is the real society, and the production unit does not have the responsibility to correct the concept.

(Guess what you want to see: Refuse blind date marriage urging first aid manual: I am single, is my choice)

Photo by Liquid (Artiste) Arya on Unsplash

After walking this journey from arranged marriages to open relationships, do you understand how India's unique ecology of love that is both conservative and open came about?

Perhaps, India is not yet able to move from arranged marriage to free love; Monogamy cannot collapse anytime soon, but we still see the flow of lust, the non-constancy of relationships, and the change of social perceptions not in one step.

At this stage, it is certain that some imaginations about romantic relationships have come true, and not only Taiwan is on the road, but India is also following suit.