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The purpose of this study was to explore if there were any significant differences in perceptions of couples based on their sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual) and their relationship orientation (monogamous or consensually nonmonogamous).

As perceptions held by individuals influence collective perceptions when they are largely held in common, there is value in capturing culturally current perceptions of individuals to assess if social shifts may be on the horizon. To measure the perceptions of individuals with regards to sexual and relationship orientation, a sample of 37 college students were instructed to read narrative paragraphs about four couples.

Participants were then asked to rate their perceptions of the couples on ten statements, with higher ratings indicating a more positive perception of the couple. There were significant main effects for both sexual orientation and relationship orientation, with the monogamous couples rated more positively regardless of sexual orientation and the homosexual couples rated more positively regardless of relationship orientation. T

hese findings indicate that the perceptions people have of others in relationships are influenced by the sexual orientation and the relationship orientation of the people who form the relationship. Future work should examine this line of inquiry using other, more diverse samples to better understand this relationship.