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Americans are growing more comfortable with online dating, and many are finding a spouse or partner in cyberspace, AFP reports citing a survey.

The Pew Research Center found 11 percent of Internet users -- or some nine percent of all American adults -- said they have personally used an online dating site.

That is a sharp increase from 2008, when just three percent of American adults had used online dating sites, Pew said.

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And 23 percent of online daters have married or begun a long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app, Pew found.Pew researchers said Americans' attitudes about online dating have dramatically changed since it first began studying the subject in 2005."When we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in the digital era just under a decade ago, the public had little exposure to online dating, and most viewed people who went online to meet potential romantic partners with a healthy dose of skepticism," said Aaron Smith, main author of the report."And although some of that skepticism remains, online dating has become much more culturally accepted in recent years.Americans are now much more likely to count an online dater among their friends and family, and a majority view online dating as a good way to meet potential partners -- one that in some ways is superior to traditional ways of meeting people." The survey found 59 percent of Internet users agreed with the statement that "online dating is a good way to meet people," compared with 44 percent in 2005.

And 53 percent of the group agreed that "online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves because they can get to know a lot more people," up from 47 percent in 2005.

Pew found 21 percent of Internet users claimed that people who use online dating sites are "desperate," down from 29 percent in 2005.

Around one in three, or 32 percent of online adults, said online dating keeps people from settling down by giving them more options to meet people. A number of respondents related negative experiences with online dating: 54 percent of those who used online services said they met at least one person who was "seriously misrepresented" and 28 percent said they felt harassed or uncomfortable by someone using online dating services.

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