This generation is radically rethinking straight sex and marriage, but at what cost?In Part One of a two-part series, Rolling Stone goes under the covers in search of new approaches to intimacy, commitment and hooking up.Tonight is one of those nights, and soon Leah will head to Jim’s penthouse apartment, where the rest of the evening, she says, will probably entail “hanging out, watching something, having sex.” “She’ll usually spend the night,” Ryan adds nonchalantly, which gives him a chance to enjoy some time alone or even invite another woman over.He doesn’t have a long-standing secondary relationship like Leah (“I’ve actually veered away from doing that”), but he certainly enjoys the company of other women, even sometimes when Leah is home. Error Banner a.modal_overlay.modal_overlay .modal_fixed_close.modal_overlay .modal_fixed_close:before.modal_overlay .modal_fixed_close:before.modal_overlay .modal_fixed_close:before.modal_overlay .modal_fixed_close:hover:before.modal_overlay [email protected](max-width:630px)@media(max-height:700px).modal_overlay [email protected](max-width:630px).inline_editor_content:hover .inline_editor_edit.inline_editor_content .form_buttons.question_details .qtext_image_wrapper.question_details .qtext_image_placeholder.question_details .qtext_image. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_input. Selector .selector_input_interaction .selector_spinner. Selector .selector_results_container.form_buttons.form_buttons a.form_buttons input[type='submit'].form_buttons .submit_button.form_buttons .submit_button.form_buttons .action_button.hover_menu.hover_menu:before,.hover_menu:after.hover_menu.show_nub:before.hover_menu.show_nub:after.hover_menu.show_nub.white_bg:after.hover_menu .hover_menu_contents.hover_menu.white_bg .hover_menu_contents. Because they started off dating long-distance (Ryan was living in Colorado at the time), it was understood that they would not be exclusive: They initiated a policy Leah describes as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But when Ryan moved to New York and began living with Leah a year and a half later, he assumed they would transition immediately into monogamy.
It’s not that she means to be rude, it’s just that Jim has been traveling for work, so it’s been a while since she’s seen him. As her “primary partner” and the man with whom she lives, he is the recipient of most of Leah’s attention, sexual and otherwise, but he understands her need to seek companionship from other quarters roughly one night a week.
“I like everyone to meet each other and be friends and stuff,” he explains.
"There was a side of me that was ecstatic – the teenage boy in me that wants to fuck everything I see," reveals Ryan, a millennial in an open relationship.
Moreover, they see themselves as part of a growing trend of folks who do not view monogamy as any type of ideal.
“There’s this huge group of younger people that are involved in these things,” says Ryan – an observation that seemed borne out of a monthly event called “Poly Cocktails,” held at an upstairs bar on the Lower East Side a few weeks later, in which one would have been hard-pressed to realize that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill mixer (a guy who’d wandered in accidentally must have eventually figured it out; he was later seen by the bar grinning widely as he chatted up two women).
He was therefore surprised when the first thing Leah gave him after the move was a book called Certainly, open heterosexual relationships are nothing new.