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In other words, Leah’s is a generation that has been raised with the concept of sexual freedom and without solid guidelines for how to make monogamy work.That some brand of non-monogamy would appeal to large numbers of them is thus unsurprising.“I remember the first night, I was telling him about my difficulty with monogamy,” she says.“I don’t know why I felt the need, but it must have been on my mind a lot.” In almost every relationship she’d had, she’d found herself cheating, though she didn’t know if this was a character flaw or a problem with the conventional system. “I was just trying to get into your panties,” he says to her, laughing.But Leah and Ryan, 32 and 38, respectively, don’t fit these preconceived ideas. She wears pretty skirts; he wears jeans and trendy glasses.They have a large, downtown apartment with a sweeping view and are possessed of the type of hip hyperawareness that lets them head off any assumptions as to what their arrangement might entail.Ryan is a young Generation X’er, while she’s an older Millennial.While both generations were raised by Baby Boomers – who not only initiated the sexual revolution, making acceptable the concept of sex outside the confines of marriage, but who then went on to mostly pair off in traditional marriages – hers was the generation in which the greatest percentage of those partnerships ended in divorce (the divorce rate peaked in the early Eighties, right around the time it’s believed that the Millennial generation began).
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.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.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.Even the term “open relationship” seems like a throwback, uncomfortably reminiscent of free-love hippies, greasy swingers and a general loucheness so overt as to seem almost kitsch.