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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.

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.

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.

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.

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