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But the other side of me was concerned about what this means in terms of intimacy and how the dynamics would work. It’s skirt day.” Kristina is wearing long, soft curls, dark crimson lipstick, a black shirt that’s open in the back and a sequiny green miniskirt over bare legs.I was very unsure of all that.” Leah, however, forged ahead. Her one concession to upstate New York’s brutal winter is a Syracuse sweatshirt that she can quickly jettison as soon as she enters any party.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?
"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.
"But the other side of me was concerned about what this means in terms of intimacy and how the dynamics would work." When Leah and Ryan met at a wedding four years ago, they didn’t expect to develop this type of arrangement.
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).
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.
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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.