Rolling Stone: "Tales from the Millennials' Sexual Revolution"
Rolling Stone has published the first half (the cis/hetero half) of a two-part series on how the next generation is going different ways than their parents did, relationship-wise. Open non-monogamy is a big focus of the article, and poly gets attention by name near the beginning.
Another interesting point in the article: today's young-uns are having somewhat less sex than past cohorts did. (My guess: it's so quick and easy now to fap to iporn.)
Tales from the Millennials' Sexual Revolution
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.
By Alex Morris
By the end of their dinner at a small Italian restaurant in New York’s West Village, Leah is getting antsy to part ways with her boyfriend Ryan, so that she can go meet up with her boyfriend Jim. 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. Ryan gets this. 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. 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. “I like everyone to meet each other and be friends and stuff,” he explains.
...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.... He was therefore surprised when the first thing Leah gave him after the move was a book called The Ethical Slut, considered to be a primer on how to handle a non-monogamous relationship....
...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).
In fact, Leah and Ryan are noticing a trend that’s been on the radar of therapists and psychologists for several years now. Termed “The New Monogamy” in the journal Psychotherapy Networker, it’s a type of polyamory in which the goal is to have one long-standing relationship and a willingness to openly acknowledge that the long-standing relationship might not meet each partner’s emotional and sexual needs for all time. Or, more specifically, that going outside the partnership for sex does not necessitate a forfeiture of it. “I was at a practice where we would meet every week, six to eight therapists in a room for teaching purposes and to bring up new things coming into therapy that weren’t there before,” says Lair Torrent, a New York-based marriage and family therapist. One of the things all the therapists had noticed over the past few years was “that couples — and these are younger people, twentysomethings, maybe early thirties — are negotiating what their brand of monogamy can be. They are opening up to having an open relationship, either in totality or for periods of time....
It’s worth noting that their arrangement was ultimately Leah’s idea. Ryan is a young Generation X’er, while she’s an older Millennial....
This story is the first of a two-part series exploring Millennials' sexuality. In Part Two, Rolling Stone will take a close look at the lives of queer Millennials.
Read all of Part 1 (March 31, 2014).