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.In fact, Leah and Ryan are noticing a trend that’s been on the radar of therapists and psychologists for several years now.

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Once Ryan learned that a permanently open relationship was what Leah wanted, he says, “There was a side of me that was ecstatic – the teenage boy in me that wants to fuck everything I see.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

For Kristina, two boyfriends are exactly two too many. When she arrived at Syracuse freshman year, Kristina had certain ideas about what her romantic life would entail.