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Free love is a social movement which celebrates pursuing sex and love, free of the constraints of marriage and long-term relationships. On its inception, free love looked to separate the state from sexual and relationship concerns, including marriage, adultery, the age of consent, abortion, and birth control. Its proponents argued that such matters were the concern of the individuals involved, and no one else.
Free love is often associated with the hippies of the '60s and '70s. However, the movement actually began in the mid- to late-19th century, and the ideas it represents date back much earlier. It has close links to feminism, which also believes in a woman’s right to choose her own behavior.
People who believe in free love pursue sexual and romantic relationships as they please. These relationships are sustained only so long as it is beneficial to the parties involved. There is no obligation to sustain the relationship beyond this time simply because this is the accepted practice. For this reason, people who believe in free love typically do not get married, as they feel this artificially ties them to one person. They may also pursue multiple relationships at any one time, against society’s norms.
The term free love is often associated with promiscuous behavior. However, historically the free-love movement did not advocate short-term sexual relationships or multiple partners. Instead it was built on a belief that sexual relationships should not be regulated by the state. People who believe in the foundations of free love argue that this movement is actually built on truth and trust, ideals not often associated with short-term sexual relationships. These people believe that no matter how fleeting a connection, it must be entered into honestly and openly.