Alternative Lifestyle

Updated: MARCH 26, 2020

An alternative lifestyle is any lifestyle that deviates from the mainstream or most socially acceptable way of living. The term is especially used to refer to lifestyles that are sexually unconventional, such one that involves swinging or BDSM. Saying that someone leads an alternative lifestyle can also be considered a euphemism for being gay, although this is usually considered derogatory because it assumes that sexuality is a choice.

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Leading an alternative lifestyle may also have nothing to do with sexuality or sexual practices at all. For example, subculture individuals like goths and punks are thought to follow alternative lifestyles, yet the sexuality of members of these communities is irrelevant.

While the term alternative lifestyle is widely used in society, some suggest it carries a degree of prejudice because it separates the majority from those who are different. This can lead to assumptions about what behavior is considered "normal."


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