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Alternative Lifestyle Groups

Updated April 17, 2017

Alternative lifestyles are ways of living that differentiate from society's mainstream lifestyles. Many popular alternative lifestyles revolve around differences in sexuality, spirituality, travelling or community living. These lifestyle choices affect people's relationships with others and how they behave and live their daily lives. Television media, in particular, has popularised some of these groups in recent decades, especially hippies and LGBT, which stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender.

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The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) lifestyle has become increasingly popular in the last several decades. The fight for same-sex marriages remains a frequent topic in the national news. Members may sexually prefer their own gender, both genders or to actually become the other gender.


The BDSM lifestyle focuses around bondage, domination, submission, sadism and masochism. Bondage is the use of restraints. Domination and submission involve one person having control or dominance over another. Sadism and masochism involve giving or receiving pain.

Other Sexual Lifestyles

Polyamory is a lifestyle where people have multiple intimate relationships concurrently. Polygamy is where a person has multiple spouses at one time. The swinging lifestyle is where couples in a committed relationship both agree to have recreational sex with other people. Sexual fetishism is where a person receives arousal from a physical object.


Many alternative lifestyles centre around different religious beliefs. The Amish lifestyle is known for its simple living, plain clothes and lack of modern technology. The New Age movement draws upon Eastern and Western spirituality. It combines science and pseudoscience with spirituality to form a holistic lifestyle. Neopaganism is a lifestyle that draws from the pre-Christian pagan beliefs found throughout Europe. Common beliefs include pantheism, polytheism, magic and animism. Wicca is the most popular Neopagan religion in the United States. Many fundamental religious groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, abstain from mainstream activities like drugs, gambling, drunkenness and abortion.


Groups that spend much of their life travelling have their own distinct nomadic lifestyles. Housetruckers convert old trucks and buses into mobile homes in which they live and travel. New Age Travellers are groups of people that travel between music festivals. Usually they belong to a hippie or New Age subculture. Several biker lifestyles revolve around groups of people travelling across the country on motorcycles.The hippie lifestyle is a youth movement infamous for its drug use, participation in the sexual revolution, psychedelics, simple group living and nomadic travel.


Communes are intentional communities where people live together with shared common interests. These communities may encompass countercultural, egalitarian, political, ecological, psychological, religious, spiritual or rehabilitation aspects. Nudists, hippies, cults, religious fundamentalists and many other subcultures may form their own temporary or permanent communities.

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About the Author

Sean Mann has been a freelance writer since 2010. With thorough knowledge and experience in technological fields such as computer software, hardware, the internet and programming, he creates online content for various websites. Mann has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Ohio State University.

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