The study of alternative lifestyles received serious social science attention during the social turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, peaking by the mid-1970s and declining thereafter.
Pioneering meetings such as those held by the Groves Conference on Marriage and the Family examined these nontraditional family forms and personal living arrangements.
Many of these lifestyles, such as cohabitation and stepfamilies, eventually became mainstream topics of scholarly research.
However, those on the fringes, specifically, swinging, group marriages, and communes, have been largely ignored over the past two decades.
Explanations ranged from a lack of research funding and academic reward to the assumption that fear of AIDS curtailed these behaviors.
This neglect presently continues in spite of the evidence that swinging and communal life may be as prominent, and even more so, than in the past four decades. Attempts are made to explain this inconsistency.

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