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Swinging: an insider's perspective (plus how it differs from polyamory!)

I've been seeing lots of awesome posts about polyamory and ethical non-monogamy. I wanted to offer some thoughts on a variation that I haven't seen talked much about yet: swinging.

Swinging or, "the lifestyle," as we often refer to it with each other (sometimes indicated by a black ring on the right ring finger for those who like to advertise their proclivity), is one subculture among many with countless variations and expressions. Here is my personal perspective…

A reminder in difficult times: Love is an extraordinary and beautiful thing

Each person expresses and feels love in many ways. We love people in our lives with different kinds of love — the love for a child, a parent, friends, and lovers. Each love is defined and felt in personal ways depending on who receives it. I have loved many people in many ways in my lifetime. Loving someone is a selfless endeavor. To love someone is to bare your soul. To trust that person with the deepest parts of you. Love is gentle and selfless and kind.

Here's a reminder about love in these difficult times…

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I'm a tattooed, blue-haired mom dealing with mental health stigma: do I need to tone down my look?

I'm a tattooed mom with blue hair who loves her family and teenage kids and live in a home full of love. Recently we've been working through challenges relating to mental illness — minor but requiring therapy and medication. I've lost some friends over it, people who could overlook the superficial style stuff, until it seemed less superficial.

My wardrobe has toned down a LOT in the six years we've lived here — but should I go back to being a brunette who tends to stick with long sleeves in the summer for the sake of my teen daughters?

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"Are you a boy or a girl?" How do you explain gender to a child?

My kiddo is biologically male, but when kids ask him if he's a boy or girl, he says, "I'm me. I'm a person." Kids, however, don't accept this answer and pester him to the point of tears. I don't know how to tell him the difference between boys and girls, or if I want to tell him that there is a difference at all (besides anatomically).

How do you explain gender to a four-year-old?