Can sexuality be fluid? Does it have to be black and white?

This isn't a question to be answered by arm-chair philosophical reflection: it is a question about the empirical facts. But surely all the evidence -- from our everyday knowledge of our friends and family through to more disciplined research by those who do various kinds of empirical enquiry, not to mention the witness of a couple of thousand years of literature -- suggests there is nothing at all black and white where matters of sexuality are concerned. It is a cheerfully multicoloured motley out there!

Minor reservation about Professor Smith's observations: Peter may be absolutely right, though I suggest that amidst all the cheerfully multicolored possibilities, I think that there are some clear cut goods and ills or, to use your terms, black and white issues. Perhaps this is similar to many other areas of life in which we (rightfully) expect decency (no improper coercion or harmful manipulation, deception, and so on). But because of the important role of sexuality in intimacy when it is possible to bring others (and oneself) joy or profound harm, I suggest that sexual relations may come with a higher degree of respect and consideration than we expect under other circumstances. The point is difficult to state with clarity or force, but I wager that while many of us can live with a colleague who is occasionally manipulative and misleading about his true aims and not fully trust worthy, but this becomes a great deal more serious if this involves one's lover.

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