There is a new pluralism of sexual styles—styles which have not by any means broken the dominance of the heterosexual norm, but which have thrown its normalising claims into some relief. There no longer appears to be a great continent of normality, surrounded by small islands of disorder. Instead we can perceive huge clusters of islands, great and small, which seem in constant motion each to the other, and every one with its peculiar flora and fauna. This is the material basis for our contemporary relativism.

The questions that insistently arise from this ecological chaos go something like this: can each desire be equally valid; should each minute subdivision of desire be the basis of a sexual and possibly social identity; is each political identity of equal weight in the corridors of sexual politics, let alone wider politics? Sex, where is your morality? the moral authoritarian can cry. Sex, where are your subtle distinctions? the weary liberal might whisper.

– Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and its Discontents: Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities (1985)


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