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What does it mean when someone says sexuality is fluid

opinion

Dylan Selterman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Not the same as bisexuality

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. Sexual preferences are not set in stone and can change over time, often depending on the immediate situation the individual is in. This has been described as sexual fluidity.

For example, if someone identifies as heterosexual but then finds themselves in an environment with only people of the same gender, they might feel increased sexual or romantic attraction to those same-gender partners.

Like any other social trait, sexual preferences, attitudes, behaviours and identity can be flexible to some degree.

Men vs women

But a careful reading of the scientific literature reveals that there is no implication of women being any more puzzling than men when discussing sexuality. Most people would say they have a sexual orientation.

But the degree to which a person is sexually fluid is a separate variable that operates alongside sexual orientation. Some people are highly fluid, while others are less so.