I do not doubt that among that set of slave owners who engaged in sexual relations–whether by forcible rape or by the always existing rape inherent in the situation de jure and de facto–with their slaves–there were those who certainly were puritan and repressed. Indeed, I would venture to say that in certain instances the very “character” in question was cause rather than brake. But I do not doubt that among those who did not engage in such “relations” there might well have been a libertine or two or three–and vice-versa once again! Wood seems blithely unaware that there is no necessary connection between character, temperament, and the passage to particular kinds of acts. The determination as to whether Jefferson “slept with his slaves”, or whether he carried on a relationship with Sally Hemings, cannot be established in any other way than by a gathering of material evidence, i.e. did he or did he not sleep with, abuse, rape her simpliciter.
Steve Light on Jefferson and his relationship with his slaves.