In her poem “Sex Without Love
In her poem “Sex Without Love,'” Sharon Olds passionately describes the author’s distastefulness for casual sex in which she vividly animates the immorality of lustful sex through the variety of her language. Olds uses imagery and many similes to make the reader imagine actual events. I agree strongly with the emotions and images this poem conveys due to the events that have happened in my life.
The speaker describes making love as “Beautiful as dancers…” (2), in this line, the question emphasized is, how someone can do such a beautiful act with a person who they are not in love with? To be frank and clear growing up I always believed that to perform the act of sex you must first be in love. For someone to lose their virginity I believed love came first then sex and then followed everything else.
Olds begins the poem by writing:
How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other’s bodies, faces
red as steak, wine, wet as the
children at birth whose mothers are going to
give them away. (1-8)
I always believed that sex was a beautiful act, where two people a man and a woman who deeply loved each other would be intimate because they wanted to feel all the love they could get out of their relationship. “Beautiful as dancers, gliding over the ice….” (2-4), the speaker has us imagine sex as two dancers ice-skating gracefully. I however think of what these lines symbolize which is that sex with no love is just cold and detached, it is an allusion as all great ice skaters out on a show that is what sex without love is. When I was 7-years-old I was molested by my uncles for ten years, all the way up until 17 years old when it finally stopped. Due to this traumatic experience I was put off sex, I hated it, never wanted it to happen because I felt as though men used sex as a power tool over women
There is images of undesired childbirth included into her poem. Most times, when couples are in love, they make love with intentions of having a child or children. Oftentimes, when partners engage in sexual activity without any emotional connection,they are just doing it for the physical attraction and have no desire to raise a child together. Furthermore, sexual partners may ignore the possibility of creating a child while having sex. As stated in the poem, “wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away” (6). Olds’ criticizes the irresponsibility of creating a child neither parent desires. People who know my history oftentimes, ask me “what would have happened if I was raped and got pregnant?” Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that question, but it’s a tough situation. It is selfish and negligent of unintentional procreation without love, it isn’t the child fault but at the same time, what person would want a baby with someone they don’t love.
While going through that traumatic experience I had a boyfriend of 2 years. By the time we made a year he already wanted sex, which I felt I was not ready for as well as even though I said I loved him I didn’t find it to be true love where I wanted to lose my virginity at the moment especially feeling the way I was feeling.
Moreover, Olds’ suggests that the driving force of sex is purely physical. Towards the end of the poem, Olds presents the metaphor of a great runner: “they are like great runners: they know they are alone with the road surface, the cold, the wind, the fit of their shoes, their over-all cardiovascular health–just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth” (18-22). There is irony in this metaphor to further emphasize the importance placed upon physicality in sex encounters with a loveless foundation. Meaning that sex without love is just based upon physical fitness meaning looks and attraction which lead to desire. My ex-boyfriend didn’t truly love me which he showed by cheating on me he was just attracted to me for looks which lead him to desire my body. I even though being emotionally and mentally weak did not let him in this way I wanted to find love and evidently it was not with him.
My last year in high school I found the love of my life, he had graduated 2 years before me and we met on Facebook of all places. Although this might be too much information I did end up being intimate with him and as cliché as it might sound I’m happy I waited to do it with someone I love. The difference in emotion and just on a day to day bases of how we act around each other is something everyone wishes could happen to them. I did not want to just hook up with someone so detached and just for how attractive they are because that gets me nowhere. It’s like being cold and instead of putting something to keep me warm for a while I just sit by a fire for temporary heat until that fire runs out and then I’m left in the cold again.
Sharon Olds’ poem “Sex Without Love” questions the ability for two people to have sex and not have the involvement of emotions or more importantly not feel love. The poem argues that it is better to have sex without love under the claim that love is a false savior for people, and everyone is all alone anyhow. In other words, the claim is that love does not serve a purpose rather that it is a distraction, and it will inevitably end, which I disagree with because everyone deserves a chance to be happy and since we are all going to die anyhow might as well live life to the fullest and love.