Sex Without Love Analysis

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The Constant Contemplation of Sharon Olds’ “Sex without Love” This poem dramatizes the conflict between the speakers opinions on sex, opposed to others. In this poem, Olds presents a speaker who is contemplating the mentalities and thought processes of people who are able to have sex without love, compared to themselves. Although no first person dialogue is presented in the poem, contrasting statements and implications of phrases used highlight how the speaker feels about the subject. The theme of the poem is largely one of personal contemplation and of human emotion. It focuses on understanding the concept of being alone, and somewhat hoping to be able to understand it from the speaker’s perspective as well. The poem is presented in a series…show more content…
. .)it's the people who serve the priest or the rabbi and not God.” (Jessica Myers, Analysis of Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds, 2014) As far as the structuring of the poem goes, I believe the lines “(. . .) will not / accept a false Messiah, love the / priest instead of the God” means to say that those who have sex will not accept either the false messiah or the priest before god. This very well fits the idea of contrasting ideals shown by the speaker throughout the poem, as well as the second pair of concepts with double meanings shown in the poem. The final concept in which this poem portrays is one of a great runner. The speaker describes sex without love as a runner alone within the elements. The runner sees everything around them simply as factors, but the statement revolves around a positive note. The end of the poem reflects back on the ever contemplating manner of the speaker and the mentality of the people being described. They are alone together in the world, sharing no emotional connection to each other, yet it is exactly as they want it to be. I view this poem as symbolism for a cycle of thought. Sex without love is viewed in a very positive and negative light throughout, leaving its audience to create their own conclusion to best suit their narratives in life. While it isn’t directly mentioning any people by name, it allows the audience to envision the scenes described to them…show more content…
There’s an overwhelming sense of confusion that runs in the poem. At the time of writing the poem, Olds was well into her marriage with her husband. The reasoning behind the poem may have been presented after realizing her love of her husband, or after a moment of disdain with her own love life. I think that the vocabulary of the poem was presented in a way to make the reader question the meaning of it all for themselves. It’s easy to see why the poem has caught so many eyes and become as popular as it has. It is an ever questioning tone that makes everything seem to fall in place. The twisting narrative of love and loneliness seems to capture audiences across the globe in the same sense of confusion and interest about the subject matter. Can people have sex without love and be completely satisfied, or is it all just a sad fantasy? The poem’s form puts emphasis on certain words at the end of each line for dramatic effect. “Ice-skaters,” “hooked,” “religious,” all words that reflect back on the key elements of the theme. Repetition of certain phrases “come to the” reflects back to my interpretation of the poem’s cycle, as well as common themes of sex. On a similar note, the poem’s visual pattern is quite reminiscent of a wave, yet another cycled process. As the narrative goes back and forth between morals, so does the look of each line on the
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