Sex Without Love Poem Analysis

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Sex without love is actually an act of loneliness, in which those who partake are seeking pleasure rather than true intimacy. The speaker in Sharon Olds’ poem “Sex Without Love” introduces this idea through several metaphors that help to communicate the irresponsibility and selfishness of sex without love. After the first reading of this poem, it seems as if the text is describing loveless sex with beautiful imagery, however, upon further analysis, it is found that these images are being used to highlight the issues pertaining to those who perform acts of love without actually feeling any love for those they perform these acts with. Through the imagery and metaphors presented, the poem enforces the idea that to have sex with those we don’t love is to deprive ourselves of the true intimacy that is involved in having sex with those that we do love. Olds’ poem begins with a question, “How do they do it? The ones who make love without love,” meant to make the reader confront the issues involved in engaging in sex with those we don’t love. By including the phrase, “make love,” rather than a phrase such as, “have sex,” the poem forces readers to confront how people can engage in an act of love without actually feeling any love for one another. The poem further disparages love-making that doesn’t come from the heart by describing those who partake in it as, “beautiful as dancers,/gliding over each other like ice-skaters/over the ice, fingers hooked.” The symbolism induced by the
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