I wonder if I am the only person who disagrees with people having sexual intercourse with no strings attached. Sharon Olds’ poem “Sex Without Love’’  provokes this question. I am very happy to be reading a poem where someone has the same thoughts as me and the same questions.

The poem’s form is free verse – a poetic style with no regular meter or rhyme scheme, except where it uses structure to create emphasis to point to a feeling or a theme. While the subtle variations in free verse may go unnoticed on first reading, closer inspection shows that they give the poem greater impact. This form is a vehicle for the content of the poem.  If the poem rhymed, it would not guide me toward an understanding of the poem’s theme of freedom. The poem’s form is one thing that causes the poem to be free and open with no regulations. There was a dolphin turn in the poem. The author went from being confused about why people feel comfortable with having sexual intercourse with each other without any strings being attached, to understanding but still confused as to why they do that.

The poem answers my question because the author is confused about the same thing as me. The poet answers this question by explaining her feelings and her experience.  Some words that she used that showed the point of the poem by saying, ‘’not love the one who came there with them, light rising slowly as steam off their joined skin?’’ This shows how the poet is questioning sexual intercourse without an actual relationship. This makes me wonder if everyone goes through the same thing when it comes to having a sexual relationship.

In the 15th-16th lines, Olds compares sexual intercourse to religion.  She writes, “the ones who will not / accept a false Messiah, love the / priest instead of the God. They do not / mistake the lover for their own pleasure.  This analogy is ironic by comparing sexual intercourse to religion, Olds really lured me in when she said this because it was very interesting how she could compare these two to each other. Most people would disagree with this because many people believe that marriage comes before sexual intercourse. The question that this line raises for me is, how can people have sexual intercourse without actually getting attached. The poem answers the question by comparing sex to certain things.

My  first impression of this poem was, ‘’What the heck is this poem referring to?’’  Even though it made me feel confused, I was intrigued. A couple of lines that especially confused me were, “give them away / how do they come to the  come to the come to the God, come to the,” The other feeling of intrigue arises when I read the lines, “just factors, like the partner in the bed, and not the truth, which is the single body alone in the universe against its own best time.”.  Perhaps because it makes me as a reader wonder what she is referring to and what caused her to say this.

What I know about the situation is that she is trying to explain how having sex without any type of feelings or connections is unbelievable and doesn’t make sense on how you can just give ur body up and not have any strings attached. What I know about  Olds’ is that she is the kind of person who needs a relationship in order to give their body away to any one. This is suggested by the lines 21-24 “come to the still waters,and not love the one who came there with them,light rising slowly as stream off their joined skin? ”.  Olds’ seems to be speaking to someone she has been messing with in the past , and perhaps to explain how hurt and confused she was when this person perhaps had used her just for pleasure and didn’t want a relationship out of it.. I say this because she is very concerned and passionate about this topic.  The poem springs from her questioning why people do this that had happened to her or somebody she knows. The poem revolves around several themes, including love and overcoming.

If this poem were a question, the answer would be “sex is nothing without love.”  If it were an answer, the question would be ‘’what is sex without love?” The title suggests that sex doesn’t mean anything without love.      



1 Comment
  1. Angeth 12 months ago

    I really liked your article, great job! I found it fascinating. I liked how you connected the poem to your article in helping you answer the question you’ve been thinking about. But I do believe that people could have sex without love, we see it every day with people being drunk out of there minds and one night stands etc. But I also believe that of course eventually two people could catch feelings overtime. It just depends on the people and situation. here’s a website that goes more into detail that I think you would like. Great job! https://www.psychologytoday.com › blog › shrink-wrap › sex-without-love

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