Thematic Essay on Identity
There are many aspects of identity in the poem “Sex without Love,” by Sharon Olds. I can relate my own thoughts to how the author views the subject that she talks about in this poem. There has been a situation in my own life where I was thinking to myself, just as the author was, “How do they do it, the ones who make love without love?” (Olds 740). Having been raised as a well-rounded and disciplined person, as well as religious, I know the discouragement of having premarital sex. It’s not just the immorality that these characters are experiencing that the author is talking about, but they probably have personal issues that have to do with a their self worth and identity. These characters think they know what love is, but the truth is that they are in denial of what they are really doing.
Even though religion is an issue to the characters, their identity pushes that concept to the side so that they can do what they desire most. I believe that the author is trying to stress the point that these people are not obeying the word of God and leading themselves into their own temptations. Olds compares the truly religious to the ‘lovers’ by introducing them as people who have sex without being in love by saying, “These are the true religious, the purist, the pros, the ones who will not accept a false Messiah, love the priest instead of the God” (Olds 740). Part of this poem is ironic because the author
starts by questioning the rightfulness of what these people are doing, then turns around by saying that sex without love is “Beautiful as dancers, gliding over each other like ice skaters over the ice,” (Olds 740) and ending her sentence by implying the disadvantage of having a baby in the incident that would end up having to be given away.
It is hard to believe that someone would endanger his or her identity just for the sake of pleasure. A lot of people will find themselves in this kind of situation if they are not aware of the risks involved or because of certain conditions or morals that a person grew up with. I am fortunate enough to know the consequences of my actions, was brought up with strict and over protective parents, and saved by the church. Not all people are lucky enough to be able to make the right decisions for themselves all the time, which could harm a person’s identity. “Sex Without Love” discuses a kind of relationship that involves a kind of binding between two people, that is not true love, but an image of them joined together.
Children who are born to unwed parents...