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The poem “Sex without Love” by Sharon Olds is set in the modern atmosphere and talks about how people engage in irresponsible sexual activities. The author brings out the various lifestyles of individuals in the society in a more antagonistic manner. She employs the various poetic and literal techniques to describe the society’s approach towards love and sex. Personification has been used through out the poem to air out the author’s grievances and concerns. The author is not happy to realize that the sentimental importance that is associated with love making is lost. According to her, people should not engage in sexual activities unless they are honestly in love with one another.
The author reveals that there exists no genuine love in the modern-day relationships. According to her, individuals merely come together for the sake of engaging in casual sex and later on, separate. She further reiterates that some individuals engage in sexual activities even with strangers. This shows that people no longer respect the institution of courtship. As a result, they have resorted to having short-term sexual relations. In some point in the poem, it is shown how some individuals take their lovers in the same way they consider someone who is in a race competition. The author further compares the change of sexual partners in relationships to the way a runner changes his shoes after each race. This signifies that there exists no mutual feeling between these two couples as each one of them has his or her intentions.
The narrator outlines his worries with regard to the contemporary social lifestyles. He wonders how individuals could engage in, “…sex and lack any emotional feelings” towards each other. The poem brings out her disappointment towards the marriage and dating institution according to the contemporary society. In addition, the author has criticized the current ‘online dating’ where people get into relationships with other individuals that they barely know. As much as sex is considered a ‘holy’ interaction, it is abused by some individuals. The fact that two strangers can engage in sex substantiates this abuse. According to Olds, sex is ordained by God and as a result, it ought to be treated with the respect that it deserves. Based on this, individuals should engage in love making only if they have mutual feelings for each other. This is the feeling that unifies them, just the way God intended it to be.
Olds has employed various poetic elements to put across her message. The tone in the poem is delicate and reserved. At some point, the tone becomes convicting. This illustrates the sad feeling of the author in relation to what is happening. The use of free language is evident in the poem. This brings out the sincerity and honesty of Olds in addressing issues. She utilizes language that other people may consider to be inappropriate. The art of love making is compared to the gliding of skaters on ice. She does this in order to clearly convey her message. She further uses similes while describing the movement made by lovers in the course of love making.
The poem is a true reflection of what is happening in our modern society. The poet wants us to think positively and be conscious of our deeds. The mention of “God’s love” by the author shows that she would be happy if people chose to live as Christians and follow what the bible says with regard to sex. Generally, Olds urges people to have good morals while condemning the manner in which individuals have numerous sex partners. She is also against the co-habitation of individuals who are not in love with one another.