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Word Count: 1,065
Sharon Olds poem Sex without Love quite passionately expresses the poets attitude toward loveless sex as a cold and hurtful act She accomplishes this through her use of various poetic techniques which evoke clear images in the readerHer opening words How do they do it do not simply offer question but carry a negative connotation of the speaker shaking her head and throwing up her hands in a disgusted manner Reminiscent of a mother looking at her errant teenager and exclaiming How could you do such a thing She then throws us off the path by referring to her characters as beautiful as dancersmaybe the initial impression was wrong After all that implied grace and the same beauty we see in ice skaters could lead us to think that this act might be quite lovelyThen Olds returns us to her reality offering the coolness of ice and the slight detachment that professional ice skaters exhibit as they glide almost without seeming to touch the surface The image of fingers hooked inside each others bodies is so clinical and conveys that detached feeling once again There is no implication of gentle touch as she continues to describe the participants The similes used to describe the overheated lovers faces red as steaks and wet as the children at birth also carry the same theme By comparing a lovers face to a piece of cold raw beef she leaves us with the image of these people using each other like pieces of meatwerent many pick-up places referred to as meat markets The reference to mothers giving their children away expresses the speakers attitude that these people are likely being irresponsible and without consideration for the consequences of their actions The paradox contained in the image fingers hooked inside continuing throughgive them away is difficult to determine Perhaps the representation of fingers hooked inside each others bodies is equating parts of the sex act to the way that an
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