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Confusing Sexuality with Love in Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love”

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Sharon Olds’ “Sex Without Love” is one of her many published poems. “Sex Without
Love” was first published in 1984 through a collection of poems in her second book The Dead and the Living. Since then, even educational textbooks, all across the nation have featured Olds’ poems for student analysis. Reported in an essay, Literary Critic Ann D. Garbett states, Olds was born in San Francisco, California on November 19, 1942. Olds grew up in an unstable home, with her alcoholic father, mother, abusive grandparents, and sister. Before long, Olds’ parents finally divorced. At the age of fifteen, she went to a boarding school close to Boston. While at boarding school, Olds drew closer to her surroundings of the Northeastern United States.
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All of a sudden, people were more tolerant and they found it easier to ignore all that was happening. For example, it was okay if you lived in a single-family household versus the multifamily household of the 50s and 60s. Rarely did you find marriages that lasted, and the only thing their culture could do was accept the fact that people were not married, but still engaging in sexual activities. Printed in an article of the New York Times, Barbara S. Cain states, “the United
States – now running at about one million a year – is the highest in the Western world” (Cain, par. 5). Cain was referring to the divorce rates at that time. Even people over the age of fifty-five were divorcing. According to that article, those were the statistics back then. In other words, that society witnessed and estimated one million divorce a year. That article printed on December 19,
1982; so presumably, one can imagine the figures of today’s divorce rate. In fact, Cain projected rises in those statistics as the divorce laws became modernized (Cain, pars. 4-5). To add to the
Western development, media was at full force and influencing the nation with cable television.
Music Television (MTV) first introduced itself in 1981 and tailored after young teenagers. In keeping with an article published in the New York Times, journalist Jon Pareles affirms, “any time, day or night, it is possible to tune in MTV and, within five
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