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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

Sex Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

They kept their secret from the knowledge of others, not as a shameful guilt, but as a thing that was immaculately theirs, beyond anyone's right of debate or appraisal. She knew the general doctrine on sex, held by people in one form or another, the doctrine that sex was an ugly weakness of man's lower nature, to be condoned regretfully. She experienced an emotion of chastity that made her shrink not from the desires of her body, but from any contact with the minds who held this doctrine. (1.5.2.96)

Like so many concepts in the novel, sexual morals have to be translated and flipped around in the Objectivist value system. So Dagny, fittingly, experiences "chastity" not in regard to sex itself but in regard to the people who preach that sex is ugly and sinful.

Quote #2

The course led them to the moment when, in answer to the highest of one's values, in an admiration not to be expressed by any other form of tribute, one's spirit makes one's body become the tribute.... (1.8.7.100)

The style here is interesting – the scene begins by discussing Francisco and Dagny, but the style shifts from "them" to "one," which emphasizes the broader, philosophical statement the passage makes. This sort of style shift, from specific character to broad ideas, happens a lot in the novel.

Quote #3

"What I feel for you is contempt. But it's nothing compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I don't love you. I've never loved anyone. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you. I wanted you as one wants a whore – for the same reason and purpose." (1.9.1.10)

Hank parrots society's ideas about sex to Dagny, even though his actions and his deep feelings for her ironically undermine everything he is saying. This shows how influential society's moral code is and how hard it is to break free from. (This also wins the award for being the worst morning-after speech in history.)

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