Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
R, Maybe NC-17
There's nothing very steamy about this novel. Sex in The Bluest Eye is awkward, humiliating, shameful, violent, and illegal – sometimes all at once. We see girls molested, and Pecola is raped by her own father.
Now, before we get too depressed, we actually do get some comedic moments in the novel when it comes to adult women and sexuality. Miss Marie, China, and Poland joke about sex, refer to it as "selling tail," and they seem to suggest that women can use sex to their economic advantage. These women also live with each other rather than husbands or boyfriends, and that in itself seems an important difference.
Notice also that none of the adult women in the novel experience sexual pleasure because of a man. Pauline has an orgasm when her menstrual pad rubs between her legs, and Geraldine gets excited by her cat. These are funny moments, but they also speak to a sexual system in which women's pleasure is not a concern.