| Quote #4
He existed in an anxious flurry of promiscuity. He had affairs with the wives of colleagues; he picked up tourists in bars on the waterfront or at the Club Italia; he slept with whores. (1.36)
David notices that he is aging by the way it affects his ability to attract others. As a result, goes for people who he can get to have a one-night stand with him. Here, we also see David's interest in keeping his relationships simple and short-term; none of these ladies are going to want to embark on a deeper, emotionally-invested commitment with him.
| Quote #5
Her name is Dawn. The second time he takes her out they stop at his house and have sex. It is a failure. Bucking and clawing, she works herself into a froth of excitement that in the end only repels him. He lends her a comb, drives her back to the campus. (1.51)
Part of what characterizes David in the beginning of the novel is his lack of passion in the bedroom. Here, we can kind of understand him – even we are a little turned off and a bit embarrassed for Dawn. This is some pretty unsexy sex.
| Quote #6
On the living-room floor, to the sound of rain pattering against the windows, he makes love to her. Her body is clear, simple, in its way perfect; though she is passive throughout, he finds the act pleasurable, so pleasurable that from its climax he tumbles into blank oblivion.
This is the game-changing moment for David. Having sex with Melanie is not only mind-blowing – it literally knocks him out – but it's also a transformative experience for him. For the first time, we see him having sex and really getting into it. Too bad we can't get excited for him; that frown on Melanie's face is a bad omen already.