No sooner do we crack open the book and read the first line than we see the word "sex" – and the rest of the book follows suit. You don't need us to tell you that Disgrace is chock-full of sex. That said, for all the sex that we encounter, we don't see any starry-eyed, bosom-heaving, passionate lovemaking here – at least, nothing that is mutual and consensual. Instead, we see sex used as a method of domination, as in Lucy's rape; as a way of filling in a void, as in David's pursuit of prostitutes or Bev's invitation to David; and, perhaps most importantly as a source of shame – or, dare we say it, disgrace – as in David's relationship with Melanie and, once again, Lucy's rape.
In the novel, having sex leads to personal disgrace.
In the novel, feeling disgraced leads characters to seek comfort in sexual relationships.