by Jonathan Franzen
Sex Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Only when enough beer had been consumed to bring a group conversation around to sex did [Joey] feel isolated. His thing with Connie was too intense and strange – too sincere; too muddled with love – to be fungible as a coin of bragging. He disdained but also envied his hall mates for their communal bravado, their porny avowals of what they wanted to do to the choicest babes in the Facebook or had supposedly done, in isolated instances, while wasted, and seemingly without regret or consequence, to various wasted girls at their academies and prep schools. (3.2.28)
In Freedom, sex means many things to many people. Here we get a glimpse of the sexual world of the college male. It's a world, of course, that we have all become far too familiar with through movies and television, whether or not we've ever stepped foot in a dorm. Interesting, then, to have Joey's view as a contrast, where his time with Connie seems like such an entirely different thing that he can't even engage in conversation with these guys.
"So have you been sleeping with other people? Connie said. "I thought that might be why you weren't calling."
"No! No. Not at all."
"It's OK with me if you do. I meant to tell you that last month. You're a guy, you have needs. I don't expect you to be a monk. It's just sex, who cares?" (3.2.245-247)
Joey is, of course, totally psyched to hear this. What sweeter freedom to add to his collection than sexual freedom? Sex in relationships is, of course, much more complicated than Joey and Connie would like to believe…as they find out just a few months later.
The kiddies were perennially enticing and perennially unsatisfying in much the same way that coke was unsatisfying: whenever he was off it, he remembered it as fantastic and unbeatable and craved it, but as soon as he was on it again he remembered that it wasn't fantastic at all, it was sterile and empty: neuro-mechanic, death-flavored. (3.4.42)
This is the most direct reference to Richard's sex addiction being just that: an addiction. Here he equates sleeping with younger women (whom he grossly refers to as "the kiddies") with the fleeting high from snorting cocaine.