For a book where sex isn't talked about or is talked about very, very euphemistically, a lot of sex (some of it quite gross) actually happens. First of all, there's the whole Bounderby-Louisa situation. He kisses her when she is 14 and he is 47 – on the cheek, granted, but still, it's obviously sexual and pretty yucky. When she is trying to figure out whether to marry him (she is 19 and he is 50), all the talk is about their age gap. Guess what that's code for? The guy is seriously old and just wants to bag a young girl. Then of course, there's Stephen, Rachael, Mrs. Blackpool, and their love triangle of misery. Stephen clearly is attracted Rachael, but has to see her as some kind of asexual angel to keep from going insane. Finally, there is the actual passion between Harthouse and Louisa. Nothing actually happens between them (well, his lips do brush against her hair at one point), but it's pretty steamy nonetheless.