The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
So nobody actually has sex overtly in Dorian Gray, but the sexual implications are scandalous (or at least were scandalous to Wilde's Victorian audience). We hear about well-bred young ladies who run away with penniless soldiers (i.e., Dorian's mother, Margaret Devereaux), and player "gentlemen" who get girls pregnant and leave them (the Vanes' father). Then there's Dorian himself, who seems to be responsible for the moral corruption of about 95% of the female population of England. Also there are definite homosexual tensions lying beneath the surface here – Dorian seems to be a pretty much omnisexual creature. Sex isn't out in the open here, but it is pretty much everywhere you look in the background.