Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
Even though Okonkwo has three wives, there are very few sex scenes in the novel. OK, fine, there are no actual sex scenes in the book, just one mention of Okonkwo starting to unfasten Ekwefi’s clothes. Sex is seen as a rite of passage and a status symbol for men. The more wives and children a man has, the higher he ranks. Conversely, young women are highly valued for their sexual attractiveness and their purity (read: virginity). Women must be virgins in order to be honorably married. Though the men crack a few sex jokes at the expense of young men, sex is mostly regarded pragmatically in the novel. The goal of sex is ultimately reproduction and the furthering of the family line. Sex has its place in society and is rarely spoken of outside that confined space.