Study Guide

A Confederacy of Dunces Sex

By John Kennedy Toole

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There's hardly any actual sex in A Confederacy of Dunces. There are, however, a lot of jokes about sex, and references to sex of various kinds—from Myrna giving erotic pep talks, to Ignatius hoping that gay sex will bring peace to the world, to Lana's pornographic pictures to the occasional description of Ignatius masturbating.

Often the discussion of sex is as much about sex's absence as it is about its presence: as, for instance, in the decidedly non-erotic description of Ignatius's conception following a movie, or the equally non-erotic (even anti-erotic) debacle of Darlene's strip show. Sex, the novel seems to believe, is funniest when it's least sexy.

Questions About Sex

  1. Which is more important as a motivation in Confederacy, sex or greed? Explain your answer.
  2. Is Lana in control of her sexuality? Explain your answer.
  3. Is Myrna in control of her sexuality? Explain your answer.

Chew on This

Ignatius is one of the most sexual characters in the novel.

Ignatius's main sexual interest, like all of his other main interests, is in himself.

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