Study Guide

Herzog Sex

By Saul Bellow

Sex

Sex is a big part of Moses Herzog's life, especially as he gets older and wonders about how much good sex he still has in front of him. His ego is, erm, inflated when a beautiful woman named Ramona wants to have sex with him all the time, but Herzog is still anxious about his aging body.

Quite frankly, he knows that his most beautiful years are behind him and that he'll only get older and uglier as time passes. In a way, Ramona is his last shot at truly great sex, and this dude spends the entire span of Herzog being freaked out about that fact.

Questions About Sex

  1. Is Herzog concerned about the fact that Ramona has been with a lot of men sexually? How so? How not so?
    Does Val's sexual relationship with Madeleine completely undermine his friendship with Herzog? Why or why not?
  2. Does Herzog have a good reason to be sexually insecure as he gets closer to fifty? Why or why not?
  3. What role do you think Herzog's experience with molestation as a child has had on his adult attitudes toward sex? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

Chew on This

In Herzog, we find that sex doesn't bring people closer together or push them farther apart. It's just a physical craving, like hunger.

Herzog shows us that sex tends to create way more problems than it solves.

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