Study Guide

Middlesex Sex

By Jeffrey Eugenides


Whether or not you want to think about it, your family wouldn't exist were it not for sex. Middlesex is a novel about generations, kind of like the parts of the Bible where someone begat someone, and that person begats [sic] someone else, and so on and so forth. Thankfully for our reading pleasure, Jeffrey Eugenides can write passages that are a heck of a lot steamier than "begat." It's a little easier to think about your parents having sex when you see just how hot it is. Or does that make it creepier?

Questions About Sex

  1. Is the sex between Lefty and Desdemona creepy or romantic? Does this ever change?
  2. How do Cal's first two sexual experiences (with the Obscure Object and her brother, Jerome) compare to one another?
  3. Is sex ever destructive in the novel, or is it always used to create something?
  4. How do Tessie and Milton's attitudes toward sex influence Cal's attitudes toward sex at a young age?

Chew on This

Through his writing, Jeffrey Eugenides makes sex scenes that should be uncomfortable into something steamy, which kind of makes them more uncomfortable.

Cal is a product of his parents's traditional attitudes toward sex and the looser attitudes toward sex of the 1960s.