Study Guide

The Interestings Sexuality and Sexual Identity

By Meg Wolitzer

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

Sexuality is all over The Interestings. We have Jonah, who struggles to come to terms with being gay, and of course, his partner, Robert. But more than that, we have a group of people who come of age, going from their awkward and hormonally-driven teen years, to adulthood, where we see them deploying sex in all kinds of messy ways to navigate who they are.

Perhaps the biggest role that sexuality plays in the book, though, is as a sort of ghost—the tale is haunted by the unresolved matter of whether Goodman rapes Cathy. And while this may not be sexuality in its classic definition, how characters relate to this tells us a whole lot about who they are, becoming a sort of sexual identity in its own right.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. We know that Jonah is out in some sense, so why does he have that strange exchange with Robert that leaves him kind of guessing about Jonah's sexuality?
  2. In what ways is the group divided or paired up based on sexual identity or sexuality? How about when it comes to how they relate to Cathy?
  3. What is Jules's relationship to sexuality as a child and an adult? Does it change? What does this say about her?

Chew on This

For Jonah, his sexual identity is as much about being gay as it is about being drugged as a kid.

Cathy isn't only outcast because she accuses Goodman of rape, but because the girls can't wrap their minds around the contrast between Cathy's appearance and the idea that she doesn't want sex.