Study Guide

Annie Hall Sex

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MISS REED: You should be ashamed of yourself.

ALVY: Why? I was just expressing a healthy sexual curiosity.

MISS REED: Six-year-old boys don't have girls on their minds.

ALVY: I did.

CLASSMATE: For God's sake, Alvy, even Freud speaks of a latency period.

ALVY: Well, I never had a latency period. I can't help it.

Alvy wastes no time in introducing the concept of sex, which makes it clear right up front how important it is to him, especially when it comes to relationships.

ALVY: It's always some kind of an excuse. You used to think that I was very sexy. When we first started going out, we had sex constantly. We're probably listed in The Guinness Book of World Records.

They aren't, but the world's largest waffle is. It weighs over 110 pounds!

ROBIN: Alvy, don't. You're using sex to express hostility.

ALVY: "Why do you always reduce my animal urges to psychoanalytic categories?" he said as he removed her brassiere.

The small portion we see of Alvy's second marriage, to Robin, shows how Alvy and the writer were on totally different pages when it came to sex.

ALVY: That was the most fun I've ever had without laughing.

When Alvy feels his sex life is going well, he feels his relationship is going well, too.

ALVY: You know what you are? You're polymorphously perverse.

ANNIE: What does that mean? I don't know what that is.

ALVY: You're exceptional in bed because you get pleasure in every part of your body when I touch it. You know what I mean? Like the tip of your nose, and if I stroke your teeth or your kneecaps, you certainly get excited.

We don't know about you, but if somebody tried to stroke our teeth, we'd probably bite their fingers off. (We're glad Alvy's happy, though.)

ALVY: I don't know why you have to get high every time we make love.

ANNIE: It relaxes me.

ALVY: You have to be artificially relaxed before we can go to bed?

ANNIE: Well, what's the difference anyway?

ALVY: Well, I'll give you a shot of sodium pentothal. You can sleep through it.

ANNIE: Oh come on. Look who's talking. You've been seeing a psychiatrist for fifteen years. You should smoke some of this. You'd be off the couch in no time.

It's pretty clear that marijuana becomes a bedroom crutch for Annie. It's equally clear that Alvy wants to take that crutch and flush it down the toilet.

ALVY: It ruins it for me if you have grass because, you know, I'm like a comedian, so if I get a laugh from a person who's high, it doesn't count, you know, because they're always laughing.

In other words, Alvy thinks smoking pot cheapens the experience, or puts distance between him and Annie.

ALVY: It's all mental masturbation!

ANNIE: Oh, well now we're finally getting to a subject you know something about.

ALVY: Hey, don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love.

Quips like these show that Alvy's perpetually performing. He doesn't just tell jokes on stage; he tells jokes constantly.

ALVY'S THERAPIST: How often do you sleep together?

ANNIE'S THERAPIST: Do you have sex often?

ALVY: Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

ANNIE: Constantly. I'd say three times a week.

This exchange shows that sex is subjective and open to interpretation, just like any other type of performance. Alvy thinks three times a week is "hardly ever." Annie thinks it's "constantly." (And we can all agree that Annie's therapist's office looks like the inside of a space station.)

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