"[If a woman athlete who had contracted the AIDS virus admitted that she] had been with one hundred or two hundred men, they'd call her a slut, and the corporations would drop her like a lead balloon."
"For sex, to me, means the whole of the relationship between man and woman. Now this relationship is far greater than we know. We only know a few crude forms--mistress, wife, mother, sweetheart. The woman is like an idol, or a marionette, always forced to play one role or another.... If only we could break up this fixity, and realize ... that a woman is a flow, a river of life, quite different from a man's river of life: and that each river must flow in its own way, though without breaking its bounds: and that the relation of man to woman is the flowing of two rivers side by side, sometimes mingling, then separating again, and travelling on. The relationship is a life-long change and a life-long travelling."
"They threw off their clothes, and he gathered her to him, and found her, found the pure lambent reality of her for ever invisible flesh. Quenched, inhuman, his fingers upon her unrevealed nudity were the fingers of silence upon silence, the body of mysterious night upon the body of mysterious night, the night masculine and feminine, never to be seen with the eye, or known with the mind, only known as a palpable revelation of living otherness."
"In America the chief accusation seems to be one of "Eroticism." This is odd, rather puzzling to my mind. Which Eros? Eros of the jaunty "amours," or Eros of the sacred mysteries? And if the latter, why accuse, why not respect, even venerate?"
"Women of the tradition to which Alice and Martha belonged are prepared to discuss menstruation or pregnancy in the frankest of detail, but it is taboo to discuss sex, notwithstanding the show of frankness the subject is surrounded with. It follows that they get their information about how other women react sexually from their men, a system which has its disadvantages."
"It was almost with the feeling of a rider who was wondering whether his horse would make the course that she regarded this body of hers, which was not only divided from her brain by the necessity of keeping open that cool and dispassionate eye, but separated into compartments of its own. Martha had after all been provided with a map of her flesh by the "book", in which each area was marked by the name of a different physical sensation, so that her mind was anxiously aware, not only of a disconnected partner, a body, but of every part of it, which might or might not come up to scratch at any given occasion."
"From early Colonial days, sex life in America had been based on the custom of men supporting women. That situation reached its heyday in the Twenties when it was easy for any dabbler in stocks to flaunt his manhood by lavishing an unearned income on girls. But with the stock-market crash, men were hard put even to keep their wives, let alone spend money on sex outside the home. The adjustment was much easier on women than on men, who jumped out of windows in droves, whereas I can't recall a single headline that read: KEPT GIRL LEAPS FROM LOVE NEST."
"That our popular art forms have become so obsessed with sex has turned the U.S.A. into a nation of hobbledehoys; as if grown people don't have more vital concerns, such as taxes, inflation, dirty politics, earning a living, getting an education, or keeping out of jail."