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Understanding of Sexuality, Relationships, and Intimacy

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Holden is a young man only of age 16, making his way through life. He gets kicked out of multiple school and is slightly anti-social. His unwillingness to engage in much social interaction makes him somewhat depressed. He and his friends always talk about ‘sex’ but out of their group there is only one who ever actually does. Sex is a topic that recurs throughout the story time and time again that I will be following. I think that Holden is intimidated, yet interested by the object of sex in itself. He is confused by sex in his own attempt to stay youthful and innocent, but at the same time wants to engage in it, and also concerned about homosexuals and perverted people.

Holden views sex much like a maturing stage in a young man’s life. Seeing it as something that takes away innocence. Yet he also considers himself to be a “sex maniac”. This contradicts his beliefs about sex taking away innocence, especially because he has been kicked out of many schools, anybody would come to believe that he is not innocent. Although because of his confusion, he always holds back from engaging from giving girls “the time”. As with the prostitute he met. He waited for her to come up to his apartment because he had been made an offer by a man he met, but when she came he decided that he was too depressed to do anything, but still paid her. This might’ve come to a belief that intercourse should only take place between two people who know each other very well. Another instance, not so sexual but romantic, is his old friend Sally Hayes. He fantasizes with her about renting a car, running away living in a wooden cabin, and getting married. She tells him that “you cannot just do something like that”. Between Sally Hayes and Bernice Krebs, a girl he danced with at a hotel, he views them as stubborn because their main focus is in boys and men, all of which he believes are up to no good.

Although Holden might feel that sex is a maturing stage and is slightly degrading, he also really longs for intimacy. Homosexuals and perverts, all the same to Holden. An old friend whom he talked to at a bar, talked a lot about sex and thought that it was a typical conversation, he didn’t think that the topic of sex should be reserved for private company as Holden says “He knew quite a bit about sex, especially perverts and all”. Carl knew a lot about sex and knew about everyone’s sexuality. He said that gay people were “flits”. He witnesses a couple on the streets spitting in each other’s faces and laughing about it. He calls this “crumby” but is somewhat aroused by kinky behavior but it also disturbs him at the same time.

Another question to take note of is the possibility that Holden could be gay. Holden noticed Carl acting a little gay but he would assure Holden that he was straight. Although this could be that maybe he is reading homosexuality where it doesn’t exist. There is the possibility that Holden could be gay but has a hard time admitting it to himself, after all he seems to be slightly uncomfortable with the thought of having sex with a woman.

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Understanding of Sexuality, Relationships, and Intimacy. (2018, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 5, 2021, from
“Understanding of Sexuality, Relationships, and Intimacy.” GradesFixer, 03 Dec. 2018,
Understanding of Sexuality, Relationships, and Intimacy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].
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