Sex And Sexuality In Walt Whitman's Poems

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Before a sexual experience, both parties must give consent in order for sex to initiate. Unfortunately, both women and men are often taken advantage of by a person disregarding their right to say no. Ignoring one’s right to consent directly violates and disrespects sexuality and self. In a society where people do not understand or consider the irreparable damage caused by snatching away consent, teaching respect and mutual desire must occur. Through his poetry, Walt Whitman conveys a strong belief in a woman’s sexuality. By respecting feminine sexuality and endorsing passionate sex, Whitman firmly believes in the necessity of consent. In order to respect a woman’s right to consent during sexual acts, one must believe there is power in a woman’s sexuality. Whitman exemplifies his respect for female sexuality with positive, illuminating descriptions. Whitman places power in a woman’s sexuality by stating, “She contains all, nothing is lacking,” (1375). By declaring nothing …show more content…
However, these lines could be interpreted incorrectly when isolated from the rest of his work. When describing sex, Whitman states, “I listen to no entreaties. I dare not withdraw,” (1377). One could construe this statement into one, which proves Whitman goes against the will of the woman. However, considering the entirety of his work, Whitman uses this line to illustrate the absorbing nature of sex. Earlier in this poem, “A Woman Waits for Me,” Whitman also writes, “Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers. Now I will dismiss myself from impassive women,” (1376). He explains the woman, his sexual partner, acknowledges her sexuality and commits to the sexual act. Furthermore, Whitman indicates that he rejects sex when the woman is inexpressive with her feelings. Simply, Whitman states he will only initiate sex with a woman who clearly expressing desire to do

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