Sex and Power

I have been thinking a lot about our discussion during Wednesday’s class regarding how Jesse in “Going to Meet the Man” thinks of sex as being about power and domination rather than love. In reading this story, we can all recognize what a horrible, distorted sense of love and affection Jesse has for his wife, if he has any sense of this at all. He does not seem to think of Grace as more than an object to fulfill his sexual needs, and since she does not even really have the ability to do that, she probably means very little to him. However, I feel like David in Giovanni’s Room also falls into this trap of associating sex with the power that one can have over another. David demonstrates his concern with this part of his relationship with Giovanni during their fight when David accuses Giovanni of wanting to feel strong in their relationship and wanting David to be his “little girl” (337). Giovanni says that he does not think about their relationship in this same way, but David does not seem to be able to separate sex from the power he feels he needs to demonstrate to prove his masculinity. Because of this, I have a difficult time trying to decide if I think David actually loves Giovanni. On the one hand, I do not think that David would have been able to have a relationship with just any man because it takes a lot for him to allow another person to see his true self. For him to be able to do this with Giovanni, I think that he must have had to love him at least a little bit. However, I also think that David did not even let Giovanni see his full true self, as he remained guarded, deceptive, and concerned with the power dynamic of their relationship even as he was saying that he loved Giovanni. Regardless of the extent to which David loved Giovanni, though, it is clear that any relationship that cannot consider sex as separated from power is going to be problematic.