In the poem "Sex without Love" by Sharon Olds, the speaker is confused about how people can engage in the act of intercourse without love. Casual sex was something that was just being introduced during this time of free love and sexual liberation during the 1960s. Olds compares the purist, to athletes who train their entire life to obtain that personal record or perfect orgasm. The "pros" were more interested in experiencing passion and euphoria through sex then the connection of love. Boundaries and rules shouldn't limit the experience of having that infinite moment with another person, even if love isn't involved. People who can have intimate physical relations without the ugly and burdensome weight of cultural or religious dependence, is a truly independent hero, an athlete, one who can face the toughest tests of endurance with grace and beauty even though this will ultimately leave the person alone in the universe because they can never be satisfied without love.
Olds uses the first couple stanzas to describe professionals of their crafts relating them to people who love to have sex: "Beautiful as dancers, gliding over each other like ice skaters over the ice, fingers hooked" (2-4). The speaker is comparing professionals of their art to people who have the same type of "fingers hooked" in the bedroom. The word "hook" is implying two bodies connected to one another. Olds can see the beauty in not having to worry about being in love with the other person but loving the act sex instead. Although, the dancers and ice skaters are flawless during their routine: when the performance is over the performers always go home. Olds implies there is no real love here: "wet as the children at birth whose mothers are going to give them away" (5-7). Mothers willing to give babies away after sex means there can't be true love involved.