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Sex, Lies, and Obsessions

            Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita has been debated ever since its release. Tracing a man's life before, during, and after a long love affair he has with an adolescent girl, Nabokov brilliantly displays a man full of inner and outer conflicts. Humbert Humbert and Dolores Haze, a.k.a Lolita, have become household names to many people. Lolita has been argued to be a pornographic novel, a psychological study, a look into Nabokov's own life, and more. However, Lolita has many facets; it is not simply any of these things. Lolita is about sex, obsessions, love, control, and co-dependency.
             Although Lolita's Humbert does talk about sex, actual sexual acts are only mentioned and not in detail, proving this is not a pornographic novel. Humbert talks extensively about wanting sex and his sexual desires. When alone with Lolita in his room one day, he says.
             "Her adorable profile, parted lips, warm hair were some three inches from my bared eyetooth; and I felt the heat of her limbs [ . . . ] All at once I knew I could kiss her throat or the wick of her mouth with perfect impunity. I knew she would let me do so [ . . .] for now she was not really looking at my scribble, but waiting with curiosity and composure- oh my limpid nymphet- for the glamorous lodger to do what he was dying to do." (.
             This passage discusses sex in a sensual, romantic, almost erotic tone. However, when actual sexual acts occur, Humbert only eludes to them. On his first sexual encounter with Lolita, the love of his life and object of his desires, Humbert only says, "by six she was wide awake, and by six fifteen we were technically lovers" (140). When Humbert talks about other sexual acts, he states them in a declarative, non-erotic way.
             " I liked the cool feel of armchair leather against my massive nakedness as I held her in my lap. There she would be, a typical kid picking her nose while engrossed in the lighter sections of a newspaper, as indifferent to my ecstasy as if it were something she had sat upon" (174).

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