From our earliest beginnings, we have been a nation obsessed with sex, titillated by it at the same time that we fear it, elaborating rules to contain it at the same time that we violate them.

Lillian Rubin

The first two facts which a healthy boy or girl feels about sex are these: first that it is beautiful and then that it is dangerous.

G.K. Chesterton

I wanted to be a good girl, so I tried to control myself. I chose a personality, a body, a faith, and a sexuality so tiny I had to hold my breath to fit myself inside.

Glennon Doyle

Consenting sexual relations are a good thing, regardless of number, gender, or positions assumed. Incontinent baby-making is a bad thing in an overcrowded world. The muddle the Judeo-Christian nightmare has made of our sexual attitudes is something not to be believed.

Gore Vidal

I had thought sex was to breach new ground, despite terror, that as long as the world did not see us, its rules did not apply. But I was wrong. The rules, they were already inside us.

Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

She had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship.

George Orwell, 1984

The trilogy composed of politics, religion, and sex is the most sensitive of all issues in any society.

Nawal El Saadawi

Life without sex might be safer, but it would be unbearably dull. There would be very little hazard in it and even less joy. It is the sex instinct that makes women seem beautiful, which they are only once in a blue moon, and men seem wise and brave, which they never are at all.

H.L. Mencken

We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it—everything.

Marilyn Monroe

Desire is boundless, and boundlessness frightens us.

Martha Roth

The peculiarity of our sexual actions or fantasies is not easily untangled or explained away. The ground from which they spring is simply too muddy. Acts can be controlled, but not desire. Sexual feeling pops up, in spite of our politics.

Siri Hustvedt

It’s wrong to be ashamed of yourself. Presumptuous and stupid. I’ve made myself sick with shame, because I could feel so strongly about another woman. I should instead feel ashamed of the years since then, when I felt nothing.

Ebba Haslund, Nothing Happened

The right sort of sex stimulus is invaluable to human daily life. Without it the world grows gray. I would give everybody the gay Renaissance stories to read, they would help to shake off a lot of gray self-importance, which is our modern civilized disease.

D.H. Lawrence

A little coitus wouldn’t hoitus.

Graffito in a women’s restroom, quoted in Ms., 1975

We are beginning to understand that this instinct of sex, which has been so great a cause of suffering and shame and has been treated as a subject fit only for furtive whispers or silly jokes, is in fact one of the greatest powers in human nature.

A. Maude Royden

Pleasure, after all, is a safer guide than either right or duty.

Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh

The first time someone else touched me with the intent to pleasure, I fell in love. Not with that person, but with the act itself. Such intimacy and accord. Even with the awkwardness of first-time lovers there was a grace and purity, carnal and beautiful, that I knew from that moment on I could never live without.

Fiona Zedde, Bliss