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The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator

Anne Sexton

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not okay
Added by: Lisa
this is offensive to me
Added by: Lynne
Lisa . . . why do you find this poem offensive?
Would a poem about sex be offensive?
Why is a poem about solitary lonely love offensive? I am not trying to criticize your opinion, I am honestly curious.
poetry doesn't just have to be about love and flo
Added by: miss trout
i think, lisa, that if one looks at this poem superficially, one would find it offensive. however, perhaps you were just put off by the title. surely anne sexton, an accomplished poet, does not just throw masturbation together into a sloppy rhyme and call it poetry. she has a purpose. i am involved in a poetry club at my school, and read this poem to our members, purposely omitting the title so that they could hear it and absorb it without prejudice. no one found it offensive because they looked at the deeper meaning of the poem, which is rejection and emptiness. masturbation is taboo in our society, and that is precisely the reason why anne sexton chose this title, to shock and intrigue readers. our society would be dull and colorless if we censored everything some found 'offensive.'
Bed Marriages...
Added by: Bob
...in my dreams with you, trice a night!


Added by: postpartum
I just masturbated for the first time since giving birth 17 days ago. It felt soft and new and I came very gently. I can relate to this poem. I think it's lovely.
Added by: bed
Sexton seems to be rejecting the flawed relationships between human beings by embracing "the bed." Note in the last stanza how she de-humanizes the "boys and girls" (not men and women) who seek sexual pleasure in other people, rather than themselves. They "are glimmering creatures full of lies." their affection for each other through a sexual act is a false affection.

Sexton is claiming that humanity overindulges itself in the act of sex. "they are eating each other. they are overfed." human interaction is a dismal existence. her loneliness derives FROM this knowledge that we all exist as lone creatures for lack of our ability to genuinely communicate with others.

therefore, her marriage to the bed is her acceptance of this isolation FROM man. and masturbating, the love of self, is the only love that can truly exist purely since there are nor expectations of reciprocity.
Added by: sheets
wow, bed has the right of it. i simply can't believe that someone had so nearly the same exact impression of this poem as i did.

you see, great poetry bring the great minds to thinking alike.
Added by: anonymous
What I can't get over about this poem, whether or not it's offensive or pessimistic or whatever, is its amazing beauty, its bittersweet expression and portrait of life. And even if one is put off by the supposed topic (which I find shallow, but understandable), I can't imagine not seeing that sad beauty.
Added by: Christopher Sexton
If you think her stuff is distaste ful and nasty and sick then don't read it...... she is a great poet and if you can't see that then you shouldn't read her stuff
Added by: Josh Hardy
I think that this poem encapsulates a bitter mood and is about one womens intimate encounter with herself physically and emotionally at this time in her life. The speaker is bitter because her ex-partner has gone to another woman. She is bitter about love making and those indulging in it. Bitter and perhaps jealous. She is expressing this mood through descriptions of loving couples such as “The glimmering creatures are full of lies”. She is finding solace in masturbation. She is frustrated and lonely and wallowing in her brooding cynical thoughts about couples.

Perhaps this poem is about a persons sexual appetite. It’s about justifying masturbation to oneself. It’s about the bitterness you feel when someone breaks up with you, and how your sexual appetite reminds you of these feelings and connects(marries) you to them.

I think the bed is an image that represents intimate and personal feelings as well as raw sex. And this poem may be describing how a person is respectful of these things as well as intrinsically connected to them as a person is to a marriage partner. Hence “At night, alone, I marry the bed”

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