Analysis of “Vacation Sex”
In Dorianne Laux’s poem, “Vacation Sex,” one can draw many conclusions regarding Laux’s view on marriage, love, and sex. In fact, Laux presents the reader with three different styles, or forms of love. These are presented in her experience with vacation sex, sex at home, and her experience viewing the homeless couple outside of her house.
Laux’s diction in the beginning of the poem automatically sets an informal tone. For example, the very first line of the poem, “We’ve been at it all summer,” possesses no romantic connotations whatsoever. Laux’s diction almost reflects the way she views this “vacation sex, “ as being almost crude and very blunt. In the bedroom, as well as in her diction, she gets right to the point.
The poem undergoes a turning point in the third stanza, “But the best was when we got home.” Laux’s diction becomes almost softer and her tone shifts from abrasive to more sentimental. This is shown by her use of religious terms, and softer imagery. The religious terms Laux uses are, “vestibule,” “vestments,” and in fact, the word “religious.” This possibly portrays her second view of sex or love as being a holy act. When her and her husband return home the sex becomes somewhat holy in a sense. Laux’s softer and homey imagery also connotates her loving, as opposed to lustful, view of sex. “Our pillows that smelled like us,” is a phrase that gives this 2nd view of love, more about making love then just sex. Also, the word “cuddle” in the second “section” of the poem almost juxtaposes Laux’s experience of being “at it all summer,” as seen in the first “section”.
Finally, the third and final section of the poem begins in the fifth stanza when Laux recalls seeing a homeless couple sharing a bag of wine and arguing while sitting “on the dentist’s bench.” Laux has covered, love and lust, but waits until the last stanza to mention a completely different side to...