As a character, Celies own experiences have not engaged her on the same levels that Shugs sexual experiences have. This is to say that Celies life and collection of experiences have not been personally gratifying or freeing in the way that Shug suggest sexual experiences should or can be. To Shug, sex is more about the personal gratification and the freedom of bodily and emotional expression that comes with the act of making love (Selzer, 69). Since Celies life has revolved around taking care of her children and making sure the men in her life are happy, she really hasnt had much time to develop her own personal sex life in a gratifying or selfish way.
It is important to make the distinction between acting selfishly as the men in Celies life have and acting selfishly as Shug suggests Celie do. These are two separate things, and the act of making love is supposed to be a shared emotional and physical expression of love. This is where Shugs interpretation of virginity comes into play. She argues to Celie that if she has not experienced sex through the lens of a personal expression of her own sexual freedom and desire (and one could make the case that Celie had not yet done this), then they really havent experienced sex yet. At least not to the full potential that humans, or a woman like Celie could hope to experience (Selzer, 70). Shug is simply offering Celie an alternative view that sex is not just a physical necessity or weapon to be used against men or against oppression, but that for a woman, sex is to be an extension of their own love and connection with a mate.
In this way, sex becomes sacred or divine, because it can only be experienced in the context of personal gratification, freedom, and expression with a lover.
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