Call Me by Your Name Call Me by Your Name question

Qn about the sex?
Aidah Aidah May 14, 2018 07:30PM
I know I'm way late to the party but I've just finished this book and I keep wondering but can't for the life of me understand.
Why did Elio feel so much shame and lack of interest after the first time they had sex?

Well, as far as the shame goes, it was internalized homophobia: 'It was not him I hated - but the thing we'd done.' The verbiage Elio uses - words like self-loathing, remorse, revulsion - make it very clear that he is struggling with having crossed a previously uncrossed line and had sex with a man, and not just had sex with him, but was the passive partner in the act as well. He had approached the situation with Oliver as an experiment of sorts - he just needed to have him once, to dispel the desire and the feelings he'd been having for him. It would all be out of his system then and he'd go back to being the way he was before (ie straight). But afterwards he begins struggling with the knowledge that the doubts he's been having about himself for a few years now may not be so easily dispelled.

His self-loathing spills over onto Oliver, and his response to the tumult of feelings stirred up by the events of that night is to get away from Oliver and not be confronted with what he's done and who he's done it with. Later, of course, he gains some perspective and his equilibrium is restored.

The first time can be a big let down, so I assumed Aciman was trying to portray an honest situation that also contrasted with how Elio had put Oliver on a pedestal.

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