Lady Chatterley's Lover

by: D.H. Lawrence

Section IV: Chapter 10

What seems evident is that Lawrence believes some mystical power to reside in the human body, and in the sex act, which cannot precisely be described. There is no real distinction, for the reader, between the three sex scenes depicted in this chapter, and yet the third scene, on the forest floor, proves orgasmic and profoundly meaningful. Lawrence gives the reader very little idea why this might be. It is simply taken for granted: Mellors brings Connie to orgasm simultaneous with his orgasm, and what results is the deepest of human connections. She begins to adore Mellors. Her increased passion even seems to guarantee her pregnancy: the physical stimulus of orgasm triggers a reaction of such psychological importance that it, in turns, stimulates her physically to pregnancy. "It feels like a child in me," Connie thinks. Surely, this is not a scientific but a mystical--a pseudo-pagan, even--explanation for her pregnancy.

Lawrence's mysticism makes it difficult for the reader to trace the evolution of love in Connie and Mellors; it is difficult to identify with them or understand their emotions, because their response is sensual, with sensory stimuli triggering deep emotion. In this sense, this is a very difficult chapter for the reader. Lady Chatterley's Lover refuses to act like a typical novel, familiarizing the reader with its protagonists.

I have observed that in many ways Lady Chatterley's Lover is a conservative novel. What information one can glean from the sex scenes between Mellors and Connie seems to support this assertion. The reader will notice that Connie is purely passive in all three of these sex scenes. It is in the third scene--the one where she successfully reaches orgasm with Mellors--that her passivity, even docility, is most explicit. She does not want to have sex with Mellors, but she yields to the force of his passion: "She was giving way. She was giving up." It is only through utterly surrendering herself to Mellors that she arrives at her sexual awakening. The reader will remember that the great sin of Mellors' wife, Bertha Coutts, is that she was sexually aggressive. Lawrence seems to exalt female passivity; women in his system become merely receptors. It is through passivity, through yielding to the male urge, he indicates, that women can be fulfilled. The reader will remember that on the night before Connie leaves for Venice (in chapter 16), when she is transported by sensual pleasure, she needs first to subject herself: "she had to be a passive, consenting thing, like. . .a physical slave." The contemporary reader may find this troubling; I certainly do. What must be said, I think, is that, however radical are Lawrence's graphic depictions of sex, his approach to the sex-act itself, and the roles of the sexes within it, is hardly progressive.