did anyone notice that little passage in book 2, where Berger said she enjoyed her open marriage but her ultimate fantasy sexually was where she was with 2 men at the same time?..it was so matter of fact and casual, the way Larrson introduced it, but a really radical aspect of the books are the open relationships, with no jealousy, blurring of conventional sex roles..

Posted by Vas in Washington DC , 12 September 2011

By Editor

22 thoughts on “Berger and sex”
  1. I noticed it. I find a very interesting dialogue going on between the sex trade expose and the casual acceptance of what the US majority’s idea of OK sexual practices. I would love to heard Larsson’s opinion on the hypocrisy that I feel he revealed.

    Posted by Mr.Woker in Boone, NC ,

  2. I pushed Post too early. Larsson’s non judgmental voice when describing the sexual relationships of Mikael in contrast with the condemnation of the abusive sex trade, suggests to me he suggests the hypocrisy of the popular morality and the naturalness of sex between consenting adults.

    I think the scene mentioned here, does many things, one of which is to say that if all consent, enjoy and emotionally connect, good fun can be had. Another thing it does is point out that even those who have exceeded the common morality boundaries have their own morality. Which for me raises the conversation of how my personal morality gets worked out in a larger community morality.

    Posted by Mr.Woker in Boone, NC ,

  3. I don’t think his reference to Berger’s sexuality is hypocrisy. Here is this woman who is open sexually but has consented to have these relationships when the sex trade is based on coercion, sex against one’s own will and exploits young women who were terribly misguided. Berger is unconventional but chose her path where as the women in the sex trade were forced into it by a bunch of thugs.

    Posted by EB in Boston, MA ,

  4. I believe these books show a healthier view of sex that the rigid puritanical view in America. There is so much hypocrisy in America about sex, religion and politics. I believe most European countries have healthier views on sex.

    As EB in Boston stated Berger’s sexual encounters were chosen, she did them on of her own volition. It’s all about being of age to knowingly make the choice and consenting.

    Posted by M Herrmann in Yorba Linda ,

  5. Congratulations EB (:-)), and M Hermann to your open minded views. When I read this about Erika Berger in the second book, I thought, oh man, this guy must have known ME, LOL Not only do I bear that woman´s name (first name at least), he gives a pretty accurate description of a sexual profile not foreign to me…;-) In real life, people cling to their partners like little children, scared to let him/her go, they fear the partner might become more interested in someone else and leave them. Love should free you, not limit you…but our society is motivated by fear. It will take some time before people can open their hearts and minds and boldly go forward, without fear, towards a more mature way of love and sexuality.

    Posted by EG in Vienna ,

  6. When reading any type of literature, sex always has a symbolic meaning in each circumstance. For example, when lisbeth has sex with blomkvist in the first book, that symbolized her journey to realize her capability to experience “true love” or in otherwords, marked the journey for the realization of self. Furthermore, i believe that the comment by Berger in the second book symbolizes a type of double standard when it comes to the definitions of appropriate and unappropriate sexuality, and almost symbolized how Erika compromises her feminist paradigm when it pleasures her most.

    Posted by alicia878 in Frisco, Texas ,

  7. Larsson wants you to think “what a slut” then realize that if a male character were being portrayed (consider Bloomkvist)you would not think that.

    Posted by jeg in shelby michigan ,

  8. I actually wondered why Blomqvist was portrayed as being a “bad father” and very sexually promiscuous in all three books. Perhaps it was to show that he’s a good person but he is also flawed? In the 3rd Millennium book, Mikael’s sister Annika states, “My brother is completely irresponsible when it comes to relationships. He screws his way through life and doesn’t seem to grasp how much of it can hurt those women who think of him as more than a casual affair.” At the end of “…Dragon Tattoo”, it is written that Salander is hurt by Blomqvist’s return to being with Berger. At the end of “…Hornet’s Nest”, it’s written that Berger is hurt by Mikael being in love with the female cop Figuerola. I’m familiar with “European” and “American” morals and I think sexual morality is all about the individual. I could go on but maybe all this sexual conflict with the protagonists has something to do with people just being human and making mistakes and also the sex probably helped to sell the books…

    Posted by CNJ in NYC ,

  9. All this judgement about other people’s private expression of their own sexuality (keeping in mind that these are fictional characters) reminds me of my favorite definition of “promiscuous” : someone who has sex more often (or with more more partners) than I do. Only in America. We are so conflicted by our own sexuality – we are simultaneously obsessed and repulsed by it. And oh so quick to condemn anyone who fails to live up to our own repressive, guilt-ridden expectations.

    Posted by MR in Atlanta, Georgia, USA ,

  10. Well said MR. We are a little more laidback in England and even further in Sweden.

    Posted by Lushlips in England ,

  11. Interesting that in the discussions above re sexuality in the novels no-one has raised the issue of bi-sexuality and homosexuality (lesbianism is this instance). There is as much of these relationships as heterosexual (is that the term) relationships. I found it interesting that Mickael appears to have a sexual relationship with most of the women with whom he reacts – Berger, Harriet, Lisbeth, Figuerola. Why? Also, his relationships appear to be with women only. However, Lisbeth and Berger are not exclusive in any way – they react to both men and women. In real life Larsen appears to have had one life-long partner so perhaps the sexual relationships was a result of Larsen’s imaginary adventures. I think the relationships are msotly emotionless – there was talk about falling in love, etc but none of this was real to me. I found all the relationships passionless, and in the end, meaningless. Will it ever be possible for Lisbet to develop a full long term relationship with any person given Lisbet’s beginnings in life? I think her emotional growth from the first novel to the last was really good and well developed by Larsen. Will Mickael ever really break with Berger – she can be what he holds on to as a barrier to commitment?

    Posted by DB Marquis in Johannesburg ,

  12. I think that Blomkvist’s disregard for women’s emotions and how he is a bit of a slut shows how the common man, even the good ones like Blomkvist, are naturally ignorant to the connection between emotion and sex not because of human nature but because of the social disregard implemented in them

    Posted by Angelica ,

  13. I think it all comes down to hypocrisy on Larsson’s part. He condemns violence against women and then his avatar – Blomkvist – struts around womanising with any female under 60 – even Lisbeth, who he describes, as looking like she’s 14. This is just Larsson’s adolescent fantasies poured onto the page. As a self-respecting woman I find this repulsive and quite pathetic. Had he lived, he’d have some awkward questions to answer.

    Posted by Jenny in Dublin ,

  14. Blomkvist’s relationships are voluntary, consentual, and non-violent. Indeed, they are quite normal, in my opinion. I see no hypocrisy in Larsson’s apparent acceptance of this lifestyle and condemnation of actual violence and forced servitude. There is a clear distinction between force and freedom here. Larsson is rejecting force and violence and accepting that people have the freedom to define their own relationships. The previous post strikes me as something that Teleborian might say, especially in the implication that a relationship with a woman that looks young is a form of latent pedophilia. Blomkvist’s relationship with Salander was obviously something different than that.

  15. No it was not. Larsson is trying to live an adolescent dream via his novel as a resourceful, ulterior do-gooder in every sense. None of it has a basis in reality. All peaople are flawed; they aren’t either good or bad, as Larsson wants you to believe.

    Posted by Jenny in Dublin ,

  16. I think all the r/ships are interesting and multi-layered, in transition. People under stress, trying to experience some humanity and connection. “Love” (spiritual) can transform sexual attraction/comfort into a romantic attraction (love); and respect/platonic love into sexual passion, and deeper more exclusive love. If you don’t judge people and instead look into them, their motivations and feelings, you will see more subtlety and grow with them on their journey!

    Posted by Amber ,

  17. It is interesting how much comment I find about sex in these books and find myself wondering why we apply definitions from ideology to discrete (and fictional) occasions between people (characters)and then blame the author for personal, moral and psychological shortcomings. Sex can be so many things to the people involved: simple to so complicated. It seems that bringing people to account for their imaginings is an overreach that seems totalitarian.

    Posted by turtle in California ,

  18. Blomkvist is just a divorced man , having an old lover with any serious commitment because she’s married and wont ever get divorced so he has all the right to find a woman , and lisbeth has a relationship with him because she started the sexual game , be honest , hard to take serious a woman like Lisbeth , but he supported her a lot during the second and third book why ? because he is a slut, jerk, woman’s hater ?? nooo , because he’s a human with good feelings . Not clear till the fourth book comes if he will be happy with Figuerola or Salander . Personally, I expect Lisbeth ends with the doctor Johansson . He likes to study the human mind and could be the only one really into analize Lisbeth’s mind.

    Posted by catherine in lima ,

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