Context note: Serena Joy is cradling the protagonist as the protagonist is having sex with the husband during these thoughts. The ritual is being played out due to a coupling of warped religious distortion, apocalyptic circumstances, and infertility problems within the population.
What’s going on in this room, under Serena joy’s silvery canopy, is not exciting. It has nothing to do with passion or love or romance or any of those other notions that we used to titillate ourselves with. It has nothing to do with sexual desire, at least for me, and certainly not for Serena. Arousal and orgasm are no longer thought necessary; they would be a symptom of frivolity merely, like jazz garters or beauty spots: superfluous distractions for the light-minded. Outdated. It seems odd that women once spent such time and energy reading about such things, thinking about them, worrying about them, writing about them. They are so obviously recreational.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood 1986