An excerpt from "After Dark" by Haruki Murakami:
"Have you got a boyfriend?" Korogi asks.
Mari gives her head a little shake.
"Still a virgin?"
Mari blushes with a quick nod. "Uh-huh."
"That's okay, it's nothing to be ashamed of."
"You just didn't happen to meet anybody you liked?" Korogi asks.
"There's one guy I used to see. But..."
"You didn't like him enough to go all the way."
"Right," Mari says. "I had plenty of curiosity, but I just never felt like doing that. I don't know..."
"That's fine," Korogi says.. "There's no sense forcing yourself if you don't feel like it. Tell you the truth, I've had sex with lots of guys, but I think I did it mostly out of fear. I was scared not to have somebody putting his arms around me, so I could never say no. That's all. Nothing good ever came of sex like that. All it does is grind down the meaning of life a piece at a time. Do you see what I'm saying?"
"I think so."
"Someday you'll find the right person, Mari, and you'll learn to have a lot more confidence in yourself. That's what I think. So don't settle for anything less. In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It's important to combine the two in just the right amount."
This short passage contains a lot. There's a lot I want to say about it. I really like reading Murakami's work right now, especially this book. It puts me into mind of my own sleepness nights but in a soothing way, placing me in a slow-moving world of darkness lit with the fluorescence of a likewise insomniac city.