In the story “Lust” by Susan Minot, clearly the theme of the story might be expressed as the search for self-awareness. The narrator struggles with how to fit in with her sexually active peers. Another theme might be the different ways males and females approach sexuality. The narrator wants an emotional connection, but the guys she encounters want only physical release. When guys would have sex with many girls that’s something that they would be proud of and would want to flaunt it around, but for a girl every time their number went up they were considered a tramp. “ The more girls a boy has, the better. For a girl, with each boy it’s as a petal gets plucked each time.” (Minot, Lust, 283)
In the story the narrator described how everyone her age was sexually active and they just wanted to have sex for the feeling that it brought and just to be able to say that they had sex. Everyone had their own opinion for sex, it many cases they just wanted to do it because of the thrill that it brought. Because narrator is so depressed, she is searching for an outlet from which she can escape, and she has found that with sex. “ Listen, I just want to have a good time.” (Minot, Lust, 281) As the reader it is obvious that lust was very common back in the days due to how all of the narrators peers are described as sexually active. No child grows up dreaming of being a slut or a tramp. The narrator explains, “The joke was that the school doctor gave out the pill like aspirin. He didn’t ask anything. I was fifteen” (Minot, Lust, 282)
"After sex, you curl up like a shrimp, something deep inside you ruined, slammed in a place that sickens at slamming, and slowly you fill up with an overwhelming sadness, an elusive gaping worry. You don't try to explain it, filled with the knowledge that it's nothing after all, everything filling up finally and absolutely with death" (Minot, Lust, 285) The narrator is certainly not proud of how she is or what she is doing. After sex, she feels degraded and disgusting. She explains how she curls up and feels ashamed. Still, she states, “You don’t even ask for anything or try to say something to him because it’s obviously your own damn fault” (Minot, Lust, 286) The narrator has realized all of this, but by then it is too late and she remains helpless still. The fact that the she has realized this doesn't change much. She learned that it’s easier to open your legs than your heart. The narrator has proven to herself that she is just as shattered as ever. She still does everything they want, knowing its wrong. It's no surprise to her that after the "briskness of loving" his mild surprise is something she's known all along. She "seems to have disappeared" (Minot, Lust, 286)
In conclusion I do think that people often confuse the term love and lust. Usually it’s the girl that misleads it, in the story Minot does show and describe the themes of how love is different from lust. If the narrator had stayed home instead of attending boarding school I think that she would have had someone to guide her like her mother and she would know the difference between love and lust and wouldn’t have to go through all of this the hard way.