An Examination of Sexuality in Peter Pan

Topics: Peter Pan

Peter Pan is the story of a young boy who never wants to grow up. He meets a young girl named Wendy, who instantly falls in love with him and wants more than just friendship. Sexuality is a huge theme in the play, seeing as how both Peter Pan and Wendy are at the age when this becomes an issue. Peter never wants to grow up, however, he knows that sex is a grown-up thing and that is why Peter doesn’t want anyone to touch him.

One example of sexuality was when Wendy tried to hug Peter at the beginning of the play. The stage directions state “She leaps out of bed to put her arms around him, but he draws back; he does not know why, but he knows he must draw back.” (Barrie 29) Peter does not want to get aroused because he knows that if he does, it is taking away from his childhood. Children don’t think about things like that so in Peter’s subconscious,s he knows that he cannot let Wendy touch him.

Peter is scared that he may like Wendy’s touch and he is not going to let that happen.

Another example of the sexuality of jealousy throughout the play. Tinkerbell (Peter’s fairy) is extremely jealous of Wendy the very first time that they meet. Tinkerbell thinks that Peter is all hers until he meets Wendy and she instantly hates her. The mermaids that are on the island of Neverland hate her and both Tinkerbell and the mermaids try to kill Wendy.

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They are all sexually attracted to Peter and they all want them to themselves. All of the females in Neverland want to be with Peter and all of the males want to be like Peter. All of the jealousy of and for Peter Pan shows sexuality because all of the girls want him and are jealous of Wendy because she is the closest one to have him. The men are jealous of Peter because they want the women to be sexually attracted to them and they all only want Peter.

Peter only sees Wendy as a mother and nothing more. This frustrates Wendy because she wants to be with Peter emotionally, physically, and intimately. Peter cannot understand this and only wants someone to tell him and the lost boys stories and clean up after them. At one point in the play, Wendy asks “What are your exact feelings for me, Peter?” and Peter replies “Those of a devoted son, Wendy.” (Barrie 106) At this point, Wendy realizes that Peter will never grow up and stops trying to be with Peter intimately. Peter does care about Wendy, but only in the way a son would care about his mother. Wendy is hurt by this and only wants Peter to be her husband and the lost boys’ father, not her son and the lost boys’ brother.

At the end of the story, Wendy tells Peter that she will come back to Neverland once a year to spring clean for him. All of the lost boys are living with Wendy and her family, but Peter wanted to stay in Never so that he wouldn’t have to ever grow up. As Wendy gets older and goes back to Neverland, Peter has forgotten about everything like the lost boys and Tinkerbell. Wendy is older now, so she is experimenting with sex, while Peter is still the same and wouldn’t have it any other way. At the end of the play, Wendy truly realizes that she and Peter can never be together in any way other than friendship, or her treating him like she is her son.

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An Examination of Sexuality in Peter Pan. (2022, Jun 13). Retrieved from

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