In the girl with dragon tattoo, sex is connected closely with control. In this book, women are depicted as at a disadvantage comparing with men most of the time. As the fact that it is hard for them to outwin men physically, women develop sex as the weapon to gain control over men.
In stereotype, men are dominating ones in sexual relationship. Women are expected to be passive and submissive. Yet Salander does not follow the norm. She has got the right to pick up her sexual mates. The book says that “…sex had always occurred on her conditions and at her initiative” (257). She met her partners mostly from the pub. She never falls for any man – in other words, she keeps her relationship under absolute control. Also, she cares so much about her initiative in a relationship that when she found out she is mildly irritated with Blomkvist; she decided to seduce him and have sex with him. And she knows that she will not miss it because Blomkvist is “one of these guys who can’t keep his hands off women”(434) according to her background report. She only takes action when she can predict the outcome.
Yet on the other hand, Cecilia, another woman Blomkvist has sex with, feels losing control as their sexual relationship develops. She is frustrated with the fact that she cares more and more about Blomkvist though she is the one who initialized this relationship. She acted as “a lovesick teenage girl who could not control herself” (279). She has been used to Blomkvist’s company so she feels even more at a loose end when he is leaving for sentence. So she decided to leave him for good to regain her control. Thus it turns out that refusal to have sex with a man can also be an option for woman to control.
However, the power of sex can be easily abused by certain men in the form of rape, which does harm to women more mentally than physically. Salander chooses to take revenge at Bjurman by making him suffer from the same thing as he did on her after she is raped by him instead of taking other ways because she wants Bjurman to realize the humiliation caused by power of sex.