“She thought there could be nothing more seductive than an ooloi speaking in that particular tone, making that particular suggestion. She realized she had stood up without meaning to and taken a step toward the bed.” … “She did not pretend outwardly or to herself that she would resist Nikanj’s invitation — or that she wanted to resist it.”
So this somewhat creepy passage shows a large shift in Lilith’s attitude toward the Oankali. An suggestion she once thought of as grotesque and deplorable, she now considers seductive. Not to mention, this is sort of rape-ey because Joseph is asleep and drugged. There was a big part of this book missing; at one point Nikanj is sleeping, Lilith by its side, and the next, Lilith is in a big room preparing to Awake humans, after having trained in their “forest” and lived with Oankali for another year. We don’t really know of every interaction or modification she underwent during that year, but this passage is hugely indicative of the attitude shift she has had. To me, she is less human than she thinks. It seems like these alien ideas are becoming addictive, or like a habit she can’t kick and doesn’t want to. And she even knows it’s vulgar! A few paragraphs later, “she tore off her jacket and seized the ugly, ugly elephant’s trunk of an organ, letting it coil around her…” The imagery in that sentence and the meaning behind it is goose-bump inducing. I’m not sure where this is all going but it seems like she has entirely accepted her fate, even though she still thinks to herself that they will learn to live, then escape on Earth. Weird stuff here.