Role of Sex in Brave New World

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Everyone is used to seeing sex advertised on television and in print today, but various works of literature also utilize it as a central tenet. One of these, Brave New World, uses sex for a variety of reasons, including religion.

Obsessed with Sex

Let's face it: Plenty of people believe our society is obsessed with sex. Simply walk around a mall, and you'll see just how many products and services focus on helping people be as sexually attractive as possible. Society is involved in a constant debate about whether overt sexuality is beneficial or not. From groups encouraging abstinence to parties that border on being orgies, our society is obsessed with sex.

The World State of Brave New World is no different. However, while our society debates about what role sex should play in public life, the World State is decidedly pro-sex. In this lesson, we'll examine what role sex plays in the society of Brave New World.

Brave New World cover
Brave New World cover

Everyone for Everyone

Many in our society consider it a virtue to be selective when it comes to sexual partners. Again, there's debate in how much selectivity is necessary, but no one insists people should have intercourse with someone when they don't want to.

All of this gets turned on its head in the World State. After all, 'everyone belongs to everyone else'. People are encouraged to seek out as many partners as they want, and it is considered antisocial to deny the advances of another.

Sex at an Early Age

This training starts at an early age. In the opening chapters of the book, we see the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning showing a group of students around a nursery. The children there are undergoing what the DHC refers to as erotic play. Even at this early age, children are being taught that it is wrong to deny the advances of others. In fact, when one boy is observed as having denied the attempts of a girl one too many times, it is suggested that an intervention may be necessary.

No Favorites

There is a second aspect to sex in Brave New World that differs greatly from our society. To a great extent, much of modern society expects individuals to maintain a certain amount of monogamy within sexual relationships. Cheating is the inspiration for everything from bad divorce battles to a slew of equally bad pop songs.

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