Sex in Brave New World Essay Example
Sex. A three letter word that brings discomfort to a lot of people, but more importantly, what about the people teaching adolescents about this uncomfortable topic? How does our real world experience with this issue differ from the experiences in literacy? In the dystopian novel Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley, human sexuality plays an important role in the everyday lifestyle of the people. From a very young age, people are conditioned to participate in sexual activities, or as the leaders from the World State call it, “games”. The citizens are repeatedly told “everyone belongs to everyone else” (Huxley 43), meaning that you are sexually available to everybody. This motif is drilled into the people’s minds so they participate in erotic play with a profusion of people. Unlike parts of our world today, sex is openly discussed with adolescents and young adults in Brave New World. Based on a review of current events, some people around the world agree with Huxley’s perspective on sex and sex education with adolescents, others completely contrast his viewpoint.
“Babies Come From...Armpits?” by Dan Levin
An obvious variation between conversations surrounding sex in the novel and in the real world is shown in the article “Babies Come From...Armpits?” by Dan Levin writing for Newsweek. This article claims that there is a huge stigma surrounding conversations around sex, birth control, and childbirth in China. The topic is not talked about in families and only lightly touched on in schools, but the adults are too embarrassed to discuss human anatomy and contraception. Since this topic is skipped over in the Chinese culture, it has led to a 13% spike in the sexually transmitted disease, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). It also makes many women go to mifepristone, or the “abortion pill”.
If this pill is repeatedly used, it can cause abdominal cramping, anxiety, fatigue, uterine bleeding, endometrial hypertrophy, and many other side effects. Even though there is confusion about this topic, 71% of young people in China are sexually active before marriage. Li Yinhe, a renowned female sexologist in Beijing said that “young people are learning about sex anyway, either from the Internet or from their friends. It’s important that they learn from the right places.” (This article shows how the lack of sex education/knowledge about sex in young ages has hurt people in the long run. It has caused them to use a drug that has an abundance of terrible side effects, as well as cause a rise in the number of sexually transmitted infections in a country (Levin). The only way to fix this is to educate kids about sex, which will ultimately diminish the taboo surrounding this topic.
While sex education is a very important part of a young person’s adolescence, it is something that many places in the world have not mastered yet. Every country has its up and downs with sex education, but some have more dangerous consequences, as shown in the article “Sex Education Around the World: How Were You Taught?” by Isabelle Bilton. Just like in Brave New World, Belgium, New Zealand, and The Netherlands are all very open about human sexuality. In Belgium, there is a website called Alles Over Seks, also known as All About Sex. This website was originally designed for 15 year olds, but it has also been targeted to 7 year olds. It discusses topics such as birth control, STIs’, and even sex positions.
In The Netherlands, sex is treated as a typical part of human life and should be taught as such. It is normal there for all children of the age 4 and over to get informative and proficient advice. As a result of this, teen pregnancies are very low in The Netherlands. New Zealand is also teaching kids about sex education from a young age, which is diminishing the taboo. However, in places such as China, India, Indonesia, Uganda, and Malaysia, sex education is not heading in the right direction, which is completely different from the education children get in Brave New World. In China, the sex education is almost or completely absent. This has led to a rise in the number of abortions Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Sex education here is not mandatory, so which leads to gaps and questions in the young adults’ minds. In order to tackle this problem, China had students read textbooks about sex, but parent’s quickly got rid of them. Just like China, India does not have a law that states that sex education is compulsory. Since students don’t know about sex, 53% of children between the ages of five and twelve have been sexually abused. Adding on, India has the highest rate of HIV infection, and 50% of girls in rural India don’t know what menstruation is. The culture of sex in India causes shame and guilt for people. In Indonesia, sex education is deemed to be an “extra-curricular” activity. Since this is not widely discussed, Indonesians don’t usually understand why sex can be dangerous or how to engage in intercourse safely. Also, many young girls are forced to marry because of young pregnancies.
For people in Malaysia, sex education is integrated into other subjects, and it disregards other important things such as consent or emotional welfare. Uganda also has a similar problem, whereas The Ministry declines a proposal to teach sex education to a wider age range as well hand out contraceptives to teens ages 15 and over. In the United Kingdom and United States, sex education is not the worst, but could be better. In the UK, the sex education requirements are very vague. All children above the age of four will receive relationship advice, all children in secondary school will learn about “appropriate material”.
In the US, the sex education programs vary from state to state. An outline is given to each school, but each institute normally has the final say. According to Planned Parenthood, 43% of young females and 57% of young males had not learned about birth control before having sex for the first time (Bilton). Clearly, the world has a long way to go in order to do a better job at educating our future about safe, consensual sex, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections, and other sex education related topic.
A recent interview with officials from a boarding/day high school in Northern California reveals variable policies and degrees of understanding among staff and faculty regarding sexual activity among students. In separate interviews, Amanda Tredennick, Kathy Laughlin, Sonya Evans, and Julie Lanzarin discuss sex education and sex with teenager at San Domenico High School in San Anselmo, California. Tredinnick is the Dean of Students, Laughlin is the counselor, and Evans and Lanzarin are resident faculty members for the boarding program. Tredennick, Laughlin, Evans, and Lanzarin concurred that school is a place to learn, and that sex on campus is not allowed. If they were to encounter two people having sex, each agreed they would direct the students to get dressed and later meet with each student separately.
All four interviewees would also make sure that the student engaged in sexual activities were safe and secure with their decision to engage in sex. The consequences/outcome would be decided on a case by case basis. While San Domenico provides an exceptional program with their sex education, teaching the young adults about anatomy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, consent and more, the rules about having sex on campus are not made clear to the whole student body. Tredinnick and Laughlin noted that only the boarding students know about the rules regarding sexual relations.
Tredinnick states that “technically there is a rule about it, but we can’t put our heads in the sand.” Half of the interviewees did not feel like this subject was a taboo topic since they have to deal with the concept on a regular basis, but the others felt uncomfortable talking about sex with students. There are also condoms available to students who ask for them, and birth control advice is provided by the Laughlin, the school nurse, and in health class. These interviews show that some school staff are uncomfortable talking about sexual relations, as well as that there is a certain stigma around sex and teenagers. However, the interview also reveal San Domenico is somewhat overcoming this taboo.
Huxley’s point of view on sex education and human sexuality varies between countries and even states around the world. While he was right about sex not being a taboo topic in some places, his idea was completely wrong for some places in the world. While the world is moving towards a place where sex is more openly discussed, it still has a long way to go. This matters because the taboo surrounding sex impacts young adults and children in negative ways, as important topics aren’t being discussed in schools and in homes. Teenagers and adolescents need correct information from influential sources about sexual relationships, contraceptives, and other related issues in order to make correct decisions about their lives. They need to understand about the advantages and drawbacks to having sex. After all, as Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat, once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”