In 1984, does the party recognize the fact that sexual instincts cannot always be controlled? Support your answer.

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Generally, in 1984, the party does not accept the idea that we can not always control our sexual desires. We find evidence of this in Part 1, Chapter 6 of the book in which it is stated that:

"The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party. Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema."

For the party, then, sexual instincts must only be acted upon in the context of marriage, always between a man and a woman and never for pleasure. In fact, the party idealises artificial insemination as a means of creating children, thereby completely eliminating the need for intercourse.

Sexual relations outside of marriage are forbidden because of their potential to create loyalties. The party defines these loyalties as dangerous because they have the potential to distract people from their love of Big Brother. Unsurprisingly, then, the party advocates total celibacy for people who are not married. To help achieve this aim, the party has developed the Junior Anti-Sex League to promote celibacy and to encourage the complete eradication of sexual thought. 

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, as we learn in this chapter. For those party members who are unable to kill their sexual instinct, there are a plethora of prostitutes to service their needs. Generally speaking, the party turns a blind eye to prostitution, if the woman is a prole, as Winston tells us:

"Mere debauchery did not matter very much, so long as it was furtive and joyless and only involved the women of a submerged and despised class."

But, if promiscuity occurs between two party members, it is conceived as an "unforgivable crime" and would be punished accordingly. 

What we find in 1984, then, is an attitude towards sexual instincts which is full of nuances and inconsistencies. It is acceptable for men to possess strong instincts and to act upon them but women are not granted the same liberties, unless they are of a lower social class. 


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