In 1984, according to the Party what is the most harmful part of the sex act?

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Douglas Horley | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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The Party's view on sex is mostly revealed through one of the meetings between Julia and Winston. It is described as "sexual puritanism" (p. 139), and of course like all facets of life the party seeks to have control over it. Julia explains that the sex act uses up energy and leaves the individual feeling light headed and carefree, which is of course unacceptable to the tyrannical Party. Winston further reasons that the Party sought to control the sex urge not only because it was a possible threat, but also because by repressing the urge it would manifest into behaviour which would suit party purposes. He realises that there is an "intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy" (p.140).

Julia and Winston realise that in effect the Party has used the repression of sex to heighten the citizenry's angst and frustration, and then to harness those feelings into the angry hysteria required in such party activities as Hate Week. Whilst the sex act has the potential to be harmful to the party because it inherently produces a carefree state, the Party has skilfully used its repression to further entrench their own power.     


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