This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Complexity Of Sex In A Complex Culture

1196 words - 5 pages

The Complexity of Sex in a Complex Culture

    Sex is a universal irony.  Modern society is bombarded by sexual images yet the definition of sex is much more hidden.  The words "sex," "love making, and "sexual relations" may be perceived differently from one person to the next.  Sex is an abstract word, difficult to define because of a taboo in America against publicly discussing the issue.  Thus, because the topic of sex is discussed among friends privately more often than publicly, a certain personal language evolves among individuals when discussing sex.  When sexual language is used publicly ambiguities are developed.  Culture also plays a key role in how specific individuals define sex.  Political, anthropological, and social debates occur because of ambiguous terms and cultural differences regarding sex, as well as because social taboos do not always dictate behavior.


Margaret Mead, in her anthropology essay Sex in Samoa, claims that the Samoan adolescent girls experienced sexual freedom and love-making.  Differences, in the Samoan and American cultures regarding sex, caused the debate over the credibility of Mead's findings.  Today, imprecise and unfamiliar terminology used in the Clinton Sex Scandal creates political debates.  Analyzing adolescents in today's culture demonstrates that American culture, like the Samoans is very complex, and that this complexity can create debates regarding defining sex in society. 


Today, Americans use the word "sex" as an abbreviation for the term "sexual intercourse."  In this way, the word "sex" can almost be considered slang.  The Dictionary of English Slang and Unconventional English states "sex, by 1975, has been used to distinguish between sexual intercourse and other available services" (Partridge 1038).  Even the slang dictionaries are unwilling to use familiar language when describing sexual activities.  Instead of being forward when speaking or writing publicly, formal language such as the term "other available services," replaces the word "foreplay," a more common phrase.  This demonstrates the taboo against discussing sex publicly. When it does occur, such as in the Mead and Clinton debates, the result is public confusion over language.  These debates coined phrases with no specific definitions, such as "sexual freedom," "sexual relations" and "love-making."


Margaret Mead used the term "love-making" in an ambiguous manner and thus set the stage for debate regarding her conclusions in Samoa.   The term "love-making" is a euphemism for either sexual intercourse or for other sexual activities.  Even the Oxford Essential Dictionary creates confusion by stating love-making is either "intercourse or courtship" (355).  Derek Freeman believes Mead used the word to describe sexual intercourse and thus claims that she contradicts herself in two main areas.  A contradiction arises from Mead's claim that adolescent girls freely...

Find Another Essay On The Complexity of Sex in a Complex Culture

The Complexity of Success Essay

1100 words - 5 pages Want to be happy? Of course you do. A popular belief is that success is a guaranteed way to be happy. In fact, most parents follow this guideline. We're taught as children that if we want to be happy, we must first become successful. In the stressful world we live in today, happiness is in short supply. Because of this, our parents push us to work hard so we can become successful. Guaranteed happiness sounds great to everybody, but in reality

The Levels of Complexity in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

1799 words - 7 pages “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, on the surface appears to be a straightforward poem illustrating the monologue of a tired traveler passing by the woods on a winter evening who captures the scenery of his journey and comes to a realization that he has quite a bit of traveling ahead of him before he can rest. The simplicity of this poem is apparent, but at closer inspection there is vast complexity entailed in the wording

The Importance of Sex in a Relationship

957 words - 4 pages The Importance of Sex in a Relationship “A good sexual relationship is essential to good health,” says Dr. Barbara Bartlick, psychiatry professor who founded the Human Sexuality Program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York(“Experts: Sex is good

The Complexity of Evil in Morison´s The Bluest Eye

1035 words - 5 pages The book The Bluest Eye is a real representation of what Morison the author thought growing up as a black girl in a city in Georgia was like. She wanted to be as realistic as she could, the point of the novel is not to be some heart-warming story about how a young black girl can rise up in the Georgia neighborhood that she lived in. But about the hard and confusing life of a black girl. There was no true hero and there was no goal but just a

Return of the native; a complex chracterisation

2429 words - 10 pages Hardy's own native corner of England. Wessex follows the geographical contours of Dorset, England, with only a few changes made by Hardy: it is not hard to see how the culture, language and geography of Hardy's home country shape his novels. The Return of the Native takes as one of its central themes--and, arguably, as its central character--the tract of windswept upland in Hardy's Wessex known as Egdon Heath. The novel is deeply rooted in the folk

Sex in Raunch Culture

1604 words - 7 pages of another group of people who were being oppressed. The second wave feminist movement strived to achieve equal rights for men and women, alike. They hoped to emancipate both genders of restrictions which would inhibit them from participating in certain tasks, such as voting or getting a job. In Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Ariel Levy introduces a new group of feminists that began to emerge around the 1990s

The Complexity of Holden Caulfield

676 words - 3 pages contradiction, his bipolar desires lead him to mental instability from an already questionable mental state. In The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger explores the complexity of mental illness through the male protagonist, Holden Caulfield, during his impossible mission of preserving the innocence of others. Throughout the novel Holden Caulfield deals with a complex variety of emotions that lead to a mental breakdown. In the beginning of the novel he

The Complexity of Team Work

2053 words - 8 pages Introduction The complexity of teamwork is more than what Merriam-Webster defines teamwork as “the work done by people who work together to do something”. Teamwork involves good practices and strategies utilized in a cohesive manner to get to a common goal. Therefore a clear definition of a team must first be established in order to further understand the complexity of the teamwork process. A team is a collection of two or more people with

The Complexity of Language Increases in Proportion to the Protagonist's Development in Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"

2158 words - 9 pages hawk-like man whose name he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier-woven wings, of Thoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and bearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon. (243-244)In this passage, The Flight, James Joyce depicts a series of associations that the young man goes through in his mind. Joyce's style remains, but to show that the protagonist is older, the language and ideas have become more complex than in

A Mathematical Analysis of Computational Complexity

3290 words - 14 pages }^{\mathbf{m}}$, of conjunctions over unsatisfiable or no. Our interest is theoretical although simulations of parallel computation can be performed using cards introduce here. On showing that the decision process for a card can be performed polynomially, we built a new path to understand computational complexity questions and in future works, we will establish more bounds in complexity questions. A precise definition of {\em algorithm} was

The Complex Themes in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

923 words - 4 pages The award winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, may appear to be a simple story about childhood and life in a Southern town in Alabama, but it is really a complex novel dealing with themes of education, moral courage, and tolerance. Through the eyes of Scout Finch, the narrator, Harper Lee teaches the reader about the importance of a moral education, bravery and courage, and prejudice vs. tolerance. The first theme Harper Lee

Similar Essays

The Complexity Of Language In Modern Society

1013 words - 4 pages grew also our capability of knowing and perceiving something. Take for example the example of the color red. If I had lived in earlier eras where the word ‘red’ was just limited to ‘red,’ then I could have easily said that my school’s uniform is the same color to that of the McDonald’s waitress’ uniform. But, seeing as how I live in the modern era, I could easily distinguish my school’s uniform as maroon, and the McDonald’s waitress’ uniform as more of a scarlet tone. With this, there is no true way of ‘knowing’ something, especially in such a complex way, unless the language one understands welcomes the idea of that something.

Complexity In The Wasteland Essay

1229 words - 5 pages In The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot paints a bleak picture for his readers. Despite the vagueness that is present in his work, it is still obvious that Eliot's feelings concerning the state of the world are not exactly passionate. The complexity in his work signifies the growing difficulty of the world that he criticizes. Through his eyes the world is a very debasing place. The downfall of the world stems from the lack of compassion from its

The Complexity Of Freedom Essay

1059 words - 5 pages being addressed, not all new found freedoms are necessarily good. As a Christian I have an absolute world view, with a morality clearly laid out. This is the same morality that is written on the conscience of mankind. My goal however in this post is not to comment on whether the issues I raise are moral or not; but rather to make an observation on the complexity of freedom. Black South Africans are aware of a certain erosion of their culture that

The Complexity Of Montresor Essay

980 words - 4 pages Poe’s Montresor from “The Cask of Amontillado” is a deeply complex individual. Montresor is vengeful, seeking to get back at an enemy. He is insane and sadistic, causing pain and suffering to Fortunato for his own amusement. He is calm and logical, completely fooling Fortunato and accomplishing what he set out to do in an effective way. Montresor is assuming, taking judgement into his own hands. Finally, Montresor has a conscience. At first