In turn of the century Danish village, for engagement the girl was at least 16, the boy 20 (p97)[1]. Salomonsson (1993)[2] analysed a case of sexual misconduct involving nine girls aged 12-13 in a Swedish town during the 1950’s to demonstrate the moral and social outlook of the authorities, contrasting it with the equally strong ethical values of the working-class families concerned.

Studies informative for childhood include those reported by Hertoft[3]. Masturbation seems to develop in the 12-14 age group, with 15% having experience before age 13. In a study by Auken (1953)[4] among 315 female inpatients, it appeared that the primary source of sexual enlightenment was stated to be “associates” (46.1%), mother (11.9%), fiancé (8.5%), domestic animals (8.8%), sisters (8.5%) and, among other sources, only 3.1% from school, sources, etc. Average age of learning about coitus was 14.4 (some months before menarche), coitus taking place on average at age 19.1. 25.2% of 150 women indicated some childhood sexual experience with an adolescent or adult (p390-4). A study by Wielandt et al. (1989)[5] showed that the median age of coital debut was estimated at 16.8 for both sexes.

A book by Ernst (1979)[6] is primarily analytically oriented, and offers no further perspectives.








§         Coninck-Smith, N. de (Oct., 1999) Transparent Childhood: Paedophilia in the Light of History-Denmark c.1900-1945. Paper presented at the conference Research in Childhood. Sociology, Culture and History, University of Southern Denmark []

§         Coninck-Smith, N. de (2000) Danger is looming here. Moral Panic & Urban Children's and Youth Culture in Denmark 1890-1914. OdenseUniversity, Working paper; 16 []

§         Coninck-Smith, N. de (2002) Pedophilia in Danish elementary schools - 1900-1970. 27th Meeting Of The Social Science History Association, October 24-27, St. Louis []



Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Mar 2005


[1] Anderson, R. T. & Anderson, G. (1960) Sexual behavior and urbanization in a Danish village, Southwest J Anthropol 16:p93-109

[2] Salomonsson, K. (1993) “Sexual-flickan”: i fattigkulturens skärningspunkt mellan kön och klass [“The sexual girl”: at the point of intersection between sex and class in the culture of the poor], Årbog for Arbejderbevaegelsens Historie [Denmark] 23:193-212

[3] Hertoft, P. (1969) Investigation into the sexual behaviour of young men, Danish Med Bull 16, Suppl. 1: 1-96; Hertoft, P. (1964) Investigation into the sexual behaviour of young men, Acta Psychia Scand 40, Suppl. 180:247-8; Hertoft, P. (1970) Das Sexuelle Verhalten junger Dänen, in Bergström-Walan, M. et al. (Eds.) Modellfall Skandinavien? Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, p59-136. See particularly the sexual histories presented at p119-33

[4] Auken, K. (1953) Undersögelser over unge Kvinders Sexuelle Adfärd. Köbenhavn [etc.]: Rosenkilde och Bagger. See English transl.

[5] Wielandt, H., Boldsen, J. & Jeune, B. (1989) Age of partners at first intercourse among Danish males and females, Arch Sex Behav 18,5:449-54

[6] Ernst, N. (1979) Børns Sexuelle Udvikling. Kopenhavn. Cf. Dutch transl.