IES: Finland




Saami, Sámi / Lapps(Finland, Norway, Sweden)



“As regards sexual enlightenment, this is never done by the parents, but by older brothers and sisters or by companions. The relations between the sexes are based on comradeship, and as a rule lead to nothing but innocent friendship” (Bernatzik, 1938)[1]. Lapps have a liking for sexual jokes which function as sexual education for the young (Delaporte and Roue, 1973)[2].

Anderson (1978)[3]:


“By prescription, sexual experience should be reserved to marriage partners, and sex education, birth control, and abortion are anathema. Despite this, once the person is confirmed in the church by the age of 16, he becomes de facto eligible for sexual experience. Before marriage, this experience is generally while intoxicated, and neither before nor after marriage is it frequent. When a person marries, it is often expressed as being motivated by a desire for a family rather than for a sexual partner” (p108-9). “Sexual intercourse between the unmarried is only truly scandalous if it takes place before their confirmation in the Norwegian state church about one year before compulsory nine-year schooling is completed. Confirmation serves as a rite of passage between childhood and adulthood” (p167).


“Premarital sexual relations are not subject to censure, whereas divorce is unknown (Pelto 1962: 147-8)[[4]]”[5].















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

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Bernatzik, H. A. (1938) Overland with the Nomad Lapps. New York: Robert M. McBridge & Co. Also cited by Whitaker, I. (1955) Social Relations in a Nomadic Lappish Community. Oslo: Norsk Folkemuseum, p46, n30

[2] Delaporte, Y. & Roue, M. (1973) Relations Preconjugales, Fidelité, Suicides: Conduites Sexuelles dans un Groupe de Lapons Nomades, Anthropologica 15,2:155-66

[3]Anderson, M. (1978) Saami Ethnoecology: Resource Management in Norwegian Lapland. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International

[4] Pelto, P. J. (1962) Individualism in Skolt Lapp Society. Helsinki: Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys (Finnish Antiquities Society) / New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1996

[5] Ingold, T. (1976) The Skolt Lapps today. London / New York: Cambridge University Press, p152