Growing Up Sexually







Tomasson[1] tentatively argued that the high illegitimacy rate that prevails in Nordic countries, and the marked regional variations within these countries, is due to the differential penetration of Christian mores of marriage into the traditional folk culture. The older permissive pattern persisted in those areas where the influence of Christian conceptions of marriage was weakest.


Strindberg (1886)[2] observed eight to ten-year-olds having intercourse in the bushes.


Ribal (1973)[3] studied 36 case studies of American, Swedish and Danish college students about sexual learning and development during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, with comments by a student from the other culture. Using this material, Straver (1986:esp. p28-70)[4] compares the North American and Scandinavian case from an interactionist perspective (GUS, Vol.II, § In addition to this comparison, Martinson (1994)[5] cites Hagerfors [?], who


“[…] speaking about sex activity in a Swedish nursery, complained that the children sometimes closed themselves in the private area, an area provided for children in Swedish nurseries, engaged in sex play, and talked only about sex. The staff told the parents what was going on but otherwise played no part in it except to say something like, “Stop harping on that, now we are going to do something else; we don’t want to hear any more about penises”. Scandinavian children generally are more sexually knowledgeable than American children; they are not necessarily more or less likely to engage in sex play, but the type of play reflects their greater knowledge. That young children are sexual and can be expected to engage in some sexual activity is more accepted in Scandinavia than in the United States. […] Behavior that I found was still treated as child sex play in Scandinavia, at least up until 1984 (Aigner and Centerwall 1984)[[6]], was treated as perpetrator-victim behavior in the United States”.







Additional refs.:


-- Johansson, B. (1995) Far jag chans pa dej? Om barns foralskelser [Do I Have a Chance with You? About Children in Love], Nord Nytt 58:86-107

-- Sjöstrand, W. (1954) Några fakta om onanien hos universitets- och högskolestuderande, Populär Tidskr Psykol & Sexualkunskap




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] Tomasson, R. F. (1976) Premarital Sexual Permissiveness and Illegitimacy in the Nordic Countries, Comparative Studies in Society & Hist 18,2:252-70. Cf. Tomasson, R. F. (1971) Sexual Permissiveness and Illegitimacy in the Five Nordic Countries. Paper for the American Sociological Association

[2] Strindberg, A. (1886) Tjänstekvinnans Son. Engl. Transl. under the title The Son of a Servant.1969 Dutch transl., De Zoon van de Dienstbode. Amsterdam: Arbeiderspers, see p93ff. Also cited by Kern, S. (1973) Freud and the discovery of child sexuality, Hist Childh Quart 1:117-41, at p119

[3] Ribal, J. E. (1973) Learning Sex Roles: American and Scandinavian Contrasts.San Francisco, Calif.: Canfield

[4] Straver, C. (1986) De trapsgewijze interactie-carrière, in Rademakers, J. & Straver, C., Van Fascinatie naar Relatie: Het Leren Omgaan met Relaties en Sexualiteit in de Jeugdperiode; Een Ontwikkelingsdynamische Studie. Zeist [Holland]: NISSO, p1-128

[5] Martinson, F. M. (1994) The Sexual Life of Children. Westport, Conn: Bergin & Garvey

[6] Aigner, G. & Centerwall, E. (1984) Barnas Kjaerlighetsliv.Oslo: Pax Forlag