As an American living abroad, European attitudes towards sex, nudity, and porn have always shocked me. Seemingly in stark contrast not only to American habits, but also ideals, the European sex life was something that was often put on a pedestal as ground-breaking, but when in actuality, bodies are just… incredibly normal. Tuning into British television for the first time, I was absolutely shocked to see as much full-frontal nudity (of both female and male) as I did. One, because these things are strictly taboo on American television outside of HBO— and two, because I swore that America had a really healthy, open, and free ideals concerning sexuality and body normalcy. Boy, was I wrong.
More than just on tv, sex scenes in movies and Swedish porn completely rocked my world. With each genre reaching a bit deeper into a very casual complacency when vividly describing fetishes, “underage” sex (age of consent is much different in Europe), and just the deed in general. However, looking at it all a bit more closely, I discovered that Europe at large, and the Swedes in particular, might be onto something.
Swedish Porn is Fantastic
Look, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, Swedish porn will almost undoubtedly appeal to one (if not all) of your dirty little secrets. Perhaps the greatest thing about the genre is that, outside of speaking Swedish, there isn’t really a common theme amongst most Swedish porn flicks. Tropes get boring, as any mainstream porn fan will quickly tell you. While Swedish porn still caters to particular tastes— like lesbian, BBW, and fetish— but they seem to leave the awkward segues, annoying gender stereotypes, and wooden scripts behind.
Which isn’t a particularly new theme in Swedish cinema, as early as the 1950s the country was churning out fun and fancy-free flicks that involved rampant nudity and pre-marital sex, much to the charging of Westerners. However, as our tastes evolved, so did Swedish pornography, only they had a bit of a head start. Long promoting more personal freedoms in sexual expression.
Which could be because the country itself is pretty sexually liberated. With many fetishes that are villainized elsewhere, being perfectly acceptable up north. Not to mention the fact that the Swedish government pays close attention to the sexual health, satisfaction, and habits of their constituents, doling out a national survey to check in on everyone and see how it’s all going.
Thriving, Not Surviving
According the most recent Swedish sex survey, a report extended by the Swedish Public Health Agency, even in today’s rocky social climate, most Swede’s report a high satisfaction with their sex lives. With a huge majority of those surveyed saying that they believed that sex was an important part of their daily lives. In fact, a third of the population says that they have sex “several times a week”, which blows most Westerners out of the water.
Both men and women report high levels of sexual satisfaction, particularly those within the 30 – mid-forties age range. Where younger men and older women are the ones that suggest there’s still some fringe frustrations to be felt. Which is fairly well aligned to sentiments in other parts of the world. A stark difference can be found in who wields the power in the bedroom, however. Where it’s common in many countries for the women to be the decision makers when it comes to where and when, most Swedes report that having sex seems to be more of a collaborative affair.
Scandinavian Roles and Preferences May Play a Part
However, when it comes to the pornography they happily produce, and the rest of the world rabidly consumes, Swedes fall out of sync with the rest. Roughly 72% of men surveyed say they watch porn, where 68% of women report never watching it, which appears to be in stark contrast to what could be expected from these demographics in the US and UK. Which comes as a bit of a surprise when considering the country’s long history with scintillating film.
A 2018 study of American porn consumption habits showed that 91% of men and 60% of women in America consume pornography on the regular, which well surpasses that of the Scandinavian demographics. Where in the UK, a mere 76% of males, and 36% of females admitting to consuming pornography. Which could give a reasonable explanation for why nearly half of British women say they’re sexually dissatisfied. So, while the Swedes tend to use less pornography, despite producing it, they do seem far more sexually satisfied than the countries that consume more.
So, what does it all mean? Well, that’s still up for grabs, but maybe Brits should start watching Swedish porn and Americans should simply start practicing it.