• Sweden edition
 
New Swedish film puts sex back on the map

New Swedish film puts sex back on the map

Published: 14 Jan 2011 10:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Jan 2011 10:39 GMT+01:00

Sweden's previous cinematic effort to teach people about the birds and the bees, “Language of love” (Ur kärlekens språk), came out in 1969 and is often cited as one of the reasons why the country became synonymous with sex.

The film, which featured live actors, contained authentic scenes of intercourse and masturbation, and despite the fact that many of the scenes consist of serious round table discussions, the film sparked protests in the UK and was confiscated at the US border, spawning a free speech case that eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.

In the intervening years, societal attitudes toward sex and talking about sex have changed considerably. The advent of the internet has also made images and information about sex more readily available to young people and adults alike.

Despite increased access to information about sex, young people in Sweden nevertheless seem in need of a refresher course. Chlamydia infection rates are on the rise, and many seem to be lacking basic knowledge about human procreation.

Thus, public health and education officials in Sweden thought the time was ripe for a new film to increase sexual awareness among Swedish teens.

Entitled “Sex on the map”, the new film, co-produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company (UR), is the first sex-ed film for Swedish schools for 25 years.

It’s set in a school library where five teenagers, Abdu, Melody, Kim, Hanna and William, have met to do some extra maths study. The stand-in teacher, Jao, knows less about algebra and equations than he does about what’s really on the teenage mind: sex.

While the set up may sound like something out of a low-budget porn production, “Sex on the map” is about as far from the San Fernando valley as the Ice Hotel.

In a frank and open way, the maths teacher explains everything about sex to the students, from the anatomy of the genitals (including the ‘vaginal corona’, as the hymen was recently christened by RFSU), to the act of sex in all its variations and interpretations.

The subject matter in the film, which ranges from the most basic sexual information to quite complicated emotional and physical issues, is based on real questions that Swedish teenagers have asked RFSU.

Rather than relying on live actors like “Language of love”, the new 28-minute film is animated, featuring detailed anatomical drawings and intimate encounters between semi-life like cartoon characters.

The film’s writer and director, Annamaria Dahlöf, found in researching “Sex on the map” that teenager’s questions about sex had become more and more basic in recent years. It wasn’t uncommon to be asked “Can you get pregnant if you have a bath in the same water that a boy has ejaculated in?” she told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Sweden has led the way in terms of frank discussions of sex for generations, and sex education has been obligatory in Swedish schools since 1955. The open attitude towards sex is largely thanks to the RFSU organisation, which was founded in 1933.

From its inception, the organisation has fought for issues such as the right to an abortion and contraception, sex education in schools and the decriminalisation of homosexuality. When it began, RFSU was funded through sales of prophylactics. Even today a large part of the group’s income comes from the sale of condoms, as well as other products including lubricants, dildos, vibrators and pregnancy testing kits.

A sexuality education expert at RFSU, Hans Olsson, served as project leader for the film and did his best to ensure the accuracy of both its anatomical and emotional content.

According to Olsson, it was high time for a new sex education film for Sweden. The film shown currently shown in schools is a Danish film that made 25 years ago. Being an animation the film has stood the test of time well, but things needed to be updated for a modern audience.

Although the new film is very explicit, Olsson doesn’t think people will be too shocked by it.

“We have already previewed it to a group of 300 people in Gothenburg and it got a good reaction. The audience wasn’t shocked as there’s nothing new in terms of its explicit content. Most people have seen sex on the Internet,” Olsson explains.

When it comes to grading Sweden’s efforts to promote sexual awareness, Olsson gives Sweden mixed marks. By some measures, Sweden is doing very well in comparison to other European countries. There are fewer teenage mothers than in the UK, for example, and attitudes towards sex and sexuality are open.

Overall, says Olsson, Swedish teenagers are “satisfied with their sex lives”.

On the other hand, infection rates for Chlamydia have been on the rise over the last few years and condom use is particularly lax among the 19- to 21-year-olds. However, if a sexually transmitted disease is caught or there is an unwanted pregnancy, there is less of a taboo in Sweden to talk about it and seek help.

The fact that the new film is animated makes it a lot easier to show sex in both an explicit and anatomically detailed way. On an emotional level, cartoon characters also allow the viewer to detach themselves from the action.

Current plans call for it to be shown throughout the Nordic region. A version with English subtitles will also be released, although there are no plans as yet to distribute the film to the wider international market.

And while the new film probably won’t generate as much controversy as Sweden’s last foray into sex education cinema, its creators hope it will help young Swedes learn and talk about sex.

The philosophy of RFSU, and by extension, the forthcoming film, is to be non-judgmental about sex and instead to offer factual advice, rather than take a moral stance.

“Society has to accept that young people have sex and that it is a part of their lives. At RFSU we aim to support rather than restrict young people, in order to help them make healthy decisions,” says Olsson.

“Sex on the map” (Sex på kartan) will have its premiere broadcast on Monday 17th January at 10.30pm on Svergies Television (SVT 1).

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

15:01 January 14, 2011 by jjoensuu
Young people in Sweden need to be told this? haha, I do not believe that.

Besides that the amount of information that is needed for copulation-related activities can easily be communicated with the material that is already available.

More likely is that there are people who find it amusing to make this type of videos and now they think they have found a good excuse for it.
00:50 January 15, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I believe the Mexicans know more about sex than anybody and they don't need any frigging cartoons to explain it.
22:36 January 15, 2011 by tomas R
Hello!

It is the big question to show or not to show the things about sex to young people. But I think that it is important to show these things in video for teenagers. Because the young people must understand the reality of sex life in family. And the important of this thing.

It is my opinion,

tomas (Lithuania)
15:50 January 16, 2011 by Freebie
Recommended viewing perhaps for this particular American high school, considering '....High School in Memphis Deals With 90 Teen Pregnancies'

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7901507-high-school-in-memphis-deals-with-90-teen-pregnancies
22:49 January 17, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
This reminds me of a song from *Annie, Get your Gun" entitled, "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly." Part of the lyrics:

Folks like us could never fuss

With schools and books and learning.

Still we've gone from A to Z,

Doin' what comes naturally (doin' what comes naturally)

You don't have to know how to read or write

When you're out with a feller in the pale moonlight.

You don't have to look in a book to find out

What he thinks of the moon and what is on his mind.

That comes naturally (that comes naturally).
23:06 January 17, 2011 by Swedesmith
Shucks and I always thought masturbate had to do with fishin'.
21:51 January 18, 2011 by Garry Jones
Are parents consulted before this is shown to kids for consent?

For the rest of my post see the forums. I'd already posted there when I saw this. (Same heading)
23:55 January 18, 2011 by Ivan Juric
After the consentual sex scene you should also show where the "polis" come kicking the door down and arresting the man for rape due to some obscure technicality.
16:40 January 20, 2011 by ismetopher
where can I view this video?
15:36 January 21, 2011 by MarshaLynn
How is it that for thousands of years, civilization has gotten by without sex ed? It's a bunch of hooey and is the spawn of a degenerate society. The people who come up with these ideas are the last ones I would want teaching my children about the birds and the bees. Here is what you should teach: that non-monogamous sex leads to unwanted pregnancies and STDs. There! That's all they need to know. Furthermore, when we have a society that is soaking in sex everywhere -- even on billboards!!! -- then we have to be crazy to think we aren't influencing kids in that direction. When society does not control itself, why does it expect kids to do so? Maybe, just maybe!!!, profligate attitudes toward sex aren't such a good idea for society.
20:03 January 22, 2011 by BobWas
I know it's only an instructional video, how did they have the teacher broach the subject of sex to the maths study group? Sounds like something a pervert would do.

Like, "Psst, kids. Look at this porn I found on the Internet"
10:37 February 1, 2011 by HYBRED
"...Overall, says Olsson, Swedish teenagers are "satisfied with their sex lives".

Envy or jealousy may be part of the problem. Adult Swedes are somewhat uptight when it comes to sex. The older they get the worse it is. They just hate someone else enjoying themselves and getting something they are not.

But underage kids should not be having sex.
Today's headlines
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Photo: TT

Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains

Torrential rains in western Sweden have left some towns submersed as water levels have risen to 1.5 metres above normal for the season with forecasts indicating that is worse to come. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

977
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN