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Outrage over Swedish teens' sex dream essays

The Local/dl · 8 Feb 2011, 15:36

Published: 08 Feb 2011 15:36 GMT+01:00

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"Just the thought that a teacher would sit and ask about their sexual fantasies makes me sick," one parent told the local Ystads Allehanda newspaper.

The comments came after a class consisting primarily of 14-year-old students from the Kastanje school in Tomelilla received a rather unusual writing assignment for their Swedish lesson.

Entitled "The First Time" (Första gången), the assignment instructed students to imagine they were talking to a close friend and write about the past sexual escapades they might divulge in confidence.

Other options included making up a story about their first sexual experience, writing about the first time they had sex or how they hoped their first time would be.

Getting high marks required writing at least a half page and with "passion," according to the parent. The assignment made several students so uncomfortable, they told their parents about the request to write sexually themed essays.

"Can they really do this? As a parent, it doesn't feel right and it irritates me that we're talking about a graded assignment in a Swedish-language lesson," said the parent, who wished to remain anonymous.

A teacher from the school expressed surprise that the assignment had upset parents, claiming that most students appreciated the exercise, which was part of a cooperative effort between the biology, sex and well being, and Swedish-language departments.

However, Maria Ahnlund told the newspaper she took the criticism "very seriously" and said she would review the assignment next year to see if there is a more "neutral" approach to the topic.

Story continues below…

A spokesperson for teachers' union Lärarförbundet emphasised the importance of addressing student concerns.

"Obviously, if students feel like the assignment violated their privacy, that criticism must be taken seriously," Lärarförbundet spokesperson Claes Nyberg told The Local.

Nyberg added, however, that the union didn't have a position on the case, explaining that too few details were known to make a proper assessment.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:22 February 8, 2011 by bob3000
More classic google translate mangling from thelocal.

..."that a teacher would sit and about their sexual fantasies"...

..."and would to review the assignment"...

and the generally ill formed,

..."instructed students imagine they"...

Is there a journalist or an editor anywhere?
16:56 February 8, 2011 by Swedesmith
Half the pages were stuck together.
17:04 February 8, 2011 by UScitizen
Stuck together pages gets extra credit!
18:10 February 8, 2011 by koopa
Tomelilla sounds like a nice place to live ;)
18:40 February 8, 2011 by Toonie
The teacher should have given the students an example of his/her own first time, written with exemplary passion.
19:24 February 8, 2011 by countrysidedrive
For some reason this just doesn't seem appropriate. A middle age person reading the sexual fantasies of young adults. Something is wrong with that teacher. Maybe only very stupid but wrong.
19:43 February 8, 2011 by Just_Kidding
I go to SFI and our teachers keep asking how we live, what we do in weekends and who we live with. It seems that Swedish people are very curious about the private life of others.
20:02 February 8, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush

Yes, Swedes are indeed nosy, they can't help themselves, it's in their nature : )

Re; Privacy

Lawsuit, Lawsuit,Lawsuit !!!

I can guarantee, if this is put to My kids from the school, I'll own the school.

I will instruct My kids to tell the teacher to go "F" themelves and it's none of there business.

This invasion of privacy is totally Unacceptable.
20:24 February 8, 2011 by blursd
"A teacher from the school expressed surprise that the assignment had upset parents ..."

Sounds like a nominee for "World's Stupidest Teacher." The entire concept of the assignment is utterly and completely inappropriate -- a middle aged adult asking young teenagers to divulge highly personal details of a sexual nature in a "passionate" demeanor as a requisite for a grade. What's extra credit ... stripping down and having an orgy in the middle of the classroom for everyone to watch as an "educational experience?"

There is hardly a way to defend this type of supremely unethical assignment as benign. Was the follow up assignment to be to right down a list of their greatest personal fears, home address, and what time their parents aren't home?

The entire premise of the assignment should have red flags going up in the mind of any rational adult ...
21:18 February 8, 2011 by Scepticion
Another newsworthy story about schools:

The English School in Enskede is criticized for giving grades to students below year course 8 by the school inspectorate ....

22:13 February 8, 2011 by RoyceD
What is most worrying to me is that the defense the teacher uses is complete invalid. Who cares if the children thought it was ok, obviously it is not ok to anyone wise enough to realise the implications and murky realm this leads to.

I really hate that excuse, "its ok because we got a lot of good reviews", you know who else thought they were getting good reviews and lots of support.... nazi's.
23:25 February 8, 2011 by Willissteel
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
23:39 February 8, 2011 by Puge Henis
If it was one of my kids I would tell them to tell the teacher to Go F themselves... and write about how they told the teacher to go F themselves "passionately" as it would be the first time they told their teacher that. That should qualify and I think it would be quite accepted by everyone judging by the other responses here.
03:35 February 9, 2011 by volvoman9
I have long held the belief that our quasi religious morality is counter productive to healthy sexual interaction. However there are limits and what separates western society from more primitive cultures is the manner by which we protect our children. This is at the least shameless voyeurism and at worst pedophilia.
04:18 February 9, 2011 by John Wayne
Just one more reason that Swedens education system is so far behind the rest of the world..
05:47 February 9, 2011 by UScitizen
I carelessly made a remark eariler, in response to another remark but this really isn't funny. It kind of makes you wonder if only three schools in Sweden are being run by pedofiles, doesn't it?

I don't know if the teacher is male or female, it doesn't really matter, but if I had a 14 year old daughter and a male teacher asked her to write about her sexual experiences and fantasies, well....... I guess I'd end up serving the standard two year murder sentence!
07:53 February 9, 2011 by calebian22
Hmm, I am surprised that this teacher has not now written a paper entitled, "The first time... a group of pissed off parents beat me because I am a pervert."
09:35 February 9, 2011 by ooh456
@calebian22 lmao
10:10 February 9, 2011 by wabasha
so i wonder what grade "got drunk and woke up naked" would get. is that enough passion?
10:21 February 9, 2011 by zooeden
Im not afraid about the question for 14 years old or younger auditorium but the homework and the whole idea wasnt thought with taste If I may so. There are many and pedagogic ways to approach the theme and in this case it was dealt with the least appropiate form. Sexuality health and exploration should be driven by much higher and educated sexologists and psycologists bringing formational views of the personna. Not just a homework for the pleasure of an idiot!!!
11:06 February 9, 2011 by Keith #5083

nice of you to volunteeer.

As to the article, it's the 'marking' scenario that bothers me. I find the concept to be essentially a breach of privacy and participation should be optional - with no penalty if you choose not to enter an essay on the specified subject. If you do choose to enter (as peer group pressure to boast usually has an effect) then in what impartial way can marks be given?

If you passionately describe a condom for half a page, or passionately describe the accute embarrasment of a minor aspect (like catching the eye of some older person ogling you at the swimming baths), or some unnamed teacher at the school who always seems to be extra attentive to your appearance....

I think the teacher, with respect, needs to approach this matter with more respect!
11:22 February 9, 2011 by jacquelinee
Very interesting situation- grade 8 essays on sexual fantasies and experiences, as well as the televised "HOW TO" sex ed cartoons as stated in the recent article here. Maybe the school board and network execs can animate´"Deep Throat" and that can become an educational tool as well. Just because it is a cartoon does NOT mean it is for children. As far as I know, under 18, you are a child. When I first moved to Sweden, I was appaled to see "Family Guy" on Saturday morning kids programming in between Bollybompa and Pippi Longström, and my first experience with Swedish programming was to watch a piece of poo being flushed. STILL have no idea what that was all about. Obviously, like in so many other casesin Sweden, it is just too much extra work and effort involved to actually take the time to be aware. I think both the network and the school system should be ashamed and made to answer for this disgraceful behaviour. Sweden is becoming a land of mixed cultures and nationalities. Face it Mr. Sven. It may be accepted practice for Swedish youth to be exposed to this sort of sexual brainwashing. Most Swedes feel it is totally acceptable for 14 and 15 year olds to have "sleepovers" where kids who have a crush on each other share the same beds! I know this first hand. A 15 year old Swedish girl who met my 17 year old son at CHURCH walked right by me and joined him in the shower!!!! I wonder why???? COULD BE THE EDUCATION SYTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not all of cultures want our children to be promiscuous.
12:03 February 9, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Let's see, at this point in their pubescent lives, all there is to write about for the boys in masturbation and for the girls, princesses and fairytales.
12:17 February 9, 2011 by Shibumi
This assignment is inappropriate regardless of age. I know it might not seem so in the age of Facebook, but some things should be private. Sexual education can and should be taught in a way that does not require personal information to be shared.
15:39 February 9, 2011 by astounded
Two questions:

Why has this teacher not been sacked?

Why has the teacher not been arrested on suspicion of paedophilia?
16:58 February 9, 2011 by soultraveler3
This wasn't a very well thought out assignment.

It's strange and bothers me, that none of the teachers involved, since it was a collaboration between subjects, had the sense to think and / or say that this assignment was out of bounds. A teacher has no business asking students to share graphic, sexual experiences or fantasies with them.

The thing that bothers me most is that many young students don't really think much about their rights and privacy. Even if they are concerned they may have been afraid to go against the wishes of their teacher. Luckily, a few of the students were comfortable enough with their parents to talk to them about the assigment.

Sex ed is important and question and discussion group of questions and answers can give a lot of good information. Having 14 year old children share information on their sexual history and fantasies is just wrong and a violation of their privacy.
21:48 February 9, 2011 by Zala Russe
I do feel there is maybe an element of 'tabloidism' in the reporting of this out of context of the wider curriculum.

'Other options included making up a story about their first sexual experience'

Credit the kids with some intelligence. 14 year olds do have sexual fantasies and concerns. Maybe it could have been arranged that these were typed up and printed off ananonymously on the proviso that the teacher has to read them aloud to the whole class.

'aww teacher Sir, it was when I first caught sight of your leather elbow patches I knew you were meant for me. I got downwind of the stale tobacco on your breath and I was instantly aroused.'

The kids would have had a laugh, and I suspect the teachers would very soon have abandoned this as a suitable educational activity.
10:49 February 10, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I'm amazed that the school and other teachers seem to be defending this? How does explicating the details of a personal sexual experience have anything to do with learning about biology?

Why would a teacher assign such a prying assignment? I think this stunning lack of judgment on behalf of the teacher is ground for dismissal.
13:53 February 10, 2011 by rufus.t.firefly
It's more than intrusive and inappropriate. It's outrageous. A 14 year old student would have a difficult time telling an authority figure like a teacher to to go f..k him or herself, which would have been the correct response here.

Marc the T: I agree, it is indefensible. I've noticed an alarming number of Swedes who seem indifferent to any notion of professionalism or professional ethics, regardless of their position in society. There are incessant pedantic lectures on things like child pornography, but they don't seem to recognize it in their own backyards- or classrooms.
18:13 February 10, 2011 by mcwin1
Looking at the bigger picture. Here in the US the conservative Republicans want to ban all sex education,all access to birth control, and have cameras in our bedrooms to monitor our most intimate moments. Sweden has far lower AIDS rates,teen pregnacy rates,etc. due to well funded sex education programs. Sweden has far fewer per capita abortions due to effective sex education that is truthful and not just abstinence. Sarah Palin and her ilk are religious zealots and make me want to puke everytime I hear them speak. Michele Bachman is another nutjob. Swedes should be so grateful they do not have psychos like these running their sex ed programs.
19:12 February 10, 2011 by SweAbroad
As always, trying to understand a country or culture, based on experiences from another culture, is difficult and sometimes impossible.

If you have grown up in a culture where sex is shameful and kept secret, this will make you wonder how anyone can talk about it or teach it.

If you have grown up in a culture where sex and talking about it is more natural, it is hard to understand why it's shameful to discuss it.

In this case, perhaps things went too far but many comments here suggest that people have a very limited understanding of the enormous impact that cultural differences have. Your experience is filtering and skewing things differently from other peoples'.
19:35 February 10, 2011 by Leo Danial
Hi guys ...

This is the 1st lesson in pornographic writing ... fresh & juvenile

I think the teacher is bored with traditional porn ... maybe horny a little

Can we see the writings ... please!
20:32 February 10, 2011 by volvoman9
@Sweabroad You make a very good point. In cultures where sexuality is repressed there seems to be more deviant sexual behavior. Human sexuality is one area of behavior that cannot be effectively dictated. It is a primal urge , however the exploitation of youth for the gratification of those in authority must be controlled. America displays a very obvious example of the results of censorship. America has seen (or perhaps American media has exposed) an increasing issue with the sexual exploitation of teen students by older individuals both male and female. I find it interesting that this trend parallels the trend towards Christian fundamentalism in America.
21:27 February 10, 2011 by StuartM
I think it's worrying to see the way the teacher has been instantly vilified and accused of being some sort of paedophile by a baying, unthinking mob just because of her slightly unconventional teaching methods. There are of course potentially problematic aspects to this and noone should ever feel pressured into writing about something they themselves wish to keep private - from the beginning an alternative assignment should probably have been offered. But let's not try to pretend that 14 year olds aren't interested in sex or that issues around young people's sexualities are of no wider social significance.

With sexual education being generally so rubbish (even in Sweden) I would have thought that anything that gets teenagers talking about sex and expressing their feelings openly in an educational context would be something positive. It doesn't have to be all boring and academic and teenagers should be encouraged to see sexuality as something that involves individual creativity and self-expression. As a feminist I would of course like to see a bit more of a focus on gender relations and the impact of patriarchal society in shaping people's sexual fantasies and identities but that's something that can come later.
09:21 February 11, 2011 by loudasthunder
@ astounded

Spot-on questions : )

Regardless to the fact that Sweden is an open society, the essay in question constitutes invasion of privacy, not to mention the age of the children combined with the subject matter is highy unacceptable.

I would think the teacher is now on administratve leave pending prosecution.
11:29 February 11, 2011 by Keith #5083
Let's get some cultural perspective on this.The age of consent in Sweden is 15, as specified by the Swedish Penal Code. Indeed, In a verdict of March 30, 2007, the Supreme Court found that a 17 year old boy had not committed a criminal act by having sexual intercourse with a girl 14 years and 7 months old. (Case B 415-07).

This whole issue is not one of 'protecting innocent teens', it is however an issue of the right to privacy on very personal issues and the right to refuse to give information which may be 'self-incriminating'. It is an issue of respecting the rights of young adults.

That pupils are instructed to vacate those rights (something I do not even believe the police have the power to command) and given no alternative essay possibility and receive marks for so doing is....not acceptable behaviour from 'role models' (teachers).

Perhaps an even more interesting essay would be to research the European Court of Human Rights and establish whether the rights of these young people were violated.
17:31 February 11, 2011 by bcterry
Fire his ass.
10:20 February 14, 2011 by Nikki Lindqvist
I agree with volvoman9: "This is at the least shameless voyeurism and at worst pedophilia." School administration should take a good, close look at that teacher.
13:08 February 14, 2011 by AmFly
That is just soooo wrong! What?!! The teacher should be thrown in the deepest part of the darkest cell with lots of pornographic newspapers. That should quench his/her weird teen sex fantansies
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