Fact check: Has Sweden really recognised sex as an official sport?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Fact check: Has Sweden really recognised sex as an official sport?
Two people in bed. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

Articles in international media suggest that Sweden has become the first country in the world to recognise sex as an official sport, with the country supposedly hosting the European Sex Championships in June. How true are these reports?


Is this true? Is sex officially a sport in Sweden?

Sorry to disappoint, but no, the rumours are not true.

Why are people saying it is, then?

Well, the rumours are probably based on the fact that a European Sex Championship was hosted in Sweden (in an undisclosed location near Jönköping, apparently) on June 8th.

"Sweden has formally recognised sex as a sport and will stage its first-ever sex tournament the following week," reads an article in the Times of India, which the Expressen newspaper then drew attention to in its own report. 

Times of India adds that contestants in the tournament will have "daily sexual encounters that might last up to six hours" in a contest which will supposedly last for six weeks.

Who is behind the so-called championship?

The group behind the championship is the official-sounding Swedish Sex Federation, led by chairman Dragan Bratic, also known as the "strip king" after opening a handful of strip clubs up and down the country.

Bratic described the championship to Expressen as "like the Eurovision Song Contest", adding that it would consist of up to 20 competitors having sex live on camera, with points awarded by the audience and jury on categories such as seduction, foreplay, penetration and "artistic execution of poses".

According to the federation's website, the most highly scoring and "most important" category is for the couple who are deemed to be "most engaged during the competition, as well as most artistic according to the Kama Sutra and most popular with the jury and audience", where couples can receive from 10-20 points as well as double or triple points if they are deemed to be "extremely good competitors/sportspeople".


Is the Swedish Sex Federation an official sporting federation?

Despite the Swedish Sex Federation's official-sounding name, it is not a member of the Swedish Sports Confederation, Riksidrottsförbundet (RI), the umbrella organisation for Swedish sports clubs. It did submit an application for membership late last year, which was rejected.

This essentially means that no, sex is not an official sport in Sweden.

"Rumours are spreading that this group has been elected to the Swedish Sports Confederation, which is wrong, it is entirely false," RI's media spokesperson Anna Setzman told The Local.

"Anyone can submit an application and say they have a federation or an organisation and that they want to be a member, and an application was submitted from someone calling themselves the Swedish Sex Federation," she said.

"That application wasn't even completely filled out, so it wasn't even up for discussion. And that's essentially all we have to say about it."

What would have happened if the application was complete?

"There are certain criteria, and you have to fulfil those criteria, and they weren't in the application," Setzman said. "We didn't even have to look at the criteria because the application wasn't complete."

Setzman wasn't able to confirm or deny whether sex could be considered a sport in Sweden if the self-titled Swedish Sex Federation's application had been properly filled out.

"We haven't looked into it, we never discussed it as the application was rejected for not being complete. That discussion never happened."


Setzman was also frustrated by the fact that incorrect information about RI has spread so widely internationally when The Local asked about the group's reaction to the story.

"This has produced a huge amount of unnecessary work for us, answering questions, and it's unfortunate that all this information is spreading, which then becomes confusing for us and we have to handle it, instead of doing what we're supposed to be doing."

Bratic, the chairman of the Swedish Sex Federation and the man behind the championship, received a one-and-a-half-year prison sentence in 2019 for accounting and tax crimes, as well as a three-year ban on running a business, Expressen reports.

He was convicted for not paying VAT or employer contributions to the young women - many of whom were immigrants - who worked at his clubs, as well as not accounting income from his customers.

"This dodgy operator has taken up far too much of our time," Setzman said.


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