The history of sex education in Sweden and the development of sex ed for Swedish queer women

Malinda Flodman and Suzann Larsdotter #cconSweden CatalystCon East, Saturday March 16, 2013


  1. An odessy of sex education in Sweden, it’s origins and the development of queer sex education today.

    Sweden has a long and proud tradition of frank and public sex education. The first manual of sex education for elementary school was published in 1945 and it has been compulsory since 1955. In the beginning it was characterized by a strict moralistic tone and the importance of sexual abstinence was strongly emphasized. Today Swedish sex education is quite progressive and includes various aspects of human sexuality such as masturbation, sex in and outside romantic relationships and safer sex in addition to anatomy and physiology. Queer people were rarely directly addressed in Swedish sex education until about 30 years ago. The AIDS crisis brought about sex education aimed at hiv prevention for men who have sex with men but sex education for lesbian, bisexual and queer women was rarely heard of until about ten years ago and still evolving. The construction of sex, gender and sexuality is generally essentialist and has contributed to the exclusion of queer women. We are working to find a new, queer and non normative approach to sex education for women who have sex with women. As sex educators in Sweden we are of course inspired by our American colleagues but find that our approach, especially to safer sex advice, differs significantly to that of many other sex educators.

    We wish to invite you all to discuss the future of queer and non normative sex education beyond an essentialist view of sex and gender.