Historisk Tidskrift. Utgiven av Svenska historiska föreningen
  Hem Aktuellt  Tidigare nummer Bli Medlem  Annonsera Om Historisk Tidskrift  För skribenter  Föreningen In English

Historisk tidskrift 129:3 • 2009

Innehåll (Contents) 2009:3

Uppsatser (Articles)

Synd på export. 1960-talets pornografiska press och den svenska synden

Klara Arnberg

Fulltext (pdf)


Exporting sin: The pornographic press and Swedish sin in the 1960s

In this article the notion of ”Swedish sin” is traced in the Swedish pornography debate and in pornographic magazines with a focus on the 1960s. The connection between sexuality and Sweden, or the notion of ”Swedish sin”, began in an article in Time Magazine in 1955, and an international debate about the moral implica- tions of the Swedish welfare state and of secularization followed. Sweden became an example of how socialist influenced politics and an excess of welfare affected morality. Furthermore, Swedish films also became increasingly famous abroad for its depictions of free love.

Concerns about Sweden’s reputation in connection with sexuality were thus already established in the 1960s when in spite of existing obscenity regulations the pornographic publishing industry grew quickly. Pornographic magazines in Sweden also started to use the idea of Swedish sin as a kind of marketing tool, clearly directed to an international market.

The Swedish pornographic press and its relation to an anxious society reflect how in the pornography debate nationality was connected to sexuality and gen- der. The article argues that the debate about pornography was based on strong heterosexual norms and a battle over the interpretation of what was to be termed normal sexuality. Behind the anxiousness about descriptions of Swedish women in sexual terms was also an underlying assumption about male sexuality and its impact on the profitability of the pornography industry.


pornography, obscenity law, sexual liberation, Swedish sin, nationalism.