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A Brief History of Sexual Liberation in Sweden

John on January 22, 2009 at 10:39 am

The Local has a story about a cache of child pornography which was discovered in the Royal Library. More interesting than that discovery was the story of how it got there in the first place:

The presence of child pornography in Sweden’s National Library stems in part from the library’s legal obligation to collect everything printed in Sweden or in Swedish, including pornographic magazines.

While it’s widely known that a wave of liberal thinking about sex and pornography swept across Sweden in the 1960s, fewer people are aware that it led to the legalization of child pornography.

The government at the time initiated a review of freedom of speech laws in 1965, looking closely at provisions governing the portrayal of children.

In 1971, a new law was passed which made it legal to buy, sell, and possess child, animal, and violent pornography in Sweden.

In the wake of the relaxed restrictions, a number of pornographic magazines were produced with names like Teenangels, Bambino and Lolita, each sending obligatory issues for archiving at the National Library.

According to the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU), Swedish attitudes towards child pornography were extremely liberal at the time.

Citing “the child’s right to sexuality”, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (Riksförbundet för sexuellt likaberättigande – RFSL) launched a ‘paedophile working group’ to lobby for lighter sentences for sex crimes against minors and for a lower age of consent.

RFSL’s efforts paid off in 1976, when a government commission issued a proposal including both suggestions, as well as the decriminalization of incest.

The bill never became law, however, and Sweden eventually recriminalized child pornography in 1980, and RFSL switched positions on the matter.

By then, however, the archive of child pornography at the National Library had continued to expand and remained largely accessible to the public until Bart brought the issue to the library’s attention.

Ah, the 60s…when child porn was legal and pedophilia was a misdemeanor.

Why do I suspect the RFSL is still a highly respected organization in Sweden?

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Category: Secularism & Socialism |

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