History of Swedish Pornography

This book presents an intimate look at the early golden era of Swedish porn in the 1970s, focusing specifically on erotic films screened at various cinemas in Malm, Sweden between 1971 and 1975. Author Laura Fenamore documents her research in order to give us this definitive view of this era. Porn in Sweden is a taboo topic today but this book offers the first comprehensive exploration of the Swedish porn culture from the perspective of those who experienced it and want to share their personal thoughts. The stories and descriptions of these films make the reader feel as if they have actually been there, witnessing the creation in real time. Reading through the candid accounts of former patrons, as well as the photographs and postcards from the locations where these films were shown, really gets the heart pumping!

The first part of this short book covers the censorship that occurred in Sweden in the 1970s. After the openly gay liberation movements in neighboring Germany and Denmark, Sweden made a bold step in opening up its borders to all forms of sexual expression, including adult entertainment. Though some of the more liberal cities like Stockholm had been allowing access to adult movies for a long time, the introduction of full regulation and censorship was sudden and spectacular. Films that show the actual sexual acts are banned, while erotica featuring only foreplay are tolerated. One of the greatest ironies of the Sweden’s attitude toward their sexuality in general and their stance toward their most famous Swedish porn stars of the 1970s is that they were openly gay icons but were persecuted for their sexual proclivity.

The second part of the book traces the development of the Sweden’s fascination with sexual images in the years before and after the introduction of censorship. Starting in the late 1960s, when the Swedish women’s movement began to gain steam, Sweden’s interest in pornography was stimulated. Many women traveling to Sweden would be treated to a visit to one of the country’s adult entertainment centers. Many would then return to their home country, only to spend hours more indulging in their favorite sexual acts while touring Sweden. By the end of the decade, the Swedish women’s movement and Sweden’s sexual liberation of the previous decade had completely transformed the adult entertainment industry, and the Swedish porn industry was born.

As the decades wore on and with the global changes in the sexual outlook, the Swedish women’s movement was replaced by the feminist movement in Sweden. This movement, which aimed to end male dominance over women in Sweden, did not lead to the legalization of pornography. Instead, it prompted the introduction of legislation against child pornography, but did not target the adult entertainment industry. Nonetheless, the new female parliamentarians who formed the red dot party intended to regulate pornography by coming up with new laws that would make the adult industry more accountable. Though no new laws regarding adult entertainment viewing were enacted during the 70s, the feminist revolution did have a profound effect on Sweden’s adult film and pornography industry.

During this same time period, international pornography films were being produced in Sweden under very limited circumstances. Though censorship was not as harsh as it is today, the Swedish government did not interfere with the production of these films, since they were primarily produced for an indigenous population. This means that most of the Swedish porno films of the time period were based on real life events and were not meant to be viewed by anyone other than the parties involved. Some of the films were even produced to cater to the ever increasing demand for content that could be viewed in the privacy of one’s home.

With the advent of international pornography, the Swedish government realized that it was necessary to create restrictions against its use, since they considered their citizens to be receiving pornography in a private setting. To this end, in addition to the nudity ban, Sweden implemented a law in the 1970s that made it illegal to advertise or suggest the consumption of pornography. Though not many people in Sweden viewed pornography at the time, the law was still rigorously enforced, especially since Sweden was then a communist country. Today, Swedish porno is enjoyed on the world wide web, so the law has been ignored and pornography is legal. The fact that it is legal is actually part of the beauty of Sweden’s online adult entertainment industry; in fact, since it is so unregulated, a great deal of creativity has been shown in the production of adult videos.