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Nudity no for Norwegians. Puritanism about nakedness is 'in' in Norway. “I’m not quite sure why nudity is currently out, but the pendulum has been swinging back and forth throughout time,” Norwegian family therapist and sexologist Thomas Winther tells The Foreigner. Mr Winther, who has also spoken to Aftenposten about the subject, thinks that “it might be a cultural thing.”

sex, nudity, naked, taboo



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Nudity no for Norwegians

Published on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015 at 16:44 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 23rd June 2015 at 21:02.

Puritanism about nakedness is 'in' in Norway.

One of the exhibits at Stavanger Museum
"Popularity and views about nudity will always go up and down and shift, in a similar way to elections," says Danish sexologist Per Holm Knudsen.One of the exhibits at Stavanger Museum
Photo: ©2015 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner


“I’m not quite sure why nudity is currently out, but the pendulum has been swinging back and forth throughout time,” Norwegian family therapist and sexologist Thomas Winther tells The Foreigner.

Mr Winther, who has also spoken to Aftenposten about the subject, thinks that “it might be a cultural thing.”

“There was a kind of revolution in the 1960s with Woodstock, for example, and people in that period had much more of an open view on sexuality. You would have expected the Internet today, which has a lot of influence, would have made us more open.”

Norway comes fifth regarding world countries’ per head page views when it comes to Internet porn-watching.

In 1017 and 1018, Norway’s Gulating laws saw society being very open-minded about sexuality. The Vikings used Gulating as their common court of law.

“Women had a very powerful role. Christianity then came to Norway, with legislation linking sexuality just to reproduction, with views changing from one end of the scale to the other since then,” says Mr Winther.

Peer pressure

Showers (illustration photo)
Showers (illustration photo)
SuSanA Secretariat/Wikimedia Commons
Nudity and children is also very much on contemporary society’s agenda, with children having much more influence on how their days should be than previously.

“They can say that they don’t want to have a shower nude after football or gym, for example, wearing shorts or swimsuits instead. The rest of a group will then accept and hold this view; it’s about peer pressure,” he explains.

According to Mr Winther, much of this also changed after integration of new cultures in Norwegian society began.

“They have a much closer connection to religion than Norwegians do, with cultures not favouring sex unless it is in connection with reproduction.”

“However, children will also inherit many views from their parents, who have a responsibility to teach them about sexuality and nudity. Every survey carried out regarding sexuality and children says that their sexual debut will be later if parents have taught them about matters beforehand,” he says.

Scandal

Museum Stavanger (MUST) currently has an exhibition tackling pregnancy, birth, and midwifery called The Miracle of Life, which is open to adults and children alike.

Anne-Cath. Vestly (1920-2008)
Anne-Cath. Vestly (1920-2008)
Rigmor Dahl Delphin/Wikimedia Commons
Housed in the same building as the Norwegian Children’s Museum, it displays the entire course from fertilization through the post-natal period from a cultural history perspective.

Children and adults can learn about happens in a woman’s body during pregnancy, ancient contraceptive methods, old taboos connected to pregnancy and birth, as well as the development of pre and post-natal care in Norway and in other parts of the world.

Famous Norwegian children’s author Anne Cath. Vestly (1920-2008) caused a scandal on NRK’s Barnetimen for de minste (Children’s Hour) in the 1950s when she said that babies came from the mother’s tummy rather than what was commonly-pervaded as being the stork.

Offended people and parents called for a boycott of the Norwegian broadcaster at the time.

A fallacy

The Foreigner has also spoken with Danish psychotherapist and sexologist Per Holm Knudsen.

Why would you say nudity is currently out?

“One of the reasons is that popularity and views will always go up and down and shift, in a similar way to elections. It’s the same Per Holm Knudsen's book
Per Holm Knudsen's book
Per Holm Knudsen
regarding sexuality and morality. Nudity wasn’t a taboo in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but then AIDS and HIV came along and people became scared of sex again,” he explains. “This gave room for left-wing radical views, which we saw in countries such as the US and Denmark regarding the fight for abortion and contraception.”

Moreover, swimming naked at the beach was never an issue some 35-45 years ago.

“People now say that “oh, you can’t do that, as the children will be harmed”. I find this statement very funny, as I’ve never understood in what way this could be.”

Per Holm Knudsen’s book called How a Baby Is Made, written in 1971 in Danish with the English-language edition published in 1973, is currently the subject of a lot of internet attention, both negative and positive.

“A woman in the US put the book on Facebook, claiming this is the truth about it. Her post was then shared 160,000 times and got picked up by BuzzFeed. Some people have declared that it’s awful, some have commented positively about it. There’s currently a storm about it, with the situation just like the one in Danish author H.C. Andersen’s It’s Quite True!.”

Shame and disgrace

The tale starts with one white-feathered, short-limbed hen who laid her eggs according to regulations, a respectable hen in every way.

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Thora Hallager (1821-1884)/Public Domain
“As she settled herself on the perch, she plucked herself with her beak, and a tiny feather came out. “There it goes,” she said. "No doubt the more I pluck, the more beautiful I will get,” the story recounts.

The more times what she said was told by other birds, the more her remark changed. It grew to five hens who had plucked out their feathers to show the rooster how much weight they had lost through their unhappy love for him.

“And then they pecked at each other until they bled and all five dropped dead, to the shame and disgrace of their families, and to the great loss to their owner," the tale now ran.

“And the hen that had lost the little loose feather naturally didn't recognize her own story; and as she was a respectable hen, she said, "I despise such hens, but there are many of that kind! Such stories should not be hushed up, and I'll do my best to get the story into the newspapers. Then it will be known all over the country; that will serve those hens right, and their families, too." And it got to the newspapers, and it was printed. And it is quite true. One little feather may grow until it becomes five hens,” concludes the story.

When do you think the nudity taboo pendulum will swing back again?

“Hopefully very soon,” says Per Holm Knudsen. “I’ve done my work.”




Published on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015 at 16:44 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 23rd June 2015 at 21:02.

This post has the following tags: sex, nudity, naked, taboo.





  
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