Sex in Sweden: dealing with an oral dilemma

Swedes’ sensibilities about sex and all that comes with it can be confusing for expats and foreigners with different ideas about what sits atop the hierarchy of intimacy, contributor Elisabeth Carlsson discovers.’Skeleton lover’ report sparks inquiry (29 Dec 12)
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I recently came across an interesting article about a somewhat taboo subject while perusing one of my favorite blogs, The piece addressed the notion of how the French apparently consider oral sex to be on the same level of intimacy as sexual intercourse.Americans have a different view, according to the article, which argued that their attitude is closer to one of nonchalance if I may use the familiar French word when it comes to going down.As an American, I must admit I felt the article sort of hit the nail on the head, if you will.But seeing as I’m now an American living in Sweden, it did raise a lingering question: how do Swedes view the act of “heading south” with their partners?To explore the topic in more detail, I started by asking my Swedish friends in the hope they would give me their honest oral opinion.And brutally honest they were.Personally I think that giving a blow job is only for when the guy has really earned it, said one of my Swedish female friends, very matter-of-factly, over an AW last week. But I guess Americans see it a little differently? she inquired.Her observation brought up a very valid perhaps even a little disconcerting point: why is it that so many Americans, myself included, are hesitant to go all the way with someone theyve just met or started dating, but we apparently find very little issue with, ahem, doing everything but?Embarrassed by my own inability to pinpoint exactly where this rationale came from, I decided to phone up one of my best friends in Chicago for her insight.She was, as I suspected, quick to answer.Going down on someone is totally different I guess Ive always seen it more as foreplay rather than an act of sexual intercourse.OK, so now I feel that as an American woman, I should at least attempt to explain why I think we may be seen as a bit more laid-back when it comes to oral sex and the like. I would argue that we American women, whether or not we want to admit it, still hold onto the semi-Puritanical, old-fashioned idea that if we put out right away and let everything happen all at once, then the guy we’ve just met or started dating will never call us again.Why? Because in our minds (as irrational as they may be), we assume that, by going all the way, right away, we’ve given the guy what he wanted and often without taking us out for a proper meal.Thus, by refraining from intercourse and holding ourselves to performing something of an opening act, we ensure a bit of a mystery remains, a lingering intrigue about what might come next. And in our minds, we convince ourselves hell call again in hopes of a going all the way at least that’s what all our friends, not to mention popular culture, seem to wholeheartedly tell us.This revelation became something of a light bulb moment in reflecting on my dating life here in Sweden.Maybe Swedes, rather than using oral sex as a teaser to keep a prospective partner on the hook, instead reserve the act for someone they truly like or have been seeing for a while. But what about sexual intercourse? Does the act considered the “holy grail” of intimacy in US hold the same prestige in Sweden?Apparently not. My Swedish friends tell me straight up sex is just not considered as intimate of an act. Which helps explain my suspicions that Swedes seem to do it far more casually in comparison to American women, or compared to oral sex.Perhaps its time, though, that we (Americans, Swedes and the rest of the sexually active population out there) come to a happy medium where we aren’t willing to go down as nonchalantly as the Americans do, nor are ready to go all the way, straightaway, like the Swedes do.Might it even be possible to instead take the time to actually get to know someone before ripping off his or her clothes?Shocking statement, I know but its one that I plan to try and consciously adhere to in the new year and beyond.Elisabeth Carlsson

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Sex in Sweden: dealing with an oral dilemma

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