Danish professor says porn belongs in the classroom

Leading Danish sexologist Professor Christian Graugaard calls for pornography to be shown in classrooms, claiming that encouraging students to discuss the industry could help them become “conscientious and critical consumers” who are able to distinguish between pornography and the reality of sexual relationships.

The Aalborg University professor caused controversy when he suggested showing pornography in schools on public television. He told the Danish public broadcaster DR that it was a better choice than sex education classes that were “boring and technical, where you roll a condom onto a cucumber”.

Graugaard’s suggestion does not simply follow Scandinavia’s traditionally open attitude towards sexuality. Rather, he says that it is a sensible way of educating students that pornography is nothing like real sex. His proposal includes “critically [discussing] pornography with 8th and 9th graders as part of a sensible didactic strategy, carried out by trained teachers”.

According to a Nordic study, 99 percent of boys and 86 percent of girls have admitted to watching pornographic material by the time they reach the age of 16; a fact that Graugaard uses to justify his proposal.


“We know from research that a vast majority of teenagers have seen porn at an early age – so it’s not a question of introducing youngsters to porn”, he said. What he aims to happen is to ensure that teens “possess the necessary skills to view porn constructively”.

Denmark made sex education compulsory in 1970 and pornography is already part of the syllabus in several schools across the country. Graugaard says that “schools interpret the national guidelines very differently…so it is important that education meets certain quality standards all over the country”. He also adds that “Denmark is a developing country with regard to the methodology of sex education, and this should be changed”.

Denmark also became the first country to lift a ban on pornography in 1967. To Graugaard, pornography is not necessarily a bad thing. He elaborated that “porn may actually offer a variety of both entertaining and educational properties. Porn can even be feminist and in some cases it can be part of a democratization of sex and [it can] promote diversity”.

He also warned that pornography can be excluding “of body types, gender and sexuality”, which is what he intends to tackle with the proposal. He reiterated that “open-minded, constructive dialogue is the best way to make sure that they (students) are able to make meaningful decisions for themselves” and to “have exciting and gratifying sex lives”.▪


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