Swedes who once fought to free pornography now fight against it
A backlash against pornography is building up in Sweden . . . and it is led by the very people who in the early 1960s campaigned for such material to be freed.
Recently cooperative associations across the nation moved to ban two mass-circulation sex magazines from their stores. Prosecutions are pending against several porn shops in Stockholm for allegedly displaying their wares to ordinary passers-by. And a new law has banned child pornography.
Former sexual radical Hans Nestius, chairman of the National Association for Sexual Information, is calling for some forms of pornography to be outlawed. Ironically, he and his organization led the fight to repeal the law on the offending of decency and morality, which previously held pornography in check.
The law fell out of use and was formally repealed in 1971. Mr. Nestius marks the 10th anniversary of repeal with regret.
"We wanted everything to be free; we wanted light and air," says Mr. Nestius. "But now I realize that pornography doesn't stand for sexual freedom, for openness, for sexual radicalism -- as I used to maintain. Free pornography is a contradiction in terms. . . ."
Mr. Nestius now discounts all the arguments he once used in the fight to free pornography.
"Free pornography doesn't lead to a decrease in rape and other crimes against women," he said. "Rape has gone up because pornography encourages men to think of a woman as an object to be used for sexual gratification."
He also thought back in the '60s that a greater availability of pornography would lead to a decline in prostitution. But, he says, "Prostitution has also increased. This is both as a result of attitudes encouraged by the porn mags and because prostitutes can advertise in some of the magazines."
Another former sex radical, Maj Fant, national secretary of the association, sums up: "I don't think pornography fulfills a need. It encourages c ontempt for women. It degrades the men who purchase it."