The relaxed attitudes in Denmark about nudity and frank conversations about sex over teatime, or at any meal for that matter, sometimes take those from less open societies by surprise – even those who have lived in Denmark for a while.
“In the US, we don’t talk about sex,” American resident Ryan Horton told Søndags Avisen. “Here, it is natural for both men and women to discuss their sexuality.”
Horton has lived in Denmark for five years.
The newspaper asked several expats about their opinions regarding the Danish relationship with sex.
“For Danes, talking about sex is just as taboo-less as talking about food or the weather,” a British resident, Tracy Barrington, said.
“People are much more open about their bodies and go to the beach topless in front of their children. People in England are much less open and hide their bodies more.”
Lifestyle researcher Henrik Byager said that Danes have a long tradition of sexual freedom.
“Danes have no problem letting people know they are sexually active,” he said.
“We think it is generally okay for people to have sex when they want and with whomever they want, and then to talk openly about it.”
A possible downside to all of the sexual freedom blowing in the Danish wind is the country’s reputation as a place where married people are often unfaithful. Denmark often tops polls for extramarital flings.
“There is a problem with people being unfaithful in both Denmark and Italy,” said Gennaro Alberto Grosso, an Italian who has lived in Denmark for 14 years.
“But there is more of a tendency for people to drink too much in Denmark, and perhaps that leads to more affairs.”
Byager did not agree that Danes were more prone to affairs than any other nationality.
“Maybe we are just more honest when asked,” he said.
Expats also observed that the relationship with sex for both men and women was more equal in Denmark than their respective homelands.
“The sexes are more equal, and women can have relationships with whomever they please,” said Horton.
“In the US, women are expected to feel more guilty and ashamed.”