‘Start slow, then go faster’: Norway debuts explicit sex ed show for 8-year-olds (PHOTOS)
Puberty, a new program on the Norwegian state-funded channel NRK, in which the presenter penetrates a latex vagina with a plastic penis, draws diagrams on naked people, and shows children how to French-kiss, has provoked a mixed reaction.
“We would have betrayed our series on puberty if we had not touched on topics such as sex and masturbation,” Line Jansrud, the presenter, who is pregnant, and plans to be filmed giving birth as part of the program, told NRK.
As the weekly episodes of the educational program, named Newton, chronicle the changes of the human anatomy through the teenage years, the hands-on presented never misses a chance to illustrate her point. The light-hearted, low-budget feel of the show is reminiscent of old-fashioned children’s television, and is based on The Body, a Norwegian series broadcast in the early 1980s, which explored similar themes – without quite going this far.
In the episode on the penis, Janstrud holds one as she talks about pubic hair and foreskin, before studying a sperm sample. In the one on the vagina, she pulls back the labia of a filmed participant in a close-up shot, to illustrate the location of the clitoris, before describing the pleasurable sensations that can result from stimulating it.
“We have tried to show the natural body and body parts as far it has been possible,” said Erling Normann, the show’s producer. “This was obviously excluded when we came to the program about sex.”
In that episode 29-year-old Jansrud, who has become a household name, lubricates a rubber vagina, before enthusiastically stabbing it with a model of an erect penis, saying “It’s quite slow to start, but after a while, it get a bit quicker. But, for this to be good, it’s very important that the vagina is wet inside. And for the girl, it is also very important that the clitoris is rubbed.”
While the Norwegian establishment, which prides itself on being able to talk openly about sex to children who are likely to have access to much more explicit images on the internet, has been sanguine in the face of the pioneering show, awarding it positive reviews, not everyone has been onside.
Parents at one school complained when their second-grade children were shown one of the episodes in class, despite the program being aimed at eight to 12 year-olds, and wrote complaints to the school.
Facebook has also removed one of the episodes from the NRK page, after its cover photo featured a naked body, for violating its nudity policy.
But on the whole, Norway has avoided the outcry which accompanied the far less explicit Swedish Willie and Twinkle cartoon, which went viral after being broadcast in another children’s program last year.
“I’m passionate about showing children how the body works,” summed up Jansrud when asked about Newton.