Monday, February 25, 2008

Swedish Condoms in My Mail Slot

Well it’s official. I am allowed to have sex. Stockholm’s government said so. As long as it is safe sex. They even sent me a condom in the mail. KungFu Condom for those of you wondering. Which I’m sure is a wonderful brand despite the obvious sexual jokes that can be had at the expense of the KungFu name.

I must say, I was not expecting a condom in the mail. I didn’t really examine the envelope too closely so noticed only that it came from Stockholms Läns Landsting. The government basically. I figured it was some sort of tax document, maybe a year-end report of some sort. I don’t know. Not a condom though. And so, as I tore open the envelope, just excited to have some mail, I was greeted with a large 23+ staring back at me. Confused, I unfolded the letter. And there it was. HIYAH. KUNGFU. Staring right back at me. I chuckled to myself. Then read up on why in the hell the government was sending me condoms.

Luckily, along with the condom, I received a little pamphlet with some information. Why I received the condom. What websites I should check out. What phone number I should call. Where I can go to get treatment. For whatever issues need treatment. It seems that since I am 23+ I am no longer able to check out the youth clinic. Too bad. I never once made my way there. But now I can go to a grown-up clinic. While I appreciate the mailing, my thoughts drifted. And probably not to what they wanted me to think about. But instead my old sex ed classes in the US.

I remember the first one. Fourth grade. Good times. The PE teacher was teaching it. And everyone loved him so it went well. But he lectured us beforehand that we were all expected to be mature. No snickering. No laughing. Maturity was key. And then he saw Nathan. Head down. Face in his hands. And he snapped at him about his maturity level. Turns out Nathan had a bloody nose. Poor bastard. He wasn’t being immature. He was bleeding. And that was my intro to sex ed. Which was followed by sex education in all kinds of science classes and then a few health classes up until about 10th grade. At which point the benefits of condoms and other birth control had been hammered home. But never once did I receive a condom in the mail from our local government. I just don’t see this happening in the US all that often.

While I consider myself conservative, and am a registered Republican, I have some problems with the social issues so often associated with the Republican party. More specifically - sex. Abstinence only education is just ridiculous. Not teaching someone about birth control is asinine and kind of mean really. It’s akin to handing someone a loaded shotgun and refusing to tell them about the safety. (The shotgun being the penis, the safety being the condom. See what I did there?) It’s just not a good idea. Luckily, I managed to get real sex ed, but some US school districts focus on abstinence only. Despite the blatant sexual promiscuity that is celebrated in the media. TV. Movies. Books. Online. While I have never taken any sort of sexual education course in Sweden, the attitude towards sex is a bit more… open. AS evidenced by condoms being sent in the mail.

I like this idea. Just a heads-up to the recipient. A quick reminder if you will. Although, who knows what kind of beating the condom took in the mail. But still. It caught my attention. And made me think. Mostly about the differences between sexual attitudes in the US as opposed to Sweden. But I was still thinking about sex. Which I’m sure is what the Swedish government wants me doing.


  1. That's, er, strange. What's up with that? Sending you a condom of all things? Next thing they'll be sending would be some sort of breast pump, ya never know.

    But, yeah, that's weird.
    Do you like the more open feel on sex and all that? I know I would. Gets on my nerves how everyone is always being, you get the point.

  2. WOW, what a birthday present!!

    Happy Birthday to you!!

  3. happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear......., Happy birthday to you!!
    have a good one!

  4. Haha, I got one too yesterday. =) Even though I'm not living in Sthlm anymore, but I just recently moved. I got a little bit surprised as well, since it's not everyday you get a condom in the mail. :) It was when I lived abroad and met people from all over the world, that I realized how liberal Sweden in fact is. And how liberal I am. There are not many other countries where the government can send out condoms in the mail. Here it's not really a big deal, people won't get angry or offended, and you won't really hear about it in the news. And I like it. Sweden being so liberal. :)

  5. @crazy-tickles - it was a bit of a surprise. but entertaining really. I must say I prefer a little more openness when it coems to sexuality than what goes on in the US. I just read that some TV show was being fined over a million dolalrs for showing someones naked ass. nearly 5 years ago. that's ridiculous.

    @carin - yeah it's interesting to see the differences as you explore other places. those things that you get used to growing up don't always translate everywhere else in the world.

  6. Well, maybe a bit strange but hey at least you got a free condom!

  7. why didnt i get a condom? is it coz im a girl? lol

  8. Come on now - this is the land of equality. Women and men are the same. My girlfriend got one on the same day in the mail. Maybe it's just a 24 year old thing.

  9. Haha, thanks for the good laugh. And being Swedish living in a country where sex is something you do not talk about, and where sex (read: sexual positions) is regulated by the government - don't ask me how they check that ppl abide by the law on this one though... - I kind of miss the openess from back home. Here just kissing your boyfriend/girlfriend on the street could get you fined. Indicent behaviour. Yup. So, no condoms in my mail. Bummer. ;)

  10. The condom distribution could be because Sweden has the highest abortion rate in the western world (followed closely by Norway) and also according to EU statistics Sweden (and Norway) are the least likely countries to practice safe sex regularly. By safe sex they define it not as a woman being on the pill but in condom use. The lack of safe sex awareness combined with the very high abortion rate could explain why you received that condom in the mail. It's good to know that they might be starting to do something about this.

    As much as some comments here praise the "openess" of Sweden towards sex I think the real reason was one driven more by health than social attitude. I hope that in the future Swedes become more aware of this.

    Nice blog by the way. :-)

  11. @ anette - sexual mores are so interesting. amazing how they can vary so very much.

    @anonymous - interesting about the abortion rate. perhaps the sexual openness has gone too far, of course being so sexually open could lead to an easy fix. like condoms in the mail. no one would blink an eye and it will hopefully have a positive impact.

    and thanks for the comment.