Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Sweden 2017

Sexual harassment and violence is a public health issue. Almost half of all women have been exposed at some point in their lives, according to the largest population based study on sexual and reproductive health and rights performed in 20 years in Sweden. The differences between sexes are large in most aspects of sexuality.

The Public Health Agency presented a large national population based study on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in May. The study was answered by approximately 14 500 individuals aged 16-84 years. The study includes questions on a range of aspects including contraceptive use, reproductive health, use of pornography, sexuality and digital arenas, sexual consent and sex for compensation.

The results show that the sexual health in Sweden is good, 58% of the population report being satisfied with their sex life. Men to a higher extent than women (28% versus 18%) think they do not have sex often enough. More women than men (20% versus 10%) report having felt too tired or stressed to have sex.

Large differences between the sexes

The most prominent difference is the consistent differences between the sexes. There are large sex differences mainly regarding porn consumption , having bought sex and in experiences of sexual harassment and violence. Almost half of all women report ever having experienced sexual harassment such as unwanted sms, e-mails, phone calls, comments, sexual propositions etc.

According to the results it is uncommon for women to have bought of given other types of compensation for sex. Among men, almost 10% have bought sex at some point. 80% of them report having bought sex abroad. The results also show that:

  • 70% of men use pornography and 70% of women do not.
  • Despite school being a vital source of knowledge, only 19% report that the sex education in school has provided them with sufficient knowledge.
  • It is common among both men and women to use the internet, mobiles or apps for sexual purposes, for example to sex chat, look for a partner or send pictures.

New knowledge

The results provide new knowledge of the state of SRHR in Sweden. To increase gender equality and address the large differences between the sexes, the Public Health Agency of Sweden says the preventive work needs to be improved. The results will be used by a range of actors in the public sector and civil society and the Public Health Agency of Sweden will continue the work with knowledge development, monitoring and national coordination of SRHR-issues in Sweden.

  • Author: Folkhälsomyndigheten
  • Published: 19 June 2019
  • Updated: -

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