Advertising Birth Control: The contraceptive business and sex education in Sweden 1910–1938

Källarsalen Session 6: The role of educational policy, sex education and contraceptives for gender equality organized by Annika Elwert and Volha Lazuka


Anna Inez Bergman, Anna Inez Bergman


This presentation is based on a thesis chapter that analyzes the interplay between Sweden’s contraceptive business and sex education during the early 20th century. Between 1910 and 1938, the so-called Contraceptive Law prohibited oral and written information about contraceptives as well as window display and outdoor circulation of birth control products. According to a government report, the law led to information on sex and contraceptives mainly being produced and distributed by contraceptive retailers and manufacturers. By primarily analyzing marketing and government reports, this chapter investigates how people received information about contraceptives between 1910–1938 and why businesses became key actors in the distribution of sex education in the early 20th century. The chapter also relates to a larger narrative on how the contraceptive market developed despite being restricted by law.


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