Making an almost unbelievable about-face when it comes to being sexually uninhibited, a poll of some three thousand Swedes made by the Internet air flight web site, Skyscanner, jolted canvassers by revealing that Swedes - both men and women - have become more prudish by far than any of their Southern European counterparts.

The stunning news, which seemed to hold true to some degree for neighboring Danes and Norwegians, showed that a liberal attitude toward nudity that came to the world's attention with Bergman's early films, later in shock cinemas such as "Curious Yellow," and in numerous sexpose movies and publications starting as early as the late sixties has vanished today. Judging from attitudes toward bathing topless (still commonplace among the young set on beaches in Sweden), some 96% of men and 87% of women in the country said the bare breasted summer beach fun was acceptable. Only 67% of Swedes thought that total nudity was fine on the sand.


The seemingly few percentage points would not have been seen at all so recently as a decade ago, and this compares to Sweden's nearby EU friends, such as the Germans, who show only a one percent disapproval of toplessness. Many modern day Italians, Spaniards, Britons and even Americans also polled consider that sunbathing topless is fine.

"These results are interesting. We Scandinavians have a very liberal attitude toward being naked, so I'm surprised that so many other countries approve of sunbathing topless more than what we do. But despite this, the more important aspect is that we respect the people around us, and take care to follow the cultural rules in the countries we visit, so that no controversy is aroused," stated Kristin Andersson, Scandinavian Country Manager for the web service, which offers online comparison of flight prices.

The poll was undertaken by Skyscanner after the city of Barcelona launched a campaign to encourage people to dress modestly in markets and public places. Even more shocking than nude beach disapprovals, when asked about the places where it is okay to wear a two piece bikini, only 31% of both Swedish sexes thought it was okay in bars, in cafés and restaurants.

In summarizing overall conclusions, pollsters reckoned that their results showed that Scandinavians in general are now at the bottom of the list of Europeans who are liberally uninhibited about showing their intimate body parts in public.