Norway Is Recruiting Real People for TV Sex


The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is launching a new program that will feature real couples having sex on the air as a way to bring expectations back in line with reality. John Rensten/Getty Images
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is launching a new program that will feature real couples having sex on the air as a way to bring expectations back in line with reality. John Rensten/Getty Images

Norway is known for being a pretty progressive nation. Now the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is launching a new program in the fall that will further cement the country's open-minded reputation. Dubbed "Line Fixer Kroppen" (Line fixes her body), the show will be hosted by Norwegian television personality Line Elvsåshagen, and is actively recruiting real-life couples interested in having sex for the camera. It's scheduled to air on NRK's P3 channel — which is aimed at teens and young adults — beginning in November 2017, and already has approximately 30 pairs showing interest in participating.

At first glance, it might seem like just another porno in progress. However, NRK is Norway's answer to PBS, and as such, the program will take a decidedly educational bent. "The background for this is that the porn industry has too big of an influence in 'teaching' kids and teenagers about sex. Porn shows a fake world of perfect body types and an unrealistic projection of two people making love," 27-year-old Elvsåshagen explains in an email interview. "We want to focus on real sex; the clumsiness, the intimate and the fun part of it rather than focusing on genitals and sexiness."

Although many are likely to be outraged by the show's premise, some sexperts applaud the effort to bring body image and sexual expectations back in line with reality. "I believe that seeing real sex between consenting adults who aren't being directed by professionals is essential to a happy, healthy sex life," says Dr. Jess O'Reilly, Astroglide's resident sexologist. "Porn is not intended to be a form of education, but we often use it as a learning model, as we have no other options. If you want to learn any other new skill like football, cooking or crafting, you begin by observing others. You don't simply learn about the mechanics in a book or study the potential risks in school — you actually watch others performing the task on video or in-person. Why do we treat sex differently?"

Despite the fact that sexual imagery and conversation pervades modern entertainment, when push comes to shove the Western world in particular relies heavily on watered-down sex education materials and discussion. As a result, a lot goes unsaid. "There is only so much we can do with static images or cartoon depictions of people engaging in sex," says sex and relationships expert Megan Stubbs in an email, adding, "we really need to break away from the idea that the human form and sexuality are something shameful and need to be hidden away."

Pornography, rumored to be a multibillion-dollar industry, is giving people who are curious about sex plenty of opportunities for glammed-up depictions of intercourse. "I think that if people only have access to this sort of imagery, they can have difficulty understanding why particular aspects of sexuality don't look/work/feel a certain way. Real life is not a highlight reel with perfect, final cut qualities," Stubbs explains.

Dr. Nicole Prause, neuroscientist and founder of sexual biotechnology company, Liberos, disagrees with the anti-porn sentiment, however, calling the NRK program "sorely misguided," in an email interview. "If they have on a 'real' couple, it is actually more likely that they will portray undesirable gender roles. Further, people who view more sex films actually hold more egalitarian beliefs, not less," she explains. "Finally, sex films are overwhelmingly positive for women, who report greater desire for their current sexual partner, a wider breadth of sexual behaviors that they enjoy, more sex positive attitudes, and more accurate knowledge of genital anatomy."

Indeed, some experts insist that to be truly innovative and helpful at mitigating body and sex issues, the show should branch out. "The sex lives of heterosexual, able-bodied couples has oversaturated traditional sex education and pornography for decades. The identities that need accurate and affirming sexual representation are those which we don't see often, if ever — people of color, LGBT couples, people with disabilities, and fat folks," says Kenna Cook, sex educator at O. school, a live-streaming sex education platform designed to help all types of people unlearn sexual shame and learn about great sex. "If the TV show in Norway wants to create a realistic conversation around 'real sex,' they need to start with making real people and real bodies the most visible."