Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 863–875 | Cite as

Children’s Doctor Games and Nudity at Danish Childcare Institutions

  • Else-Marie Buch Leander
  • Per Lindsø Larsen
  • Karen Pallesgaard Munk
Original Paper


This article presents the first Danish study of the acceptance of children’s nudity and sexuality at Danish childcare institutions. The study revealed an important cultural shift in the attitude toward children’s nudity and sexual games, the so-called doctor games. Although these were quite accepted at Danish childcare institutions until the beginning of this century, the study showed that new, pervasive regulations had been established to control the child’s body and its sexuality. A new discourse revealed that fear of child sexual abuse, in particular, had influenced views of children’s sexual games and nudity and that, at times, the child itself was viewed as a potential threat to other children. This marks a new development in Denmark, internationally known for its broadmindedness, and this article discusses the background to this cultural shift in the institutions, and possible implications for the children.


Children’s sexuality Doctor games Children’s nudity Prevention policies Child sexual abuse 



The research study presented in this article was funded by “The SL and BUPL Funds for Development and Research.” SL is the Danish Union of Social Educators, and BUPL is the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

In Denmark, Ph.D. candidates hold a position with a salary. Else-Marie Buch Leander’s current Ph.D. position is partially funded by “The BUPL Funds for Research.” BUPL is the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators. The other part of Else-Marie Buch Leander’s Ph.D. position is financed by Aarhus University.

Informed Consent

We state that no children took part in the survey. We state that no participants were asked to give information about their name. All individual participants therefore were anonymous to the researchers as the survey was sent to the childcare institutions, and the participants answered the survey electronically at their institutions or at their homes. We only have information about the participating institutions, and this information stays strictly confidential and will never be disclosed to other than the researchers. In Denmark, a survey as here described does not require informed consent from the participants, nor does it require approval from an ethical committee. We therefore state that our study is in accordance with all national and international guidelines for research without personally identifiable information.

Ethical Responsibilities of Authors

We state that we honor the ethical responsibilities of authors in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Culture and SocietyAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Centre for Oligophrenia and PsychiatrySkødstrupDenmark

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