Queer 1950s pp 77-93 | Cite as

Cross-Generational Relationships before ‘the Lesbian’: Female Same-Sex Sexuality in 1950s Rural Finland

  • Antu Sorainen
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Finland’s role on the edge of Europe was a complicated one in the 1950s. World War Two had split the Scandinavian community, and the Nordic countries had ended up on different sides during the war. Finland not only was attacked by the Soviet Union in 1939, but it also attacked the Soviet Union itself and fought with and against Germany from 1941 to 1944, whereas Sweden had remained neutral; Denmark and Norway had been occupied by the Nazis; and Iceland, the Faroes and Greenland had been controlled by American and British troops. The two lost wars against the Soviet Union meant that Finland had to comply with harsh armistice demands and had lost ten per cent of its territory. Twelve per cent of the entire population were displaced and resettled within the new borders in 1944 and 1945. The bloody civil war in 1918 left a deep mark on the national psyche, and the urbanisation process only took place from the late 1950s onwards. Finland also differs sharply from other Nordic countries in regard to its language, culture and history. The distinctiveness of Finland’s national history shaped the development of sexuality debates in the country, which, unlike other European contexts, are distinguished by the fact the language of sexology had not yet entered the Finnish public sphere in the 1950s.


Police Officer Sexual Relation Penal Code Sexual Drive Harsh Punishment 
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© Heike Bauer and Matt Cook 2012

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  • Antu Sorainen

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