While we were in Oslo, we had dinner with Gro Isachsen and her partner Ellef Asnes. We were pretty surprised to learn that Gro had testified at hearings held in the wake of our Trekant episode.
Politicians, celebrities, and several "experts" convened to determine whether Betty performing a private session with me on camera was educational or pornographic. In the end, it was deemed educational. Below is Gro's testimony:
My name is Gro Isachsen, and I am a clinical sexologist and author.
Before I go into why we need a program like Trekant, I'd say a little about my background - which helps to explain why I stand here now:
I am a graduated special educator, and have experience in psychiatric treatment for children and young people. I also have 10 years behind me as a journalist with the popularization of research as a specialty.
After more than four years of study in the discipline sexology, about 10 years ago I started as a clinical sexologist, with my own clinic here in Oslo where I see clients from all over the country. During these years I have helped thousands of men and women, with many different sexual preferences and of all orientations, to a better sex life.
In 2000 I took over after Professor Berthold Grünfeld as responsible for the Forum for sexuality at Doctor Online, which is an advisory service on the Internet. Grünfeld was my professional consultant for my first book.
For many years I have been a columnist for the newspaper Dagbladet and the magazine Vi Menn where I have answered questions about sex and relationships. I have gradually got extensive experience in various sexual counseling methods for both youth and adults.
Since 2000 I have written four books about sex. I have the somewhat dubious honor several years to have been one of the authors that has written the most stolen books in the libraries. Fortunately - most people buy their books. My total is sold in more than 50,000 copies - so the need for information is definitely present.
In 2002 I started the research project "Sexual desire in women." This research is the basis for work towards my doctorate.
I have several years lectured in sexology for medical students who have specially been working in this field with youths. The students travel around and visit schools mainly in and around Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø and contributes with sex education. I taught my first class on sex and relationships more than 30 years ago, and I still do sex education in schools when I can.
Those who want to know more about me and what I do you can read more on sexolog.no.
With my background I was naturally excited last year when the Norwegian Broadcast sent the first season of the Trekant.
As in the previous season with the Trekant, I now have smiled and enjoyed throughout the four programs I have so far been able to see this season. Yesterday's program I did not see, since I was busy all night with clients in therapy.
The Trekant shows the diversity of sexuality and provides to knowledge of the playful sex that many are missing. Not only the young but also many elderly people have benefited from adult education in this area. For most people have never learned about the good sex ever, anywhere. Therefore we needed TV shows like Trekant.
When we want as many as possible to have a good sexual health we must use the possibility to give information so that everyone should have access to knowledge and have the ability to develop and use their erotic potential to enjoy sex, so long as sex is safe, sane and consensual. Trekant contribute so far, much for this!
During my research I have for hours interviewed more than 1100 men and women, singles and couples, about their relationship also with their own sexuality. One of the questions was what and how they had learned about sex. The responses have generally been discouraging. To the extent that they have received any sex education, they have not gotten anything other than embarrassing performances from even more embarrassed teachers. The most common answer is that they have not had any real instruction and had learned nothing at all.
I am so glad NRK take responsibility where the school has failed. Unfortunately, sex education in school, if at all is given, is totally out of date, and it has as a whole never been anything to shout hurray for.
To the extent the school in this country has given any instruction it has always started too late and had the wrong focus.
Sex education has always mainly been about the negative consequences of sex, about sexually transmitted infections, contraception, abortion and abuse. Since teaching only get such approach it does not lead to happiness, fun, enjoyment and pleasure, but rather to taboos, shame and insecurity.
Of course, the negative aspects are also important themes, but they must be put into context with the good sex. These themes should better been a natural part of the teaching of their own health, and should long ago been taken out of sex education. Many health workers assist the schools and do a good job with this part of the sexual health.
Many teachers and other contributors to sex education is doing a good job on the basis of their assumptions. Unfortunately, the quality often depends on the individual teacher and school. The course also lacks resources and a clearly defined content to spread knowledge about good sex.
As far as I know, is Oslo the only city that has a compulsory and permanent educational opportunities for all students at the secondary level. The teaching that is given by "Sex og samfunn". Unfortunately, we are talking only about two to three hours of education. Then - no matter how skilled the teaching is -very little time for information about the great sex, when the time also will be used on the negative consequences of sexuality.
Trial and error is still the most common method for learning about sex. Often have the errors become a pattern for those who come to me as clients. Approximately 80 percent of my clients are struggling with a lack of interest in sex. Most have lost their appetite because of they over time have had bad sex because of lack of knowledge in one or more areas, or because of prejudice. And it is often those with a long life ahead of them who are seeking help. The average age of my clients is a little under 30.
Despite the sexualization of society we see around us every day the fact is that there is a significant lack of knowledge about the good sex among today's youth. Many media contributes to the sexualization as often as they can to refer to someone or something is sexy. To deliberately play on sex in this way is done to attract readers, and is not a measure of how the state of knowledge about sex is in the society.
I have noted that the first season with Trekant led to some changes, but still is there a need for more information and what we teach must be constantly repeated. It is important to remember that every year we get 60,000 new 15-year-olds who need knowledge.
Until now, most young people, both boys and girls, learned most about sex from porn. Porn is often the only channel we have to watch others have sex. Unfortunately, is almost all the porn stereotype, boring sex - based on giving men arosal and pleasure, and seldom about what you do the right things for women's pleasure.
Trekant a few weeks ago broke a barrier and showed how many women get orgasm by clitoral stimulation. It was a necessary, objective and informative counterweight to the porn version of what is good sex. NRK showed Carlin Ross masturbate herself to orgasm while interviewing over 80-year-old Betty Dodson, - I thank the producers. It was in time.
After 50 years of TV, it was time that something so human and natural as masturbation was shown. I have the same period, no figures at all the different ways I like moderate TV viewers have seen people being murdered and mutilated. Sex is obviously too many still more terrifying than all the violence.
Betty, Carlin and I have had thorough discussions on the conditions for good sex. Not surprisingly, we all agree that knowledge is and will remain The most important factor.
Betty Dodson has always been a big inspiration for me and many others who work with sexual problems. I have for years used her videos as inspiration and source of information for clients who have struggled to have an orgasm - her advice and instructions work for most people. Betty has taught millions of women around the world to have an orgasm, and the viewing figures for the second program of the Trekant suggests that many in this country have needed to learn.
My and others' research has shown how important it is to masturbate - not only for pleasure, but also to become familiar with their own sexuality and arousal patterns. How we masturbate are also important for the sex we have with a partner, whether it's how we later want to have sex, if we are able to have an orgasm when we are with a partner and how long sex will last. Learning to masturbate in a way that can be used also when having sex with a partner, so what Carlin showed Norwegian women, is therefore very important.
To see the procedure to Carlin was not only liberating for women who have not understood how to masturbate. Many do not feel the permission to do so. Nice girls do not do such activities - is still what many thinks.
There are still a number of prejudices - that masturbation is harmful, especially in fundamentalist religious communities. Both in Muslim and conservative Christian communities they still discipline their followers by banning and condemning masturbation.
In particular, many young Muslim men are taught that the only and right kind of sex at all times is that between a man and a woman, and that masturbation is a sin. This is especially frustrating since they are in the age of sexual awakening. That makes them feel conflict between their own needs and traditions and beliefs and has lead many of these young people to my office.
To view masturbation is also liberating for many women who thus realize that they are not alone in not having the big gain of intercourse without clitoral stimulation. Having explained why this is so is an absolute necessity to understand the differences between women's and men's sexuality.
Those people who called Carlin and Betty's introduction to female masturbation for pornography, says most of those who speak. Pornography means to arousal. Those who call this pornography was in other words, arosed, and normally look upon arousal and sexual desire as negative.
Viewer statistics show that there are many men, including men over 50, who has seen Trekant. This is sometimes seen as negative. Why is it that when men, especially those over 50, are having interest in sexuality are looked upon as old pigs? Why not both adult men - and for that matter, also women - have the opportunity for information on an equal basis as the youth? Trekant has managed to capture the interest of several generations. That they should be proud of.
Yes porn is arousal and are not made to give information about the good sex. A survey which was done some years ago showed that most young boys use porn as the only source of information about sex. Several studies in recent years shows that girls are well on their way to catch up with boys using porn.
Using porn as the only information in most cases leads to a lack of desire for women. Porn has almost complete lack of credibility in terms of how women function sexually.
An episode that has stuck with me, and as I have described in my last book, is meeting with a girl in the late 20's. She said she had been acting porn model and orgasms her entire sexual life. She had seen a bad porno movie when she was 13 years old, and had since played porn queen. She thought that how she had sex, was how everyone was doing it - she had seen it in the porn movie. She thought there had to be something wrong with her, since she had never been even close to feeling all the pleasure she expressed that she felt.
When she explained what she did, it was all very understandable. During our discussions there was also revealed that she had never had an orgasm. She had never masturbated and expensive alone and had never quite found out how she could enjoy sex. She had sex in the way which she did because she thought it was expected of her, and she had sex to attract and retain the men she was with.
Without programs like Trekant, we run the risk that the porn made illusions about sex will be what young people learn about sex. Together with the lack of knowledge of the cause of good sex, it creates uncertainty, which in turn is one of the reasons why many young debuts drops to use a condom. Norway is on top of the list of the proportion of chlamydia cases among youth and condom use is very low in all age groups.
Studies show that good information about sex does not lead to early sexual debut, but rather that young people are safer when they say yes to sex.
I am skeptical about putting an absolute 15-year limit on the program. If we anticipate a high school class, it's easy to see why. Young people are so different. Some are not ready to have sex until they almost have passed their teens. Others have precocious pre-teenage hormones raging, and sex begins for them without a lot of them understand exactly what happens if they do not get it explained.
Many young debuts before they are 15 A comprehensive survey was done in Akershus a few years ago, showed that 20 percent of all 14 year olds had already debuted. The more knowledge young people have with the baggage of the greater security, and the better will hopefully be the first attempt - and the more people will protect themselves. It will also mean that fewer debuts and have sex when they are intoxicated.
Knowledge also gives confidence to say no, both to debut sexually and to have sex that is beyond their borders. The way the young people who serve as program managers comments and look at the different sexual practices makes security more common among adolescents. They are role models who say that this is not for me, but I respect others who build up their sexual tension in this way. When security is where it is also more likely that young people choose to use a condom as a protection against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
We take it as for granted that we have the allowance to transfer knowledge about anything but sex in today's society. Once there is talk that we should learn from others' mistakes when it comes to sex, they are often met with suspicion and said they are in line with the porn industry.
Sex must be the only area where knowledge and experience for some is perceived as negative.
Theoretical knowledge about the good sex is undoubtedly necessary. Too many wrongly think we are born to be good lovers and mistresses.
In my work as a clinical sexologist, I very often see cases for couples where sexuality has become a problem, where playfulness and diversity is gone, where sex is something one or both feel they should so, ought and must do. Sex becomes a duty and a straight jacket and something they have great difficulty talking about. The words are missing for many. Watching Trekant may help them. When youth and adults look at how natural the hosts are talking about sex, it becomes easier for them to articulate their own feelings and sexual needs to their partners.
The hosts also dare to tell about himself. The fact that one of the hosts are gay gives many young gays a good role model. Gay is still the most common insult to the boys in secondary school around the country, while whore is the most common insult for the girls.
When we know that many are struggling to accept and openly come out as gays, and when we know that as many as one of four goes with suicidal thoughts, it's good to see that homosexuality is made common in such a great way as in Trekant.
To show the variaty in sexuality in the way Trekant has done, has led to different reactions from many groups and individuals. From the most negative judgmental to my point of view ¬ - an absolute joy for good information about sex.
Knowledge creates confidence, and confidence leads to better and safer sex.
A great and wise female client, who for years has struggled with lust, said she told her daughters at puberty to see the Trekant that they might avoid the same problems as she had always had. She said that it had been shown a similar program when she was young she released years of sad sex without desire, and years of feeling of coming up short against the sexual needs of the man she loved.
Lack of information leads to lack of knowledge, which in turn leads to uncertainty, lack of confidence and prejudice - the sexualityes worst enemies.
A small objection at the end. What I have seen so far of the program it has mainly been about a taste of the diversity and playful parts during sex. It is unfortunately a little superficial knowledge, and we mainly observed only the positive aspects of sex.
I hope in the continuation of the program also gets a little about what may cause the bad sex. About boys who are struggling with performance anxiety or pain due to tight foreskin and, and girls who have pain during intercourse. I have countless times seen examples that prooves the fact that no one will feel desire for something that hurts.
Therefore I hope the program get into what could be done to avoid such problems, it takes so little to spread information and thereby the acceptance that such problems may be solved with some general knowledge which will help to avoid many from going backwards into sexuality.
You won´t find more lonely and desperate people than those who only associate sex with pain and failure. It influences that many stops their sexual development and are scared from going ahead and find his and her sexual identity, which the otherwise excellent program proposes.
Because Trekant takes up themes that are still characterized by ignorance and prejudice, it will of course show up more questions than it is possible to shed light on the form series.
I do not know the content of the programs that have not yet been sent. I would however like Trekant editorial staff will gather the most necessary of these unanswered questions and let the hosts provide the answers in a separate program. It would have raised the value of the program.