Children's Doctor Games and Nudity at Danish Childcare Institutions

Arch Sex Behav. 2018 May;47(4):863-875. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1144-9. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


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.

Keywords: Child sexual abuse; Children’s nudity; Children’s sexuality; Doctor games; Prevention policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Child Day Care Centers / standards*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark
  • Erotica
  • Female
  • Games, Recreational / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*