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Living in Finland, I agree with most of what’s written here.

Most teens here are used to seeing naked people. I went to nude saunas with a bunch of school friends on a regular basis when I was a teen, which is something that is considered to be normal. I also remember several holidays in Spain and Italy where nearly everyone was walking around with bare boobs. That includes older women, women with big or small boobs, thick or thin body types, in short: people you probably don’t see on the beach in Miami. Showering with your parents is normal here as well. So at a relatively young age, we have seen lots and lots of nude bodies, and at least we have a realistic idea on how normal bodies look like.

However, and this has been written here before as well, when it comes to more intimate things, like using vibrators, using vaginal showers, using tampons or cups, internal exams and stuff like that… well, that’s another story. Tampons can be bought here, but most women don’t use them. When you go to the store to the menstrual products you’ll see a giant wall filled with pads and only two or three boxes with tampons. I don’t know if this is a cultural thing or related to religion, but for most teens inserting stuff in their vagina is not done.

I agree with a previous poster that in the States, the opposite seems to be true. There are more issues when it comes to body positivity, but tampons, vibrators, internal exams, perfumes, vaginal douches, etc… that all seems to be normal and I wonder why. Would this be because girls are pressured into using them? Because they want to be sure their vagina looks/smells “normal”? Not sure about that.

I’m probably over generalizing things here but IMHO it’s easier for women in the States to have sex the first time, because they are already used to those things. For instance, I’ve heard teens already have internal exams at the age of 16-17, which would be unacceptable in my country, but those factors probably render their first time sex less awkward. I’ve seen statistics where over 80% of all Finish students reported their first time as being painful and while I’m convinced that does not mean they’ll ALL end up with vaginismus, I’m sure some of them DO.

It would be cool if we could see statistics per country on this, like the age of the first sexual experience, the pain it caused, and stuff like that. I’m sure there are huge differences between the States and Europe.