So as to not disturb the neighbors, many apartment dwellers in Sweden are banned from noisy activities like vacuuming or drilling after 10pm. One activity that is allowed, however, is loud sex—and that's just the way it should be, says Health Minister Gabriel Wikstrom. "My neighbors are once again having noisy sex. You're my only hope: could you ban risqué exercises after 10pm?" a Swede tweeted Wikstrom on Wednesday, per the Local. The 31-year-old's response: "Sounds nice for them, I think. Good for their well-being and thus public health as well." The government's apparent endorsement of noisy sex quickly went viral, though Wikstrom says his real message didn't exactly come across. The problem: sex gets a bad rap and is too often related to sexual abuse, STIs, and unwanted pregnancies.
Then there's the fact that Sweden's sex rate is falling: A 2013 poll showed the average Swede had 3.8 encounters per month, down from five monthly romps in 1996. "That's a 24% decline," Wikstrom says. "It is often linked to stress, pressure, and people feeling they don't live up to a certain body ideal. That's a problem," he continues. "Obviously the state shouldn't tell people how often to have sex," but "we're humans, we need intimacy." In other words, "Swedes should have all the sex they want to have," even if it's noisy, he tells the BBC. "I'm sure there's a lot about our neighbors that can annoy us, but if they have actually managed to get down to business, you have to be forgiving." But does the minister follow his own advice? "It's a pretty personal question, but … it happens," he says. "I am satisfied with my sex life." (An Italian had sex so loud it was considered stalking.)