German sex education ′guru′ dies aged 81 | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 01.10.2010
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German sex education 'guru' dies aged 81

Oswalt Kolle, also known as the 'sex educator of the nation' in Germany, has died at the age of 81. Kolle rose to fame in the late 1960s with books, columns and articles on sex education.

man and woman in Oswalt Kolle film

Kolle's films and books were watched and read by millions of Germans

Oswalt Kolle, best known for his films, books and columns on sex education from the late 1960s onwards, has died at the age of 81 in Amsterdam.

Kolle, who was born in the northern city of Kiel in 1928 and grew up in Frankfurt, was known as the "sex educator of the nation". Initially, Kolle served an apprenticeship in agriculture, but quickly switched to journalism. He rose to fame in the late 1960s with a series on women's sexuality for the popular magazine Neue Revue.

Trailblazer for sex education

"You can't learn to love, but you can learn sex" - that was Kolle's motto. He was determined to spread his liberal views in a still very conservative Germany.

film poster for one of Kolle's films

Kolle had to discuss every scene in his films with censors

He produced his first film in 1968, about sex and marriage, entitled "The miracle of love - sex and marriage." Every scene had to pass the censorship test, but the film was immensely popular, even beyond Germany.

When he asked women across Germany to write to him about their sexual experiences, he received 10,000 letters. He used the material to produce two well-known films, entitled "Your wife - the unknown partner," and "Your husband - the unknown partner".

Church protests

The Catholic Church, meanwhile, was outraged at Kolle's outspoken films and started a poster campaign asking Catholics not to watch the movies. Some newspapers even compared him to Adolf Hitler, insisting what he was doing was "worse than World War II".

Other papers were more favorable. The weekly "Die Zeit" called him the bravest fighter for "the de-demonization of the nether regions".

Kolle, who had affairs with both men and women throughout his life, is survived by his partner and three children.

Author: Nicole Goebel (dapd/AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold