Measuring the Country’s Sexual Pulse
Meet Terje Gammelsrud, founder and editor of Cupido, Norway’s definitive erotic publication. Over the years, Cupido’s pages have provided a platform for everything from masturbatory techniques to tantalizing fetishistic narratives.
How did Cupido originate?
For years I worked as a journalist at a daily newspaper, focusing on mental health and social issues. In 1984, I started Cupido because I wanted to specialize in something more lustful, more pleasurable, more joyful. I wanted to combine the erotic with sexual science. At the time there was nothing like it; feminism was on the rise and porn was being denounced. The time was ripe to provide an alternative to men’s porn magazines.
Who are your contributors?
All our stories come from our readers. Over 30 years, we’ve received 16,000 articles, essays, stories that explore everything from pleasures of the foreskin to the history of heterosexuality. We’ve published nearly 3,000 of them. Our contributors write for pleasure—to get turned on and challenge their own borders. We’ve found that many heterosexual women, for instance, like gay erotica and enjoy writing homosexual stories.
What makes a story hot?
All stories require a certain ‘Runk Ability’—an ability to make people want to masturbate. But different things turn different people on. I can’t let my own erection determine what will be published or not. To write erotica it’s not necessary to be detailed about the sex organs. It’s the mood and atmosphere that’s critical. And all good stories come from writers who are turned on by what they write.
Cupido makes sure to have a firm balance so there’s something for everyone. We all have diversity in us, so people are able to respond to quite a bit. For instance, we’re not just fetishists or into older women. People are a mix. But every story needs to touch some kind of string and have some credibility.
Is there something unique about Norwegian erotica?
When I compare our erotica to erotica in other countries, I find others have the tendency to write long stories; you need to wait until page five or six for things to get exciting. Personally, I believe you need to catch the readers’ attention—get them tuned in—right away. The reader needs to feel that the sexual encounter is imminent.
Who reads Cupido?
Our audience is mostly adults from 20-80 years who are well educated, well off and often in relationships. They are people who want some inspiration for their sex life.
How do you make money?
We have a Cupido discussion forum that consists of 20,000 members. For a fee, they get access to discussion groups and our online dating service. We also have an online shop that sells erotic books, oils, dildos, vibrators, etc…We do this because we’re uninterested in sex ads—we feel it degrades the product—and it’s hard to get other types of advertising because sex is so controversial.