Those Frisky French


Renate Stendhal reviews Marilyn Yalom's How the French Invented Love:

Yalom cites a recent statistic culled from a study in which a French and an American group were asked whether "true love can exist without a radiant sex life." Of the American group, 83 percent agreed with this statement; only 34 percent of the French agreed, Yalom writes: "A 49 percent difference in opinion on the need for sex in love is a startling statistic! This French emphasis on carnal satisfaction strikes tighter-laced Americans as deliciously naughty."

Another crucial ingredient of French love includes "the darker elements that Americans are reluctant to admit as normal: jealousy, suffering, extramarital sex, multiple lovers, crimes of passion, disillusion, even violence. Perhaps more than anything, the French accept the premise that sexual passion has its own justification. Love simply doesn’t have the same moral overlay that we Americans expect it to have."

(Photo by Flickr user Thomas D)