Starting With Sex

And other advice from Maïa Mazaurette, a French sex columnist:

[H]ow would you describe the French attitude toward sex?

I can only compare it to the countries I’ve lived in — Germany, and now Denmark, and I’ve made some trips to the U.S. I’d say the main difference is that in France we’re so straightforward. We don’t have these dating rituals; we just start with sex! And then, if the sex was good enough or we feel connected somehow, then we would try to build a relationship.

So you always have sex on the first date, then?

Absolutely! But it’s not even an issue because there is no date. There is just first sex. You think someone is attractive, you give it a try. I think it really makes sense. (Of course I say that, because I’m French, right?) But if you don’t have sex first, you build up too much pressure. You start thinking, I have seen this guy for four or five restaurants, or however you do it in the U.S., and what if it fails? If you get sex out the way first, then you can only have good surprises.

I never dated an American guy, but even with Danish and German guys, there were so many dates and it was taking so much time. At some point I just felt like, Ahhh! Stop it, are you going to kiss me? Are we going to your place? My place? Do something! I felt like I was investing a lot of time in something that might not be worth it anyway.

It’s interesting to me that France is a predominantly Catholic nation, and yet the culture is so sexually free.

Yes, but we don’t connect sex with ethics or morality or values in general, you know? There have been many studies about how French people don’t care about the sex life of our president, or if a person is unfaithful. It’s absolutely not a problem for me. Now, if my boyfriend and I have an agreement, that’s important. But I actually see a lot of my friends who are a bit older than me, maybe 40 or 45, who are always renegotiating the boundaries of their relationship. And a lot of them are okay with being unfaithful, as long as you don’t say it. It’s actually quite old-fashioned, as if we’re in the Victorian era, and your husband or your wife is the person you share children, a house, and money with, but for passion or a bit of adventure, you go elsewhere. The couple is not the place for adventure. It’s the place where you want to feel safe and watch Game of Thrones.

Update from a reader:

Maybe the French “start with sex,” but they are among the least sexually satisfied people on the planet, as regularly found in the annual Durex global sex survey. So maybe French advice on sex isn’t so good.