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Sex with the French: The things you need to know about

For Anglos the French can be a delightfully mysterious bunch at the best of times, especially so when it comes to sex. Thankfully an experienced French sex columnist is on hand to answer a few questions about how to develop an 'entente cordiale' between the sheets.

Sex with the French: The things you need to know about
Photo: Deposit photos

With the French and Anglo cultures tending to differ there are undoubtedly a few clashes when it comes to jumping into bed with one another.

So we enlisted the help of the entertaining sex columnist for France's GQ Magazine Maïa Mazaurette, to help clear up a few myths, answer a few important questions, as well as offer up a few dos and definitely don'ts: from having a sharing philosophy to not behaving like you're in a porno movie.

How do the French really view sex?

There are no moral hang-ups about sex in France, she says. “Having sex on the first night is not going to affect anything, you can still marry each other. There’s no link to morality,” says Mazaurette. “In the US they are good at inventing terms like “marriage material” or “hook-ups”. Here we have sex because it’s a cool activity. If something physical is happening, just enjoy it”. Basically it's pretty straightforward, she says.

Do foreign men need to romance a French woman into bed?

Mazaurette's philosophy is that too much romance is a waste of time and builds up unnecessary pressure. Sex first, get to know each other after. “It’s completely possible to have sex on the first date with a French girl. I would never wait for a second date, that would frustrate me because it would mean the guy has put up barriers between us. If you do it right a French woman will go to bed with you.”

At least one date?

Not necessarily says the colomnist. “Things can happen quickly here, especially if people are a little bit drunk. I don’t want to have to wait for sex and play the game if I have a crush on someone. I don’t want to have to wait until the end of the evening for sex, I want to go home immediately.” Mazaurette says 30 minutes in a bar is all you need to lay the groundwork for a romp.

READ ALSO: Are French men really totally obsessed by sex?

Are French men really totally obsessed with sex?

What about drunken sex?

Do the French go in for that like us Anglos do? “If you are too drunk, it’s better to wait for better conditions. It won’t be good sex and we like good sex,” says Mazaurette.

Do we have to be adventurous?

The idea that the French are adventurous lovers compared to the more rigid “missionary position only” Anglos still holds sway in the minds of many. But Mazaurette warns against trying to prove them wrong, at first anyway. “If someone tried to spank me or tie me up on the first night I would be extremely worried. We just want to be sure that you are nice and that you care if we come. Don’t act like you are in a porno.”

Does our French language ability need to be up to scratch?

Mazaurette says let the language of passion do the talking. “You really only need to know two French words: ‘Oui’ and ‘Encore’, so there’s no need to bring a dictionary to bed,” she says. “There are so many French who can’t speak English, but there’s something nice about just using smiles and gestures.” Anything Anglos do say in French will be a bonus however “because we find the accent very cute”, she says.

READ ALSO: 17 ways to talk about sex in French you didn't learn in school

What about oral sex?

The pleasure has to be shared says Mazaurette. “I find it completely weird that women [from America or UK] would give a guy a blow job and get nothing in return. It’s implying that he should be rewarded just for speaking to you. In France you never owe sex to anyone”. You’ve been told.

Is sex key to a relationship?

“If the sex doesn’t work, there's no way you want to spend your life with that person. Some people are completely different. You wouldn’t go to bed with them all the time knowing you are going to be disappointed. I had something like that with a guy and I just didn’t like his smell, because I’m extremely sensitive to smell.”

And being faithful doesn't matter in France right?

Hmmm, think again. “We don’t really have something called 'the chat',” says Mazaurette. She says French partners will expect you to be faithful from the start “if there’s a good connection and you are seeing each other”. That also means deleting your profile from dating sites and once you've stopped using condoms then you bloody well better not be sleeping around, she says. However, later on in a relationship things can change.

And what about the old “ménage a trois”? 

Do the French really go in for threesomes? “We don't have as many threesomes and ménages a trois as people think, because of our culture of secrecy,” Mazaurette says. “A double life is hidden, not a threesome! And since our sex life is so linked with our idea of privacy, we don't like to share that much.”

And finally… Does size matter for the French?

“Obviously we joke about this sometimes, but I really don’t think it matters. The penis is such an imperfect tool for sex,” Mazaurette says. Cue a mass sigh of relief among the hordes of men boozing in expat pubs.

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France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

READ ALSO The divorce laws in France that foreigners need to be aware of

The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif féministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.