Sex is not taboo in France as it is in the US, and it is much more present in humor, art, tv and everyday life than in the US…
and so is nudity: children are often naked on the beach, women can go topless (although it’s less frequent now than when I was young)… I wrote an article about French Sex Vocabulary if you are curious – watch out, it is explicit and written for an adult audience.
It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.
If sex between consenting adults is very much socially accepted, most French people won’t rush into it, and get to know each other before jumping into bed.I guess it’s much more accepted in France for men and women to be friends.However, if a woman is dining with a man, you can bet he will pick up the check. I usually trick them by asking to be excused (as if I was going to the lady’s room, grab the waiter and give him my credit card).Maybe this is why French guys have the reputations of being so romantic, and… We trained them well (with some exceptions of course…pretty much every politician :-( Believe it or not, at the opposite of all the stereotypes, French people are much more about love than sex.As far as sex is concerned, Parisians are significantly more adventurous than their provincial counterparts.They have almost twice as many sexual partners over their lifetimes – 19 compared to 11 – and these additional notches on the bedpost are aided by the predominance of one night stands: 44% of Parisian men and 23% of women have them regularly whereas the respective national figures are 31% and 16%.The game is the main point, it’s relatively innocent and usually no-one gets hurt, just a little blushed :-) With kissing hi and goodbye being the standard and French women being more “flirtatious”, it can be difficult for foreigners to correctly read a French woman’s body language.I guess since there is no set protocol, French women are pretty obvious, and often more direct than other women. It’s unlikely they’ll refuse to take it further, but not unheard of.Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be “admired” for her beauty and wit among other qualities.Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere.