Writing under a nom de plume, Maïa Mazaurette is French GQ's fabulous sex writer. Her column, Sex Actu, offers insightful, amusing analysis of sex-related news and issues, in France and around the world. While I geek over her blog like the sex-writing French major that I am, her columns are, sadly, not accessible to most Americans, as they’re all written in French.
Fortunately for everyone, New York Magazine’s sex columnist, Maureen O’Connor, recently interviewed Mazaurette, and they discussed French attitudes on sex, romance, and culture. As it turns out, we have a lot to learn from the French when it comes to bedroom matters (shocking no one). Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the interview, which you may or may not want to apply to your own sex life.
1. DITCH THE "THREE DATE" RULE
In France, casual sex is far less stigmatized, and sex, in general, is not so much an emotionally-fraught event that demands a certain level of commitment (ie three dates). Rather, it's an act you should engage in when it feels right to you, even if that’s after (or before!) the first date. “You think someone is attractive, you give it a try,” Mazaurette says, even going so far as to suggest that it might be better to have sex earlier rather than later. “If you get sex out of the way first, then you can only have good surprises.”
2. DON'T FORCE MONOGAMY
This side of the Atlantic, monogamy is considered the standard model for a serious relationship between two people, while in France, this is not automatically the expectation (though it still is the predominant model). Relationship boundaries are far more flexible and fluid, which is likely more aligned with human nature. While Mazaurette currently has a boyfriend, she wants “the possibility in 5 or 10 or 15 years” of straying and experimenting. Culturally, the French are more honest about recognizing this desire to stray as a natural impulse. When you force monogamy, the commitment “starts to become a prison,” as Mazaurette puts it. And that's no good.
3. STOP GIVING SO MANY BLOW JOBS
Here, I'm simply going to quote Mazaurette in her magnificent entirety: “We would think it is extremely weird to have just a blow job. Why would I do that? I don’t have pleasure in my mouth. It’s very mysterious to me, why an American woman would do that.”
4. SEX IS A GREAT WAY TO GET TO KNOW A PERSON
“I think you are a virgin every time you have sex with someone,” Mazaurette says. “On the first night, you’re just showing that you are a good person, that you aren’t going to kill anyone.” The real fun begins after that awkward first time, as you get more comfortable with each other and start experimenting. Sex should be fun and exciting, not dirty or shameful. It's also an amazing way to connect with people.
5. SEX IS SEX IS SEX IS SEX
“Sex with Americans just seems so complicated! All this dating,” Mazaurette says. “I would think that if I had to be with an American guy, I would have to educate him somehow. I would worry he might think I’m a slut.” Sex sans dating can be marvelous, a truth with which the French are far more comfortable.
6. THERE'S NO NEED TO BE COY
American women can be reluctant to approach men at clubs or bars. We tend to feel embarrassed or ashamed about actively seeking out sex. The culture in France is such that women are less concerned with the notion of courtship — waiting for the man to initiate — and more comfortable with seeking purely sexual relationships. When you meet a guy you’re pretty sure you want to sleep with, Mazaurette thinks you should just go for it. Of course, take some precautions. It's probably a good idea to wait around a half hour before asking him to leave with you. “Basically, you wait long enough to make sure you don’t have a psychopath in front of you, and maybe build a little desire,” she says. “But yes, 30 minutes is the minimum. That's all it takes.”