Nowhere in the world has such a global reputation for its affinity to sex.
The capital of love, France and its people appear internationally to have an affinity to the act of sex, perhaps unfairly giving its citizens big shoes to fill when it comes to being competent, daring and exciting lovers!
We wanted to dig a little deeper to find out more about sex in France including a history of the cultural attitudes, laws and the adult industry in the country as well as just how easy it is to get some casual sex in the country that started the pornography industry.
Sex in France: A Cultural Overview
The culture of sex in France is one of normalcy as France is not a Puritanical society. Unlike the UK and the US where puritanism abounded following the reformation of the church in the 16th and 17th century, France cultivated a less moralistic and censorious approach to matters such as sex and self-indulgence. What has evolved in the country is the adopted belief system that the appetite for sex is human, referred to often as the great ‘human comedy’. This does not equate to a lack of morals and the French have a very strict sense of decency and both public and private virtues. What it does mean is that sex is not taboo.
Sex education in France is considered reasonable with the average age of children receiving tuition being 12; far later than their Northern Scandinavian cousins but earlier than developing nations. A part of the national curriculum since 1973, schools are expected to provide around 30-40 hours of sex education during the school life of an average child and condoms are routinely passed out to children between the ages of 13 and 14; the age of consent in France is 15.
Despite a reputation for being promiscuous and sensual lovers, the French actually have a lower number of average sexual partners than the global average. The average number is 9 with French people having an average of just 8.1. Compare this to the US that has 10.7, Australia with 13.3 or India and China with just 3 and 3.1 respectively.
Marriage in France is more uncommon than anywhere else in Europe with the annual rate of marriages being just 50 for every 10,000 citizens; only in Sweden is the rate of unmarried couples living together more prevalent. However, infidelity is lower than some other EU member states and registers in the 30-39% bracket when compared to the UK and Germany which has over 40% of people in long-term relationships (including marriage) admitting to being unfaithful. By contrast, Spain and Poland has one of the lowest rates at under 30%.
Divorce rates are also high in France considering the low rate of marriage and ranks as one of the highest in Europe; 5% to 7.9% of all adults are separated or divorced. In Spain and Italy this figure is under 2%. Only Hungary and the Baltic States register higher.
Culturally the French have enjoyed casual encounters with the practice of libertinism originating in the country. Enjoying a resurgence in popularity, the fashion for enjoying hedonistic sexual pleasures with strangers is alive and well with France boasting several hundred swinging clubs, aka ‘Prive Libertins’. You can find out more about the Swinging Clubs of Paris in our in-house guide, here.
As well as these open house sex clubs, France has plenty of other adult entertainment venues including erotic massage parlours, strip clubs, porn cinemas and sensual saunas. There are also a large number of escorts providing private services as well as street prostitution being found in most major towns and cities (see Prostitution Laws in France below).
Adult Industry in France
French pornography has a legendary status in history with the country producing more than its fair share of pornographers, actors and films in its time. The very word ‘pornography’ is French in origin, being coined in the early 19th century and exported to English in around 1857.
Pornographic films were also pioneered by two French filmmakers in the late 19th century; Albert Kirchner and Eugene Pirou.
Pirou’s risqué work depicting striptease and erotic disrobing enlightened many other filmmakers with the possibilities that film could lend to the adult entertainment industry. The world of porno, unleashed from Pandora’s Box, began to produce thousands of illicit films for the edification of hungry consumers. Made mostly by amateurs and distributed in secrecy to avoid prosecution, early surviving examples of films produced in this era show that our early 20th century ancestors had quite the appetite for hardcore sex.
The 1960s and 1970s continued France’s domination of the world stage with artfully produced, but steamy, porn films starring the likes of Claudine Beccarie, Brigitte Lahaie and Tyra Woods.
France has remained a cornerstone of the global adult industry contributing films, producers, directors and porn stars to the world’s stage.
Some of the world’s most famous porn stars hail from the country including Lolo Ferrari, Katsuni and Ava Addams.
The most notable directors remain:
- Manuel Ferrera
- Anissa Kate
- Greg Lansky
- Fred Coppula
- Greg Centauro
- Christoph Clark
- Laurent Sky
- Pierre Woodman
- Alain Payet
- Jean-Marc Prouveur
- Bernard Natan
- Jaques Scandelari
The largest adult film studio in France is that of Marc Dorcel who was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame in 2009. Dorcel is best known for producing the Pornochic series of films and Inglorious Bitches. The studio is also known for pioneering the use of 3D and 360o filmography.
The adult industry also pervades the literary world with the classic novel, ‘Emmanuelle’, being written by French novelist Marayat Krasaesin
Prostitution Laws in France
Until August 2016 most prostitution in France was either legal or well tolerated. Though brothels and pimping were, strictly speaking, against the law, private sex clubs and brothels could be found quite readily. Since the change in legislation, anyone found purchasing the services of a sex worker can be fined up €1500. Selling sex, as with the law across much of Europe remains decriminalised although soliciting can be punishable by up to six months in jail.
The government and culture of France is defined as ‘abolitionist’; meaning that the general public and authorities would like to see prostitution eradicated but acknowledge that criminalising the act of selling sex would disadvantage those most dependent on the business as well as infringe upon important social liberties.
Street prostitution does exist in many of France’s major cities and, though there are no official red light districts like those found in Germany or the Netherlands, there are areas where sex workers are plentiful. Mostly a back alley trade, soliciting and advertising for business is mainly done via online websites with independent escorts offering their services in directories or free classifieds.
French Porn Viewing Trends
According to the global leader of tube porn, PornHub, France had the 6th highest amount of internet traffic on its site across the world (behind the US, UK, Canada, India and Japan) in 2016.
French tastes for their porn fall mainly into the three categories of anal, lesbian and mature with top searches being performed for the following ‘specialities’:
- Mamam Francaise
The proportion of female viewers to PornHub is average at around 26% (46% in Jamaica and just 19% in Japan).
The French population by age viewing porn is similar to the global average with just a few variations; more people over the age of 45 enjoy porn than the average with viewing figures for the 18-24 year old range being slightly lower.
|Age Range||France||Global Average|
|18-24 years old||27%||31%|
|25-34 years old||30%||29%|
|35-44 years old||17%||17%|
|45-54 years old||12%||11%|
|55-64 years old||9%||7%|
|65+ years old||5%||4%|
The French spend less time online per session than the global average at just 9 minutes and 17 seconds (vs 9 minutes and 36 seconds).
Since 2015, the way French people are accessing online porn has changed with mobile phones now accounting for 50% of usage (vs 39% in 2015) and tablet access remaining unchanged at 12%.
Traffic for porn around the world tends to drop at a few peak times each year, notably when big global events occur. Traffic on New Year’s Eve, for instance, usually equates to a decline of visitors by as much a 44%. In France, traffic fell by 61% and on Christmas Eve by 63% – one of the biggest single declines across the year. Interestingly Bastille Day has no such similar effect, producing only an 8% reduction in traffic for porn with football having an even smaller impact; the UEFA Champions League Final on 28 May 2016 produced a massive 19% drop in Spain but only a 3% reduction in France.
LGBTQ in France
France has quite liberal LGBTQ rights and are seen as progressive. The current laws are as follows:
- The age of consent for same-sex couples is equal to heterosexual couples and has been since 1982. The age of consent is 15.
- Same-sex marriage was legalised in France in 2013 and was just the thirteenth country to do so. More than three in four French people support this; one of the highest general public opinion polls in the world.
- Since 2009, transgendered persons can change their legal gender without the need for surgery and France was the first country in the world to declassify transgenderism as a mental illness.
- LGBTQ people are freely allowed to serve in the French military.
- LGBTQ people are allowed to adopt.
- Gay and bisexual men are required to abstain from sex for a year before donating blood.
- Access to IVF treatment for lesbians is not yet enshrined in law but has been proposed.
- One of the first countries in the world to adopt a policy in schools aimed at targeting discrimination of all kinds was introduced in 2008-2009.
France has consistently been voted as one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world and the major cities, such as Paris, Lyon and Montpellier, have thriving LGBTQ communities. In most cities and towns, gay visitors are welcomed unreservedly with most having dedicated bars, hotels and events run to celebrate sexual diversity.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in France
France’s 100% free casual encounter, personal ad site, Maliceuses is the site for ‘free encounters’. Registration is free and contacting other members is simple with some having webcams. There is no doubting that quite a few of the women listing on here are ‘professional’ service providers but there are also genuine advertisers looking for naughty hook-ups.
Profiles are quite thin but are mostly verified as being genuine by the site administrators.
Plenty of sub-categories to explore with good keyword search functions, Maliceuses is easy to use.
One of the largest free classifieds sites in France with almost 100,000 ads (not all current it should be pointed out) covering Alsace to Rhone-Alps, Paris to Cote de A’zur.
As ever, men outnumber the women on the site but there are still a good 7000 announcements made for casual encounters though some of these are for professional services such as escorts, web models or masseurs.
The site is free to use but the contact numbers given are often premium rate though you can use emails to make a connection for free (account registration required).
The ubiquitous classifieds and personals ads that started the casual encounters online trend has a presence in France with primary services being available in the areas of Bordeaux, Brittany, Grenoble, Lille, Loire Valley, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Normandy, Paris, Strasbourg and Toulouse.
The site is free to use whether you are placing an ad for a casual encounter or whether you are using it to browse for other singles. Adverts can be in either French or English and if you are bilingual shouldn’t be a problem; however, Google does have an on-page translate function which could help… just don’t rely on it to be 100% accurate. A spelling mistake here and there could throw things out of context.
Wannonce doesn’t have the same volume of ads as Craigslist but is quite varied with its adverts as well as coverage. There are sub-categories for the dating section that includes ‘Recontre coquine’ or ‘naughty encounters’ as well fetish, erotic massage and Dom/sub enquiries.
The site is free to use and profiles usually have contact telephone numbers listed as well as the option to contact my email.
A chat site offering casual hook-up opportunities across France with 100% authentic and verified profiles, Mignonne is free to use though you will need to register an account to make contact. The site offers interaction across a variety of platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and MSN to make contact as easy as possible.
There are quite a lot of profiles from both men and women from across France with the details being pretty thin; however, you can make contact before arranging a hook up and swap further information.
A good site with some nice features including a gallery photo browsing section and a ‘Recommended for you’ tool which takes account of recently browsed profiles.
Featured image ‘Moulin Rouge’ via Wikimedia.