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Sexuality in France - statistics & facts

Sensuality, gallantry, romanticism, natural instinct for seduction... the reputation of the French abroad has always been deeply marked by stereotypes. But what does that mean, statistically speaking? On average, most French lovers meet at parties, at the place where they study, or at work. Half of French men have fantasized about a work colleague, compared to 30 percent of women. Furthermore, 33 percent of people surveyed reported having had sex or sex games at work with a colleague.

Sexual identity and online practices

As much as the French like the typical model of a nuclear family, with 89 percent of the population reported as heterosexual, the norm seems to be less prevalent than 60 years ago. About 12 percent of young women and eight percent of young men stated that they had already been in a homosexual relationship and enjoyed it, and 30 percent of young women never had, but are open to it. Some 86 percent of French citizens think homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society. While 34 percent of people had developed a romantic and sexual relationship with someone they had met online, 24 percent had an exclusively sexual relationship. Technology has made it possible to transfer experiences into the virtual world. In times of lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, such platforms seem to be a popular tool for dealing with sexual frustration. However, French people are still cautious, as about 50 percent feared that their private and online sexual experiences might be leaked.

Sexual practices among men and women

Conventional practices have evolved in France. From 1970 to 2021, the number of women having already used a sexual accessory rose from 55 to 87 percent. Additionally, masturbation is less of a taboo subject for young women. More than 75 percent said that they had already practiced it, compared to 80 percent of men aged 18 to 34 who had done it and enjoyed it. For men, more than three quarters desire sex of longer duration. Some 48 percent of young women admit to having lied to their partner about reaching an orgasm, compared to 42 percent of men of all ages. But the happiness with the choice of partner who seems to care is equally distributed among different relationship constellations.

Safe sex

Eventually, sexual safety is a topic most French people seem to be well aware of and consider important. 94 percent of women knew about the pill and other products on the contraceptive market, while 59 percent reported using a contraceptive method in 2019. With the condom being the most effective against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and an agent against pregnancies, when young people were asked why they would choose not to use a condom, most of them replied that they simply did not have one at hand or did not want to use one.

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