French women are supposed to be the ones who are privy to all of life’s secrets, including how not to get fat and especially how to have the best sex ever, right? Well the legend of the all-knowing French woman may be just that — a myth — according to a new book about sex by a French author.
Sophie Bramly is the author of the hot new French book Everything Women Always Wanted to Know About Sex and Finally Dared to Ask. She says young French women need sex advice more than ever. Why?
Her book deals in concrete sex tips culled from “The Second Sex,” a five-year-old Web site begun by Bramly that promotes women’s sexual pleasure — intellectually, and also practically. (It sells sex toys.) The popularity of Bramly’s book and Web site perhaps underscores how little many French know about the sexual functioning of their bodies. Gynecologists and psychologists say the phenomenon is particularly striking — and surprising — among young French women.
“I fear that we’ve regressed,” the psychologist Philippe Brenot wrote recently in Elle. “Young women become active sexually at 15 or 16 years old, and come to see us at 25 because they are not having orgasms. It’s not pathological; it’s a lack of sexual education.” Michel Cymes, a doctor and the co-host of the RTL radio sex series, agreed. “The most misunderstood phenomenon is the female anatomy,” he told Le Figaro, the daily newspaper.
But France isn’t the puritanical U.S. Overseas, you see nude women everywhere you turn — magazines, billboards, etc. So what gives? The Times reports that it’s possible that misinformation from the internet (like porn) is flowing as freely as actual information, and that sex education in schools covers only safe sex and STI transmission, not anatomy.
Still, there is one thing that French women has access to that we U.S. women can only dream of: something called la rééducation périnéale.
The French state subsidizes as many as 20 sessions of physical therapy to get a woman’s postnatal pelvic floor back into shape. “Can you imagine our health care system paying for something like that?” asked Marilyn Yalom, a former Stanford professor whose new book, “How the French Invented Love,” will be published by Harper Perennial in October. “One can remain a sexual being in France as long as you live if you make the effort. French women don’t give up.”
Now that’s a government benefit that women in the U.S. would jump at the chance for, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. Until then, you can do your kegels at home — or even while hypnotized.
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