Is it just me or are French women a knowledgeable bunch? For instance, how about the following accomplishments:
How to eat rich food without gaining an ounce.
How to look glamorous when shopping for bread.
How to raise children who eat all their dinner.
How to make a four hundred square foot apartment look like the queen’s quarters.
Seriously, what the f*ck? Impressive, and they do it with such aplomb. But there is one more thing that French women are good at: sex and seduction.
My personal theory, for what it’s worth, is that the French have centuries of mastering indulgence behind them. They’re not afraid of the wicked, the sensual, the provocative, the delicious. Mainly, they’re artists of their own lives. And they’re not going to be stingy about what makes their soul sing.
While the rest of us are struggling with being polite, conservative and proper, the French assume that life is for living, not regretting.
I envy that. The desire to live in technicolor and in the moment has been a rewarding quest of mine, and I have stolen a page or two from French culture.
But let’s get to the nitty gritty. What do French women know about sex and seduction?
Comfortable in Their Own Skin.
My first encounter with a truly spectacular French woman was when I was in elementary school. She was my French language teacher. Parisian. I was also fresh to Canada from Europe, and I instantly warmed to her free-spirited energy. She was always dressed in something that suited her to perfection. She laughed from the heart. She was alive!
Even in her everyday role as our educator, she managed to seduce us all into learning French by being comfortable in her own skin. Her comfort was clearly evident in her movements, in the way she commanded space. Quite by accident, we all learned the French philosophy of ‘bien dans sa peau’: well in your own skin.
One day in class, when most of us were fidgeting and agonizing over some lesson, she stopped what she was doing at the blackboard and said in her adorable accent, “Why don’t you just relax? Get comfortable in your skin?”
I was old enough to understand that this was the charm she exuded, and to make a mental note for my adult self. Lesson one in seduction learned!
Seduction is almost always a word that’s used in association with sex. But actually, we use seduction unwittingly throughout our whole lives. It is part of every relationship and does not have to be sexual in nature.
I found out later that being at ease in one’s own skin puts a lover at ease. It is a very attractive quality in either women or men. Being at ease leaves us open. Openness and vulnerability are uber sexy. It allows for a lover to fall into us spiritually and emotionally long before they enter us physically.
Bien dans sa peau is a way to shed resistance to situations and simply flow. It will show in your smile, in your body language, in the way you approach your lover. And I can guarantee it will be appreciated.
Confidence is one of those tricky things that I think falls under the heading of fake it till you make it. A French girlfriend I once had explained this to me when I asked her how she managed to be so maddeningly confident while I fumbled around being shy and coy.
“Don’t be stuuupid!” she said. The word stupid is quite charming en-robed in a French accent, by the way. “I’m not always confident, I just tell myself that I am. And other times I really am confident. No one can tell the difference anyway,” she said with a wave of her hand.
I’m telling you, she pretty much drove me out of my mind in all her faux confidence.
I decided to try it out on boys, I mean, who knew, maybe they could tell the difference? No! They couldn’t tell the difference.
I worked on confidence until I was more aware of who I was and truly understood that confidence in bed is not about how much you know and more about self-belief. Practicing my friend’s theory, I noticed that my own confidence somehow rubbed off on my lover, which was good for me.
Throw all insecurity to the wind, tell yourself that you’ve got this covered; add that confident glimmer to your eye! What your mind believes your body will exude, and with some delicious practice, sex and seduction will be another life skill you excel at.
Sex Is About Freedom.
Would you agree that we’ve been sexually repressed for far too long?
I was raised to fear sex. It was all bad, no matter how you looked at it. Most conversations about sex with adults (the precious few that were had) centered on sin, pregnancy and disease. As an unknowledgeable teenager and later a curious adult, I found this incredibly limiting. I’ve always been very aware of my sexuality and being surrounded by puritanical adults only made me want to explore more.
Better for me, I think, would have been a healthy balance of honest information to keep me safe, with access to information about what is beautiful about sexuality.
Thank goodness for my voracious reading habit. The library had an erotica section that served as a foundation for my sexual education. Here I discovered Anais Nin, D.H. Lawrence, Sappho, Xaviera Hollander, and especially Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arsan. Oh la la!
Reading Emmanuelle led me to a continued love affair with French culture in general. My mind was opened to a completely different view of sex and seduction. Sex to the French, as I understood it, was an exploration of a fundamental human drive, like hunger, or love or thirst.
Nothing to feel guilty about. It wasn’t bad or good as such, it just was. There was nothing mindful in the way sex had been explained to me as a young adult. I find the French philosophy both freeing and empowering.
Equipped with the right information and a positive attitude towards sex, I believe that we can offer a sensual experience to a lover. It can only add to the confidence and ‘bien dans sa peau’ we’re already practicing.
Seduction Is Another Word for Appetizer.
Someone once told me that sex was never as good as the seduction before-hand. She wasn’t French. While I agree that seduction is a sweet part of life, I think she may have been having unfulfilling sex. Sex, or love making, should be like the decadent cream on top of a bowl full of sun ripened berries; both equally satisfying, although much different in taste and texture.
The moments, hours or days of seductive innuendos and sensual kisses that precede sex are what make it a sizzling encounter. Like heating a pan before introducing food to it, seduction opens our minds and bodies to touch.
That French girlfriend who taught me about confidence also taught me that waiting for something that our mind has already accepted as a possible treat is the only form of torture we should indulge in. Instant gratification, she said, is uncivilized.
She invited me to dinner to demonstrate her point. First she told me about what I would be allowed to eat when we got there. Of course she knew my preferences. That was days before the meal. No amount of begging to shorten the wait worked. Then daily calls about how it would taste, what spices would be used, how it would look. Then what she would wear, what she wanted me to wear. By this point I wasn’t sure what we were talking about…would there be only food?
The meal was preceded by wine and appetizers. “Seduction is the appetizer,” she told me. “Don’t ever forget it, or the meal will be just something to fill yourself on, not an experience, not a merging of energies between lovers, soulless.” All this information between feeding me the appetizers by hand.
There was no way in hell that I was going to forget that lesson!
Joie de Vivre!
Last but not least, I have learned from French women that life is to be lived joyfully. Whatever you do, do it with zest, life is short. But especially, offer sex, love and seduction from this place of joyfulness. The experience will be transformational. It’s the difference between eating a dry crust of bread and a warm, flaky croissant. And you’ll be sharing the best of yourself with your lover.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Caroline Beaton