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Why French Women Are Sexy

Attitude and Lingerie Are Why French Women Are so Sexy

Books have been written about it — What French Women Know, Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French, and — but still that je ne sais quoi that makes French synonymous with sexy perplexes American women.

We're not alone though — the British are just as baffled. Yesterday Kate Carter asked this question in the Guardian, citing how "scruffy," "dowdy," and much like "rosbif" (roast beef) English women are. And while nobody does the collective down-on-yourself shtick better than the Brits, anyone could feel beefy compared to French women. From a fashion standpoint, Carter decides lingerie is the major distinction: French women spend 20 percent of their fashion budget on underwear. I have no idea what American and British women spend, but it probably has everything to do with how active our dating lives are.

So what's the real difference? Find out below.

It's attitude, and that's not entirely our fault. French women spend more money on lingerie because French women expect to get laid, regardless of age or relationship status. One-third of American women over 50 haven't had sex in the last year while only 15 percent of their French counterparts say the same. A 2006 study at Vanderbilt University concluded that middle-aged women who live alone have trouble seeing themselves — and others — as potential sex partners. And, having reported turning down more men than French women, are deemed more choosy.


It can, as usual, be traced to pop culture. While it becomes increasingly harder for English-speaking actresses over 40 (and even harder after 50) to get lead roles in Hollywood, French cinema continues to cast older actresses in romantic leads without nostalgia, cougar plots, or airbrushing.

If American women know one thing it's that looking to Hollywood for self-esteem is a dead end — not that it stops us. Maybe if popular thought changes, popular culture would follow. Or is that a fantasy?
Source: Flickr User Professor Bop

Join The Conversation
French-Kiss French-Kiss 7 years
*surprised* I didn't know...
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I would definitely say I spend much more than 20% of my fashion budget on lingerie. Honestly I haven't treated myself to a new piece of lingerie in a while... I will have to do that soon. Though sexy is more about attitude than anything.
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
I am from the UK but was brought up in France, quite how much of French culture rubbed off on me over the years I'm not sure. Personally, I would not feel good about myself if I knew I did not have nice undies on*, somehow I think it helps your self esteem when you get dressed in the morning. * -= Unless it's a very warm sundress day but that's another matter :) !
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
I definitely agree with this article - except that I recently read that French women spend 40% of their clothing budget on lingerie, so even more than what is cited here! It's definitely the case - there are lingerie stores all over the place, and even some of my middle-class girlfriends won't blink at spending over 100 euros on a bra-and-panty set. But I think what really sets French women apart is their confidence in themselves. They have no taboos - my friends here in France are very comfortable with their bodies and confident in their sexuality (perhaps why they are willing to spend so much money on lace and satin to show themselves off!), and I think that that's what makes them sexiest.
turtleshell turtleshell 7 years
I love lingerie. I love shopping for it and wearing it. My boyfriend, although appreciative, does not care too much. He is more concerned with taking it off... Haha.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
The film thing is interesting. I was in France last month, and while watching TV and in-flight films, I thought, "Wow. Middle-aged women actually exist in French media." Agreed with anon re: fancy underpants.
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