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France

The French, sex and politics: What’s the link?

© Philippe Huguen, AFP| A young couple embraces as members of the General Worker's Confederation (CGT) labour union demonstrate in front of the Palais de Justice courthouse on June 9, 2016 in Lille.

Text by Monique El-Faizy

Latest update : 2017-04-19

Does the increasing popularity of two extremist presidential candidates in France -- Marine Le Pen on the far right and Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the far left -- say something about the sex lives of the French?

A recent survey of more than 4,000 adults conducted by polling firm IFOP on behalf of the swinger’s social networking site Wyylde.com found that the more radical or anti-establishment a French person is politically, the more likely he or she is to deviate from sexual norms.

While some of the predilections addressed in the poll are too risqué to discuss on a website that doesn’t have an adults-only label, it is safe to say that the far left is engaging in more sexual experimentation than the far right.

Far left are more experimental

To illustrate with some of the tamer habits tackled in the survey, 45 percent of people on the extreme left have engaged in S&M, as opposed to 41 percent of people on the far right compared with 29 percent on average. Those on the far left are also more likely to have engaged in a menage à trois -- 37 percent -- than those on the far right, who at 19 percent are near the national average of 18 percent. And 23 percent of those on the far left have done some partner swapping, compared to 12 percent on the far right compared with 9 percent on average.

Whether despite or because of the unconventional sexual habits of those on the extreme ends of the political spectrum, 62 percent of French said they would refuse to be in a serious relationship with someone on the far right and 52 would refuse to be in a couple with someone on the far left.

Political moderates are more attractive

Being moderate politically increases a person’s chance of being more attractive. Only 24 percent of those surveyed said they would avoid a relationship with someone on the centre-right and only 25 percent ruled out someone on the centre-left. Overall, women were more concerned with a partner’s political leanings than men were, with 80 percent of women versus 74 percent of men.

People are more likely to know the political orientation of their current partner (91 percent) than of their former partners (54 percent) or of people with whom they have been sexually involved with (29 percent).

People tend to prefer to share their lives with people who share their political views. Of those couples surveyed, 75 percent said they were on the same end of the political spectrum as their partner and 70 percent said they shared the same ideological positions. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into similar voting patterns: only 44 percent of respondents said they would vote for the same candidate as their significant other.

Air of mystery?

A new development is couples opting to retain an air of mystery about their political choices. Whereas in 2007, 74 percent of people who were in a couple knew whom their partner planned to vote for, in 2017 that number has dropped to 66 percent. Only 8 percent of respondents knew when their partner would cast a ballot for a candidate other than the one they themselves support.

If people want their partners to share their politics, they are far less dogmatic when it comes to unattached sex. When asked if they slept with at least one person who didn’t share their political leanings, 80 percent of those surveyed said they had.

The survey population was demographically, professionally and geographically diverse and included people of all marital statuses. Respondents filled out an online questionnaire between March 24 and March 30, 2017.
 

Date created : 2017-04-19

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