How To Avoid Hookup Culture Like A French Girl

We admire the French for having mastered certain things – croissants, pastries, fashion, and now dating.

By Katarina Bradford3 min read
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Hookup culture has become the “norm” in America. According to the National Institute of Health, anywhere between 60% and 80% of North American college students have had some sort of hookup experience, and that number remains consistent within emerging adulthood.

It’s little wonder why American women are increasingly frustrated with dating. Hookup culture equates sexuality with sex, leaving little room for women to embrace their feminine sexuality outside a sexualized context. There is, however, an art to reclaiming feminine sexuality from hookup culture, and French women have cracked the code.

It’s not by accident that these ladies have become synonymous with timeless elegance, grace, and class. They are masters of embracing their feminine sexuality in all contexts, not just in romantic settings, which has kept hookup culture at bay and has set the standard for dating and finding a lasting, deeply romantic relationship.

Here are the biggest takeaways from French dating and how we, like our French sisters across the pond, can reclaim our feminine sexuality from hookup culture.

Hookup Culture Doesn’t Exist in France

You read that right. Hookup culture is largely non-existent in France. Despite being the homeland of famous feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, French women still retain a high degree of conservative culture. Namely, the French reserve physical intimacy for exclusive relationships – and that includes kissing. In fact, the “first kiss” is considered a symbolic act of agreeing to become “exclusive.” However, this pivotal moment may not come until several weeks of what may come across as “platonic” dating to the average American.

The “first kiss” is considered a symbolic act of agreeing to become “exclusive.”

They Embrace “Rendezvous Culture"

The French date with purpose – namely, to find a partner for the long haul. Because the stakes are so high, French dating can be somewhat of a lengthy process to determine compatibility. It's common for first dates, or “rendezvous,” to be held in group settings. For example, a man may ask a woman to grab a meal with his friends to see if she is compatible with their group dynamic. It also gives his friends the opportunity to give their opinions and share any red flags they notice.

After compatibility is established, dates will progress to more intimate settings, like sunset walks or romantic dinners. The stereotype of the French debating politics and philosophy over a candlelight dinner isn’t far-fetched, either. They are dating to determine compatibility for a lasting relationship, and being able to have deep and meaningful conversations with your partner is the foundation of long-term intimacy.

Finally, once a man decides that he wants to pursue his date exclusively, he will plan a special date to “seal the deal” with a first kiss. This step toward physical intimacy is so pivotal in French dating that it’s not uncommon for a man to ask a woman permission before first kissing her.

Sex Isn’t "Just Sex"

To the French, sex is “making love” in the true sense of the phrase. It’s a way to show your partner an even deeper form of affection and is reserved for truly committed couples, if not married couples. That’s why the French will often hold off on sexual intimacy even after entering into an exclusive relationship following their first kiss. The idea of “hooking up” with a person who you are not in a deeply committed relationship with is still considered quite scandalous.

The French Mastered the Art of “Platonic Flirting”

Platonic flirting is arguably the key to how French women embrace their feminine sexuality without caving to hookup culture. Though the French tend to keep interactions non-romantic unless they are in a committed relationship, they express their femininity and masculinity in their daily interactions without any romantic intention.

French women lean into femininity, not merely through their iconic feminine fashion, but also in their soft skills: the cadence of their voice, their wit in conversation, the way they hold eye contact. This often involves stereotypically female acts, like laughing at jokes, purposefully blushing, and twirling their hair. Fourth-wave feminists may cringe, but these ladies have it down to an art form.

Men admire women for their beauty and wit, and women expect to be admired in return.

Likewise, men lean into their masculinity and dish out their iconic flirtatious charm. Men admire women for their beauty and wit, and women expect to be admired in return. This admiration isn’t sexually charged; it’s the art of men and women embracing their masculinity and femininity in a non-sexual way. What a novel idea.

How Can We Embrace Our Feminine Sexuality Like a French Girl?

It can be discouraging to compare American hookup culture to French dating culture. However, big cultural changes start with small, individual choices, and there are practical lessons from the French that we can start using to raise the standards of who we date and how we find lasting, enduring love.

First, embrace your feminine sexuality in non-romantic contexts. Explore your personal fashion tastes and find outfits that accentuate your beautiful figure without being risqué. Practice “platonic flirting” to become contagious in any social setting. Learn how to ask good questions in conversations to open up the opportunity for intimacy. Become familiar with your unique facial expressions and how they silently yet powerfully send a message. All of these practices engage your feminine sexuality in a powerful, non-sexual way.

Second, raise your dating standards. Recommend dates where you can get to know each other outside a sexually-charged context. Have a game night with friends, go for long walks, have a romantic dinner where you debate things you’re passionate about. All of these things, though not sexualized, cultivate deep emotional intimacy that will lay the foundation for an incredible romantic relationship for the long haul. Ironically, pursuing intimacy in a non-sexual context is the foundation for an amazing sex life. There’s a reason why studies continue to show that married couples have more fulfilling sex lives than those participating in hookup culture. Intimacy is the key.

Lastly, build the life you have always wanted so the right guy can complement it. Pursue your passions. Challenge your mind through reading and learning new things. Upgrade your vocabulary and the way you speak. Cultivate an incredible group of friends who encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Nourish your body by trying new recipes and exercises. In short, “do as the French do.” Pursuing these things is deeply feminine and extremely sexy. High quality men who are worth your time will be captivated by the life you are building. The wrong guy will just want to head straight to the bedroom. To him, you can bid adieu.

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