Sex after 50? Mais oui!

French women are more sexually active into their later years than American women are. Let's have what they're having.

By Sarah Hepola
Published February 12, 2008 5:40PM (EST)

As if we needed another reason to grow old sipping Burgundy in a cozy French chateau, a story in the Washington Post reports that "cohabiting Frenchwomen over 50 are having more sex now than they did in the early 1990s." Meanwhile, in our neck of the woods, the future of your boudoir is pretty dim. "Among today's 50-plus [American] women, the problem of sexlessness is as bad or worse than it was for older women two decades ago." That news, frankly, sucks.

What is going on, American women? The article suggests one reason might be the prevalence of lusty, older actresses in France, where gracefully aging screen sirens are still cast as the object of desire. (Catherine Deneuve is 65, and no one's putting her in a muumuu anytime soon.) Meanwhile, as I type this, Diane Keaton is reading a script for another quirky romantic comedy in which she wears a series of designer turtlenecks.

Blaming our complex American sexual hangups on Hollywood is too simple, of course. (The article also mentions that French women are less choosy about their mates and more open to extramarital affairs.) But it can't be bad that recent entertainment has shown that sex doesn't stop when your senior citizen's discount kicks in. HBO's "Tell Me You Love Me" featured a therapist, played by 69-year-old Jane Alexander, cooing a randy come-on into her husband's ear. Susan Sarandon will always be there for us. And Julie Christie earned an Academy Award nomination as a woman ravaged by Alzheimer's but still warmed by desire. Though, come to think of it, that was a Canadian production.

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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