For all the attention older generations give to the so-called exploding teenage sexuality in America, they still manage to get it wrong. There’s this weird perception of younger generations here in the U.S. having a “hookup culture” but most of the studies done on this supposed outburst of sexual energy have thoroughly debunked the practice. In reality kids these days are doing exactly as much (or as little) hooking up as their parents did — but they might be a lot more open about it. Which is a good thing.
This is still a huge shock to those who visit from overseas (including yours truly).
Americans are a lot colder and less open about their sexual desires than the French. It’s almost as if they think all those unrealized fantasies — you know, the ones they lie about not having — are weird or abnormal, or that they shouldn’t be having them.
A lot of you probably own dogs. Some of you probably own more than one. A few might even own two male dogs. And you know what those dogs definitely do? They cuddle. To them it’s a creature comfort, something they do because two physical beings with a strong emotional bond are supposed to express that emotional bond in a physical way. I’ve got sad news for a lot of you: humans are no different. We’re animals. And we have that need for those same creature comforts too, whether we choose to engage in them or not.
Societal norms in any culture should not stop us from same-sex physical encounters, no matter how far they go (cuddling, making out, sex, or whatever else two people choose to do). In France, and pretty much all of Europe, it’s not weird to see two close friends with their arms around one another on the couch. No one assumes it means they aren’t attracted to the opposite sex. No one accuses them of being gay (as if there is anything wrong with that in the first place) and our citizens are emotionally healthier because of this openness. Then again, if a guy and girl have their arms around one another, we don’t necessarily assume they’re anything more than good friends. And therein lies the difference between our cultures.
In America, practically everyone thinks they’re abnormal in some way. It’s not true. The only abnormal thing is being so closed off from everyone else.
That said, the French are known as “romantic” for a reason. We tend to keep our sex lives behind closed doors even when those sex lives are wilder, but we don’t have the same moral hangups that American have. No one will think less of anyone else for going to bed with someone after a drink or two at the bar. Sex is about fun and affection and engaging with someone on a different level. It doesn’t mean a lifelong commitment, nor should it.