Liberté Égalité, Infidélité… French Living up to Stereotypes


A poll published in the wake of the ongoing Hollande/Gayet scandal, infidelity amongst couples in France appears to be high, and on the increase

The figures paint a somewhat shocking picture. More than half of all men (55%) and almost one women in three (32%) admit to having been unfaithful; a behavioural pattern that has clearly increased since the 1970s, according to an IFOP (Institut Français d’Opinion Publique) online poll.

The proportion of French people having been unfaithful during their lives has progressed continuously over the last 40 years, going from 19% in 1970 to 30% in 2001 and is now running at a rate of 43%, according to the study carried out for Gleeden – a French website specialising in extramarital trysts.

Perhaps inspired by the likes of current Socialist president Hollande, infidelity seems to be a more common practice amongst voters of the left (46%) than of the right (40%). Men who are older and more well off (66% of the over-50s and 53% of those in the higher earning bracket) are distinguished in this poll by “a greater level of experimentation of extra-marital behaviour”.

Is kissing being unfaithful?

Without going all the way, one French citizen in two (46%) has already kissed someone other than their betrothed and 50% admit to having participated in a seduction game of adulterous nature.

Those who don’t actually do it spend a lot of time thinking about it and the survey revealed that three quarters of men (76%) and two thirds of women (67%) have fantasized about making love with someone else and one third of French people (32%) admit to thinking about someone else while making love with their partner.

According to the survey, two out of three women estimate that “kissing is being unfaithful”. 57% of all respondents considers the exchange of cheeky messages as already a form of infidelity.

Any Room for Fidelity?

Despite the seemingly unstoppable march of infidelity, it turns out that 68% of French people believe that it is possible to remain faithful to one person for the whole of ones life. 63% of French (as against 53% in 2010) living as a couple believe that you can love someone while at the same being unfaithful to them.

For François Kraus, head of the opinion department of IFOP, “one of the principal lessons to be drawn from this enquiry is found in the still very different perceptions of infidelity between men and women: the latter are still far less accepting of adulterous behaviour than are men.”

(The survey was carried out between the 7th and the 9th of January amongst a sample population of 804 people, according to accepted quota methods)

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