French women have a reputation for eating what they want -- namely chocolate, cheese and bread -- and staying slim. In fact, gourmet indulgence is so important to most French women that the majority of them prefer sitting down to a gourmet dinner over having sex, according to the results of a survey by Harris Interactive for the French edition of women's magazine Grazia.
If there were a scale for rating pleasure, French women would place food at 7.1 out of 10.
"Chemically, the same thing happens in the brain during a 'culinary orgasm' and a sexual orgasm. In fact, when we are sad and we decide to eat chocolate, we are actually masturbating the hypothalamus," sexologist Gérard Leleu explained to French Grazia.
French women seem to have understood this, as 74 per cent of those surveyed said they preferred sitting down to a gourmet meal over a romp in the sack. Among the foods they go crazy for, the women surveyed were most likely to name chocolate (49 per cent), followed by cheese (39 per cent), foie gras (36 per cent), oysters (33 per cent) and strawberries (29 per cent).
Some even take their love of food a step further: 25 per cent of the women surveyed said they actually get more pleasure out of food than out of sex.
Unsurprisingly, male survey respondents were less likely to indicate the same order of preference. Only 13 per cent of the French men surveyed said they enjoyed eating more than sex. Furthermore, 59 per cent of them said they would prefer eating less and avoiding restaurants over forgoing sex.
The study was carried out from March 18-20, 2014 among 1,000 French respondents aged 18 and over.
It seems the phenomenon is not limited to the French. A 2012 study by Cancer Research U.K. asked women what would be the hardest thing to give up for a full month. The response: less than one in ten women chose sex, while more than double that picked chocolate.