The morning after François Mitterrand’s funeral, a photo showed the late president’s mistress and illegitimate daughter standing by his grave alongside his wife and sons. That tableau has become famous internationally as proof that the French are uniquely tolerant of extramarital affairs.
In fact, although French presidents seem to have an infidelity record approaching 100 per cent, ordinary Frenchmen claim to be quite faithful. In a 2004 national survey, just 3.8 per cent of married men and 2 per cent of women said they had had more than one sex partner in the past year (the best approximation of infidelity) — fewer than in similar surveys in the U.S. and the U.K.
If France isn’t the world capital of adultery, which country is? I set off around the world to find out.
See the full excerpt of Pamela Druckerman’s Lust in Translation here.