Sexual health is important no matter where you are in the world, and knowing what the big picture is like when you move to another country is vital to make sure you stay safe and sound. An incredible 43 percent of couples in France have confessed adultery, making it the fifth most unfaithful country in the world. If you live in France and plan to get involved in sex, you should know that you should practice safe sex and learn your social norms regarding sex.
Education and social norms
Sex education has been present in French schools since 1973. Students receive between 30 and 40 hours of sex education throughout the school year, and schools must provide students in grades 8 and 9 (12 to 15 years of age) ) with condoms. The French government has been providing information and campaigns on contraception to high school students, seeking to promote gender equality, respect between boys and girls and sexual intelligence.
In 2015, efforts began to promote the right of women to choose the type of contraceptive of their choice. The curriculum focuses mostly on STDs and gender equality, all appropriate for their age, but it is believed that they are falling behind in terms of sexual rights. This problem is difficult to tackle as radical groups have begun to protest against sex education for children.
Use of contraceptives 81.8 percent of sexually active people in France use some type of contraceptive, making it the third country with the highest percentage in Europe, after the United Kingdom and Malta. However, the condom is used by only 4.7 percent of married women or couples. The contraceptive of preference for women between 15 and 24 years, which has become more popular lately, is the first and second generation contraceptive pill. IUDs and condoms have grown in popularity over the past 5 years for women over the age of 25.
Getting contraceptives in France is quite easy as it is a country open to the subject and attempts to educate and encourage people to practice safe sex.
As mentioned above, schools provide condoms during sex education classes, on the recommendation of the government. There is no need for a prescription to buy condoms and they are readily available throughout the country. There are condom dispensers on the streets, outside pharmacies, in public toilets and more. Additionally, it is easy to buy them at a pharmacy or supermarket. Female condoms are not so common, but they can be obtained in some pharmacies as well. The price varies between € 6 and € 9 per box of three condoms. They are also distributed free of charge in health clinics such as family planning centers, analysis centers and AIDS organizations.
As in most countries, it is necessary to have a prescription to buy oral contraceptives in France. Send pills to France by mail from your country of origin is not allowed at least that you have a special license that can cost up to $ 1000 USD. Before leaving your country, it is recommended that you buy as many pills as your pharmacy or insurance company allows. Once in France, visit a general practitioner or gynecologist who can see what you take and inform you if you can find that brand or something equivalent in France. This is why it is important that you know the scientific name of your medication to know if you will find an equivalent easily. Your doctor must provide you with a prescription once your supply is finished. It is possible to buy oral contraceptives without a prescription in some pharmacies with your empty box, but it is always a good idea to visit a doctor to avoid side effects (nausea, acne, weight gain, etc.). Additionally, check with your international or French insurance provider if they cover the cost of oral contraceptives. Similarly, you should not pay more than € 15 for a month’s supply.
IUDs are the second most popular contraceptive system in France. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 21.9 percent of sexually active women who are married or with a partner prefer the IUD (Intra Uterine Device – IUD) method. However, many doctors refuse to perform the procedure on young women or women who have never given birth. This is an unfounded criterion and rather a medical tradition, but they believe that women who have never given birth have a smaller uterus that would reject the IUD. However, there are methods to measure the capacity of the uterus and see if the IUD can be inserted properly. A copper IUD costs approximately € 30 and a hormonal one around € 125.
The implants are available through France and cost, on average, € 107. This method to prevent pregnancies is safe and efficient, and is one of the preferred among women over 25. La Sécurité Sociale returns 65 percent of the cost.
The morning-after pill and emergency contraceptives are available at pharmacies across the country without a prescription. Unlike other countries, it can be quite economical to buy the pill the next day in France, costing approximately € 7. Nurses in public and parochial schools are authorized to provide emergency contraception.
In 2011, 160,000 people were reported living with AIDS in France. Although this number has been reduced among heterosexual people, it has increased among the homosexual population. France is one of the few countries in Europe reflecting the highest number of HIV cases every year.
You can go to your nearest Family Planning and Education Center (CPEF) to get blood tests that measure ETS and ITS. Some of these services are free; however, the payment services are quite accessible compared to countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom. Since 2015, pharmacies sell HIV self-tests, which let you know your status in approximately 30 minutes.
There are no specific entry restrictions for people with HIV / AIDS in France. You can enter the country with antiretroviral drugs for personal use as long as the patient brings a medical note from his doctor.
France is very liberal when it comes to sexual health and women’s rights. Abortion was legalized in 1975 and it is a common practice with approximately 17 of every 1,000 women between 15 and 44 years of age finishing a pregnancy. Medical care for pregnant women (including abortion) in France is covered by the Sécurité Sociale, as long as you announce your pregnancy to the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF), which is the branch of government that deals with all matters related to the family. .
Abortions in France are known as Interruption Volontaire de Grossesse (IVG) and are allowed up to 12 weeks of gestation. After that period, the abortion can only be carried out if the doctors believe that the pregnancy poses a risk to the health of the mother or if there are abnormalities in the fetus. After consulting about abortion, there is a mandatory period of 7 days of ‘cooling off’ for the woman to think about her decision. This period can be shortened to 2 days in case the patient is close to 12 weeks of gestation. Women under 18 do not require authorization from their parents to perform an abortion, as long as they are accompanied by an adult of their choice to the clinic. The adult in question is not allowed to discuss the abortion with the parents or with third parties. Underage and single women should attend therapy for a week after the procedure. Doctors are authorized to refuse to perform an abortion but are required to direct their patient to their nearest CPEF.