Sophie Fontanel had it all: a glitzy position as Editor-at-Large of French Elle, glamorous parties with even more stylish clothes to go along with and an endless supply of eligible French bachelors. But the one thing she didn’t have? Sex. By choice.
Fontanel, 50, revealed in her memoir, “The Art of Sleeping Alone” (which will be released in America on Tuesday), that she’s been celibate for a majority of her life. And she’s not afraid to admit it. According to the fashion editor, it all began when she was in her late 20s and 30s, when she realized that she didn't need to have sex to be happy. So, she didn’t have sex for 12 years.
"I spent the first 10 years of my adult life having, frankly, disappointing sex,” she told the Telegraph back in April. That’s when she made the decision to cut sex from her life, and spread the word by penning a memoir that spent eight weeks on the best-seller list in France.
“I have no fear anymore—I’m 50 years old now, and mature enough not to have a problem with saying how I feel,” she told Elle.com. “I realized it was important for me to write this book in particular because I’ve noticed that many other women believe they have to lie and act as if their sex life is so rewarding when that’s simply not the case—in actuality they are bored or unfulfilled.”
Fontanel goes on to say that she knows plenty of women who are having rampant sex, but that route was just not for her, even as a French woman who is “supposed to be so gifted in seduction.”
“My decision to be alone, to refuse to have sex in a mechanical way, was a reaction to experiences of making love when you really feel that it’s not the right thing for you, or you feel like you’re pretending that it isn’t a big deal for you when that’s not the case,” she said.
However, not everyone is applauding her efforts to remain celibate, and sharing her story. Fontanel described a press event in Paris shortly after the French release of her book where other journalists treated her like “a strange animal in a zoo.” Later, though, she said her book became a best-seller in France, leading to its American release this month. Since the backlash, many credit Fontanel for being a “spokeswoman” for a reverse sexual revolution.
“Our freedom is spoiled by this idea that if we are single, we’re going to die,” she explained. “Knowing how to live alone and be happy being alone is very important. … Solitude is very important and can cultivate a great deal of strength. All that love you are not making is being channeled into you.”
“The Art Of Sleeping Alone” is available in the U.S. beginning Tuesday, Aug. 13. According to the Daily Mail, the memoir is semi-autobiographical, full of anecdotes of her “scandalous life as a celibate woman in today’s sex-obsessed society.”