Issue 12  •  Spring 2013


Alone At Last: Madame Fontanel’s Twelve Years Forgoing Sex
Posted on  August 15th, 2013
by Ariana Rosado

Image courtesy of The Daily Beast

Some of us dread the idea of going home to sleep on an empty bed – Madame Fontanel isn’t one of them.

Sophie Fontanel, writer and senior fashion editor at Elle France, decided that no sex was definitely better than the sex she had been having during her twenties. At the age of 27 she had just about enough.

After a series of bad sex and disappointments, and during a ski-trip away from her then-boyfriend, she decided that she would reclaim her body through abstinence.

The result? Twelve years of celibacy and a novel, L’envie (2011), whose English translation The Art of Sleeping Alone,” hit stores three days ago.

According to a NYMAG interview, Mme Fontanel says that: “living without sex was no big deal — not because she didn’t desire it, but because she doesn’t ascribe sex the overblown importance she believes it’s taken on in the media.” By writing her memoir she discovered that she wasn’t so alone after all: other people reached out and confessed that they too were in the same situation, but weren’t as vocal about their sexual disappointments. They were too afraid to face our sex-crazed society’s reaction.

While some tried to concoct an excuse for her forgoing sex, some pointed out that “maybe [she wasn’t] so young and beautiful, and that’s why nobody wanted to sleep with [her],” but she responded that “[she] wasn’t saying that nobody wanted to sleep with [her]: [she] was saying that [she] didn’t want to sleep with anyone.” Fontanel is standing up for her candidness, her body, and telling everyone that: “being alone is not a sin.”

Her words sound like poetry to me:

“I was so excited to be alone in my bed.

I immediately bought a bigger bed, and for me,

it was freedom.”

Madame Fontanel is currently single and enjoying dining, having coffee, and traveling alone.

To read Fontanel’s interview with The Cut click here!

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