Before girlfriend started discovering French, there’s a expression you might have currently been acquainted with: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

A fast online search will show you you’re not alone. You will do it easily find dozens of story of tourists or French students spouting out this question, periodically without also knowing what the means, and always with cringeworthy results.

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Why the cringe-worthiness? for one thing, although that technically correct and French people will know it, Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? has a bizarre ring come it because that French aboriginal speakers. 

For another, just blurting the end this sentence or asking it to who in earnest is front at best, and also offensive in ~ worst.

Let’s look in ~ why Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? is so well-known approximately the world, and why you probably shouldn’t say it come a French person.


Table of Contents
Why walk everyone understand the expression Voulez -vous coucher avec moi ?
What go Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? mean?
do French human being say “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”
when would you speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”

Why go everyone know the expression Voulez -vous coucher avec moi ?

It transforms out that what appears to be an above French phrase was actually popularized by international speakers. 

In 1921, American writer man Dos Passos provided it in his book Three Soldiers, albeit intentionally misspelled and also minus the ce soir. This is the very first recorded usage of the phrase. Not lengthy after, E.E. Cummings (one the my favourite poets, for what the worth), included the phrase Voulez-vous coucher avec moi in his poem “Little Ladies”. That was also used in Tennessee Williams’s famous 1947 beat “A Streetcar called Desire”, this time through ce soir added. 

A couple of decades later, it soared to popularity thanks to disco! In 1974, the Patti LaBelle-fronted group Labelle exit the ultra-catchy “Lady Marmalade”, a song around a new Orleans prostitute who says the now-famous line.

People of mine generation are probably more familiar v the 2001 work again, please again of the French song featuring Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink, and Lil’ Kim (as well together a cameo by Missy Elliott), for the movie Moulin Rouge!.


As a language learner, friend probably know that the often simpler to memorize things as soon as they’re in tune form, and that’s what seems to have happened here: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? is sung come a yes, really catchy track that pole in your head, in an era once music has actually gone global. It to be bound to end up being famous.

What walk Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? mean?

Let’s rest it down: Voulez-vous is the inverted type of Vous voulez – the is, “Do friend want?” This is adhered to by coucher – “to sleep”, climate avec moi – “with me”, and to finish it off, ce soir – “this evening/tonight”.

If this expression is engraved in your brain, there’s great news: You deserve to use it to help you mental the simple structure of inverted interrogative French sentences: 

1. The conjugated verb (in this case, Voulez)

2. A hyphen 

3. The subject (in this case, vous)

4. A noun or a 2nd verb (in the infinitive) (in this case, coucher

5. Any added elements (in this case, avec moi ce soir)

Try the with any kind of question girlfriend like. For example, this is a inquiry I questioning in order come gauge just what type of human being I’m talking to: Aimez-vous les chats ou les chiens? (Do you favor cats or dogs?). 

Here’s one more question, this time v a second verb: Veux-tu aller à la plage demain ? (Do you desire to walk to the beach tomorrow?)

*
Veux-tu aller à la plage demain ?

Do French civilization say “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”

The factor for this phrase’s popularity, and its structure, make a most sense, right? Well, currently I’m going to blow your mind: A aboriginal French speak would most likely never speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”!

That’s because, although it’s grammar correct, the usage of vous, the formal type of “you”, v an invite to together an intimate plot is jarring to most French people. If a French person were forward sufficient to ask you to sleep v them outright, also if they didn’t recognize you well, castle would usage the unshened tu.

If you’ve ever before been hit on in France, did you do it probably uncovered this already. 

When would you speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”

So, what’s the deal? Is this phrase simply an American author’s mistake?

It doesn’t seem likely, because other authors seem to have actually heard it, as well. This is where it it s okay interesting. 

John Dos Passos and E.E. Cummings were two free-spirited writers who spent time in Paris in an era wherein maisons closes (brothels) and prostitution were legal and reasonably common. This provides me wonder if the phrase is something that they heard prostitutes say, either to resolve the crowd of passersby (don’t forget that vous can additionally signify lot of people) or just to include a note of politeness/professionalism to the forward question. 

I’m not the only one who wondered about this. And also in Cummings’ poem “Little Ladies”, the expression is spoken by a French prostitute (or, in ~ least, the speaker’s storage of one). So the seems prefer this concept is probably correct.

So, what perform I to speak if I desire a French human to sleep v me?

Prostitution is still legal in France today, although maisons closes room not, as result of a legislation that forbids pimping. If you say “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” to a French prostitute today, they probably won’t bat one eye – organization is business. But they won’t ever before say this to you.

As because that the basic population, don’t believe the stereotypes. French civilization are not super-sexual beings who declare their passions and desires without any kind of shame or restraint.

The French may be a bit much more open about particular things, however it’s still considered incredibly forward and rude to walk as much as someone and ask them to sleep through you, particularly if you’ve never ever met castle before. 

Don’t let being in a foreign nation make you totally lose your feeling of respect. And also if girlfriend do, don’t worry – in ~ the really least, the human you approached will overlook you; at worst, you’ll gain slapped or maybe also beaten up. And then, yes the law. In 2018, catcalling and other kinds of street harassment ended up being a crime in France. Say something crude to someone and also you’ll obtain hit v a 70 euro good the first time, climate a 3000 euro good the next.

So also if she mad v desire for someone in France, shot to act normal. Be polite and non-threatening. Sell to buy castle a drink and get to know them. And of course, be all set for rejection even if you’re on your ideal behavior. Contrary to what pop society often shows, French civilization don’t just sleep v anyone lock meet.

It’s crucial to say every one of this, however I haven’t yes, really answered the question, have actually I? What if you’re in a case where you can reasonably think the human you’re talk to might be interested in gaining it on (to reference one more 70’s music hit) v you? How can you questioning if they’re up for it?

So much depends on context and also on your relationship. Flirting is an art, and so is communication. And also of course, as soon as it involves physical things, it often just…happens, without lot planning in advance.

That said, this article offers two instances of the actual way Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? would certainly be stated in France today: Veux-tu coucher avec moi ce soir? and Tu together envie de coucher avec moi ce soir ?

As the author of the write-up points out, the first example tho feels a little formal, since inverted inquiries in talked French tend to have actually that connotation. So, the second example functions better. I specifically like it because it consists of envie, i m sorry is often used to express bold sex-related desire — J’ai envie de toi, for example, way “I desire you.”

That said, both of these phrases likewise have a slight, sour note to me, as they most likely do for millions of other world who’ve to be approached or harassed in France. There room times as soon as you might be sitting in a park, reading a book or checking her phone and also wearing garments that certainly don’t inspire the phrase “Oh là là, ” and also yet, out of nowhere, who will approach you. They might be French, or they may be who from an additional country that assumes the you’re “easy” due to the fact that you’re French (or, in ~ least, a seemingly available person in France).

Whether friend look favor Alain Delon or Brigitte Bardot in your heyday or a sketchy individual from the streets, heads up to people who perform this: the is no attractive. It actually comes off as desperate, shallow (at the very least chat me increase a bit and also pretend to prefer me!), and even threatening.

So, come recap: If you to be planning to go to France and also ask every attractive human being you watch to sleep through you, no, the is not typical in France come ask someone you don’t recognize or barely understand to sleep through you.

If you in a relationship with someone, on the other hand, or you guys are in heavy flirtation mode and have been seeing each other for a while, you could say “J’ai très envie de faire l’amour avec toi” (I really desire to do love come you/I really desire you.). 

Of course, keep in mind that no matter exactly how you ask, there’s no guarantee the human being you’re asking will certainly say “Oui.”

When it involves getting a French human being to sleep with you, use your language an abilities in a various way. Discover to do conversation, ask questions, give the sometimes compliment. Things have to proceed normally from there.

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leave Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? on her bookshelves or the dancefloor.