Before you started finding out French, yes sir a expression you can have currently been acquainted with: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

A fast online find will show you you’re no alone. You will do it easily discover dozens of story of tourist or French college student spouting the end this question, occasionally without also knowing what the means, and constantly with cringeworthy results.

You are watching: What does voulez vous mean in french

Why the cringe-worthiness? for one thing, although it’s technically correct and also French people will understand 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 questioning it to someone in earnest is front at best, and also offensive in ~ worst.

Let’s look at why Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? is for this reason well-known approximately the world, and why you probably shouldn’t to speak it to a French person.


Table that Contents
Why walk everyone know the expression Voulez -vous coucher avec moi ?
What go Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? mean?
carry out French people say “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”
once would you to speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?”

Why does everyone understand the expression Voulez -vous coucher avec moi ?

It turns out that what appears to it is in an above French phrase was actually popularized by foreign speakers. 

In 1921, American writer john Dos Passos offered it in his book Three Soldiers, albeit deliberately misspelled and also minus the ce soir. This is the an initial recorded use of the phrase. Not long after, E.E. Cummings (one that my favorite poets, because that what the worth), had the expression Voulez-vous coucher avec moi in his city “Little Ladies”. It was additionally used in Tennessee Williams’s famed 1947 pat “A Streetcar named Desire”, this time with ce soir added. 

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

People of my generation space probably more familiar v the 2001 remake of the French song featuring Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink, and also Lil’ Kim (as well together a cameo through Missy Elliott), because that the movie Moulin Rouge!.


As a language learner, girlfriend probably know that the often simpler to memorize things when they’re in tune form, and also that’s what seems to have happened here: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? is sung come a really catchy song that sticks in your head, in one era when music has actually gone global. It to be bound to come to be famous.

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

Let’s break it down: Voulez-vous is the inverted kind of Vous voulez – the is, “Do you want?” This is complied with by coucher – “to sleep”, climate avec moi – “with me”, and to end up it off, ce soir – “this evening/tonight”.

If this expression is engraved in her brain, there’s good news: You deserve to use the to aid you psychic the an easy structure of turning back 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 second verb (in the infinitive) (in this case, coucher

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

Try it with any type of question you like. For example, this is a inquiry I questioning in order to gauge just what sort of human I’m talk to: Aimez-vous les chats ou les chiens? (Do you prefer cats or dogs?). 

Here’s one more question, this time through a 2nd verb: Veux-tu aller à la plage demain ? (Do you want to go to the coast tomorrow?)

*
Veux-tu aller à la plage demain ?

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

The reason for this phrase’s popularity, and also its structure, do a lot of sense, right? Well, currently I’m going come blow your mind: A native French speak would most likely never speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”!

That’s because, although it’s grammatically correct, the usage of vous, the formal form of “you”, with an invite to together an intimate act is jarring to most French people. If a French person were forward sufficient to ask you to sleep v them outright, even if castle didn’t recognize you well, they would usage the not blocked tu.

If you’ve ever been struggle on in France, you’ve probably found this already. 

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

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

It doesn’t seem likely, because other writers seem to have actually heard it, together well. This is wherein it it s okay interesting. 

John Dos Passos and also E.E. Cummings were two free-spirited authors who invested time in Paris in an era wherein maisons closes (brothels) and also prostitution to be legal and relatively common. This provides me wonder if the phrase is something that they heard prostitute say, one of two people to attend to the crowd of passersby (don’t forget that vous can additionally signify many people) or merely to include a note of politeness/professionalism to the forward question. 

I’m no the just one who’s wondered around this. And also in Cummings’ poem “Little Ladies”, the phrase is talked by a French prostitute (or, in ~ least, the speaker’s memory of one). So it seems prefer this theory is more than likely correct.

So, what perform I say if I desire a French person to sleep with me?

Prostitution is tho legal in France today, back maisons closes room not, as result of a law that forbids pimping. If you to speak “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” to a French prostitute today, they probably won’t bat one eye – service is business. Yet they won’t ever say this come you.

As because that the basic population, don’t think the stereotypes. French world are no super-sexual beings that declare their passions and also desires without any kind of dead or restraint.

The French may be a bit an ext open about details things, but it’s still considered incredibly forward and also rude to walk approximately someone and ask them to sleep v you, specifically if you’ve never met lock before. 

Don’t let being in a foreign country make you totally lose your sense of respect. And if friend do, don’t issue – at the very least, the person you approached will disregard you; at worst, you’ll obtain slapped or maybe also beaten up. And then, there’s the law. In 2018, catcalling and other kinds of street harassment ended up being a crime in France. Speak something crude to someone and also you’ll acquire hit through a 70 euro well the first time, then a 3000 euro well the next.

So even if you mad with desire for someone in France, shot to act normal. It is in polite and also non-threatening. Market to buy castle a drink and get to understand them. And also of course, be ready for rejection even if she on your finest behavior. Contrary to what pop society often shows, French people don’t just sleep through anyone they meet.

It’s essential to say every one of this, yet I haven’t yes, really answered the question, have I? What if you in a situation where you deserve to reasonably think the human being you’re talk to could be interested in acquiring it ~ above (to reference another 70’s music hit) v you? How deserve to you asking if castle up because that it?

So lot depends on context and on her relationship. Flirting is one art, and so is communication. And of course, when it concerns physical things, it frequently just…happens, without lot planning in advance.

That said, this article gives two examples of the actual method Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? would be claimed in France today: Veux-tu coucher avec moi ce soir? and also Tu together envie de coucher avec moi ce soir ?

As the author of the short article points out, the an initial example still feels a bit formal, since inverted concerns in spoken French often tend to have that connotation. So, the 2nd example works better. I specifically like it because it consists of envie, which is frequently used come express bold sex-related desire — J’ai envie de toi, for example, means “I want you.”

That said, both of these phrases additionally have a slight, sour keep in mind to me, together they probably do for millions of other civilization who’ve to be approached or harassed in France. There room times once you can be sit in a park, reading a publication or checking your phone and wearing clothing that certainly don’t accumulate the phrase “Oh là là, ” and yet, the end of nowhere, who will approach you. They might be French, or they might be someone from an additional country who assumes that you’re “easy” since you’re French (or, at least, a seemingly available person in France).

Whether you look like Alain Delon or Brigitte Bardot in their heyday or a sketchy separation, personal, instance from the streets, top up to people who perform this: that is not attractive. It in reality comes off as desperate, shallow (at the very least chat me up a bit and also pretend to choose me!), and also even threatening.

So, come recap: If you to be planning to go to France and also ask every attractive person you watch to sleep v you, no, that is not common in France to ask someone you don’t recognize or barely know to sleep through you.

If you’re in a partnership with someone, top top the various other hand, or you guys are in hefty flirtation mode and have to be seeing each various other for a while, you could say “J’ai très envie de faire l’amour avec toi” (I really want to make love to you/I really desire you.). 

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

When it comes to getting a French human to sleep through you, use your language skills in a various way. Find out to do conversation, asking questions, give the occasional compliment. Things should proceed naturally from there.

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