No sex, please, we're French

It used to be the British who were considered the world's dunces of sex. Now everyone is picking up our bad habits. John Lichfield, Paris correspondent, reports on the globalisation of sexual ineptitude

The facts of life: consummation

You can tell if a woman is having good sex by the way she walks. Scientists had a success rate of over 80 per cent in identifying women who normally have orgasms and those who don't, by observing them walk for a few hundred metres. Those who are more satisfied have a more "free and sensual" gait.

Questionnaire: Are you sexually confident?

For most of us, consummation is the peak of pleasure and devoutly to be wished. But many new lovers are anxious they won't measure up to their partner's expectations. The worst cases of non-consummation end up in court because, to this day, no marriage remains complete without full sexual intercourse. Consummation's older meaning surrendering virginity on your wedding night has effectively disappeared because "first sex in British marriage is now practically unknown" according to the 1994 Wellcome Survey. But what about your own consummation concerns? Opening night nerves are entirely natural, but are you in danger of letting them get the best of you? Tick your two likeliest answers to each question.

Could sex save your life?

Making love doesn't just help you feel good. It also burns calories, boosts your immune system – and can even reduce the risk of cancer