• Maïa Mazaurette presents

    What women want

     this Tuesday at 9:15 p.m. on TMC.

  • On the occasion of International Women's Rights Day, the author and columnist addressed the issue of female desire.

  • "We can clearly see that with the question of desire, there is also an initial refusal to take these subjects seriously and to really dig into them", she explains in particular to

    20 Minutes


The “mysteries” of feminine desire.

A vast question that Maïa Mazaurette has decided to tackle.

This Tuesday evening, International Women's Rights Day obliges, the author and columnist "sexpert" of


life , presents her investigation on

What women want

broadcast at 9:15 p.m. on TMC.

To understand this desire and above all to put an end to sexist clichés, she went to meet women with varied profiles in order to collect their experiences and their feelings.

Together they address the issue of fantasy, masturbation, but also mental burden and harassment.

Maïa Mazaurette has also turned to science to discover where desire lies in our bodies and in our heads, thus lending itself to a first in France.

20 Minutes

interviewed her.

Why did you focus on female desire for this International Women's Rights Day?

Because it's a very political subject.

I know that as soon as we talk about sexuality, there is always the question of legitimacy that arises, of knowing if these are noble enough subjects for journalism, for politics... For me it is very logical to broadcast this documentary today, in particular because since the #MeToo movement, we can clearly see that the question of female desire, or the absence of desire, is completely linked to women's rights.

The desire is to face two big questions: that of being able to say no but also that of being able to say yes.

What remains a little complicated is that even in 2022 this desire is not always welcome, well received and it can be very harshly judged by men.

Is it a symbolically strong and crucial subject in the feminist struggle?

I actually have the impression that we've gone a bit from the question of pleasure – the clitoris 10-12 years ago – to the question of desire.

Not only with this documentary but also with the books of Manon Garcia, Camille Froideveaux-Metterie, it's a collective effort.

I also give the floor to people like Victoire Tuaillon or Belinda Canonne who work on these issues.

It's always interesting to see how a question that we didn't ask ourselves, or so to deplore with shots of clichés, has become something very important.

And it's not over.

In the latest Ipsos survey published last month for the Traumatic Memory and Victimology Association, we can clearly see that 21% of French people still think that in bed women “know much less what they want than men”.

That would therefore mean that they would not be aware of their desire.

But when you start to internalize these kinds of ideas, then why worry about their consent if they don't know what they want?

The idea of ​​this program was in particular to break the clichés on the subject?

I really wanted to do something about stereotypes related to female desire.

The typical clichés will be: the desire of men and that of women are radically different, women are not visual, female desire is necessarily soft, women need to be in love to feel desire... We could really do a whole list of those things that we learned, and in particular my generation that was infused with 

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus


And then also, and this is very important, there is the refusal to think about the object of desire.

In my career as a journalist – long before documentaries – when I tackled these questions, I was often told that it was useless to think about them because everyone was different.

Or else, because everyone did what they wanted, which wasn't true either.

We can clearly see that with the question of desire, there is also an initial refusal to take these subjects seriously and to really explore them.

And I'm interested in us thinking about precisely these subjects which we consider to be unimportant or unthinkable.

Is feminine desire still a mystery AND a taboo?

A mystery because of this nebulous side of which I have just spoken, and a taboo despite everything because we see the persistence of sexist stereotypes which persist.

In this Ipsos survey, we see that it is among 18-24 year olds that these gender stereotypes are the strongest.

How do these reflexes continue to be propagated?

The explanation I give to that, I don't know if it's the right one, is that when we start our romantic and sexual life we ​​need to be very reassured.

Everything is very dangerous and makes us vulnerable so we need to relate to certainties.

We will look for them in our cultural and historical references, from fairy tales to pornography, and we can see that these representations are really struggling to reinvent themselves.

The taboo whose fall we are sold generation after generation,

he is still there with a frustratingly resilient force.

I am someone who wants to act.

The adversary is full of persistence, but so am I!

There are plenty of things to invent.

Sometimes we have the impression that we will remain in a kind of incommunicability between men and women.

I have the impression that we will get there and that as long as we talk about it, we are going in the right direction.

Precisely, this documentary is aimed at both women and men?

Yes !

The documentary is not just for women, although obviously they will learn a lot of stuff like I learned.

I would like people to watch it as a couple.

I don't know if it's going to cause arguments on arrival or not, but it would be interesting for people - and maybe even more for heterosexual couples -, that they watch it together and that they can discuss it after.

This may be an opportunity to open up conversations that have not previously taken place and also bring things back into focus.

Was it easy to find women who agreed to talk freely about sexuality in front of the camera?

To my surprise, yes!

As it was I who called for witnesses and I have been doing this for a long time, I think that the women who came forward knew very well that they would not be judged.

We noted a militant discourse among many of them, of all ages, but even more evident among young women.

With this idea of ​​telling ourselves that we are fed up with others speaking in our place.

It's nice and it means that here again there is something that is changing and jostling.

Same, when I arrive at the sadomasochistic evening, I thought that with two cameras and a soundman, we were going to be thrown out, that no one would want to be on screen.

And we were very well received!

There is a great diversity of age, origins or even sexual orientations among the women you met, was it very important to better address this issue?

Of course, and without that I think the documentary wouldn't hold water.

If it was to hear 30-year-old straight white women talk to us about their sexuality, it wasn't worth it.

I'm delighted that we were able, without really having to dig deeper than that, to spontaneously find women from absolutely all walks of life who wanted to testify.

It's also a concern for intersectionality and making sure that the floor can also concern things like pregnancy or menopause, that's important.

And then we can also see the passage of generations.

Our 50-year-old mother is super fun and really funny!

In people's minds, the image of a mother is always the housewife under 50… I think that puts the record straight a bit.

You give of yourself by participating in a scientific experiment to observe which areas of the brain are activated during an erotic impulse.

It is specified that this is the first experience of this type in France on female desire.

Really ?


We discussed it quite a bit with Guillaume Sescousse, the neuroscience researcher who was our interlocutor.

He told us that when he started his career, for example, these were questions that did not arise.

Now of course these people read the press and wonder how these studies were conducted on cohorts of men and absolutely not on women.

While men keep asking themselves the question of female desire, that they weren't simply seeing in the brain, it's mind-blowing info yes.

But that's changing and the neuroscience researcher said he was really interested in being able to repeat this experience with lots of women!


Sex, columnist Maïa Mazaurette and us in our podcast


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