|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
"You know America was founded by prudes. Prudes who left Europe because they hated all the kinky, steamy European sex that was going on."—Cooper, Eurotrip
In works produced outside Europe, Europeans are often depicted as more sexually free and straightforward than anything else on the planet. The sexually liberal European is typically contrasted with a more inhibited American, or with some other non-European character, who has trouble dealing with her libertine ways. Since this is usually Played for Laughs, the European character tends to be female, as having a woman act this way is considered more outrageous, and therefore more humorous. Men acting in a sexually straightforward manner is considered either normal, or at least not particularly funny. A stereotypical example of this trope is the blonde Swedish nymphomaniac (who occasionally appears in works from Europe as well), though other European nationalities can also be used. The only exception seems to be Britain, and to a lesser extent Ireland: British people are commonly portrayed as more repressed than Americans, while the Irish are considered too intensely Catholic for sex.
As a narrative trope, Europeans Are Kinky has been around since the 1960s. Earlier examples are rare, at least in mainstream audio-visual media, since before that decade cinema (excluding porn) and TV didn't address sexuality with the level of candidness the trope requires. In the 1960s, the Swedish movies I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) and Language of Love (1969) were among the first films with explicit sex scenes to get a wide international distribution, thus contributing to the stereotypical image of the "kinky Swede". Even earlier, the French film The Lovers (1958), which includes a short (and not particularly explicit) sex scene, was the subject of a famous American court case. A screening of this film in Ohio resulted in the theater manager being convicted for public depiction of obscene material. The manager appealed, and the Supreme Court eventually overruled the conviction, stating that the movie was not pornography, and therefore not obscene. Even though movies like these helped establish the image of the sexually straightforward European in the US, they are not examples of this trope as such. Europeans Are Kinky doesn't usually appear in works produced in Europe itself, as a vital part of the trope is that the European character is seen from an outside perspective as an exotic Other.
The kinky European is rarely seen in negative light. If she is a minor character, she's usually presented as a sex object to the protagonist, often with added Fan Service. If she is given more characterization, she tends to be an Ethical Slut. This trope can overlap with Innocent Fanservice Girl, if the supposed kinkiness of the European character is explained by her culture simply not having the same sort of inhibitions that the culture she is contrasted with has. This can be Truth in Television, as in many European countries nudity and sexuality are indeed considered less of a taboo than in the United States, making them look more "kinky" in the eyes of Americans.
There may also be partial Truth in Television to the general "kinkiness" of Europeans: in a study published in 2005, citizens of 48 different different countries across the world were asked about their attitudes towards multiple sex partners and casual sex. When these countries were put in order based of how promiscuous they are, 13 of the top 20 countries were in Europe, whereas the US placed 22nd. However, 11 European countries also placed lower than the US. Most of these were Catholic countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal, whereas the European countries in the top 20 were mostly former Eastern Bloc states and Protestant countries. A more truthful way of formulating this trope would therefore be "non-Catholic Europeans are kinkier than most other nationalites", but fiction rarely deals with these things with such a level of nuance. Of course, this lack of nuance might be attributed to ancient Latin Lover trope--which covers the aforementioned Catholic countries.
Anime & Manga
- Neena Canberra in Slut Girl. Bonus points for being French.
- Most of the countries in Axis Powers Hetalia are European, and the author plays on European-kinkiness a lot. There was even a strip where mostly-European countries were arguing over who invented the condom and was therefore most perverted.
- In Justice League International, Crimson Fox is always trying to seduce Captain Atom. He replies with the "American military are stoic" trope.
- The Czech exchange student Nadia in American Pie.
- In Batman Begins, part of Bruce Wayne's Millionaire Playboy cover is a couple of women he carts around to generate the right sort of attention. When they basically strip down in the middle of an upscale restaurant and start bathing in a fountain, he excuses their behavior to an outraged maitre'd with "They're European" and a shrug.
- Bitter Moon: Averted with Nigel and Fiona, but certainly not with Mimi.
- Lili von Schtupp in Blazing Saddles.
- There's a Swedish woman with no nudity taboo in Cashback.
- Several characters in Eurotrip.
- This trope is at least as old as 1965, when it forms one of the themes of the Bob Hope movie, I'll Take Sweden.
- Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie with Areola, the foreign exchange student who is constantly nude.
- The Swedish blonde Ulla in both the original movie and the musical remake of The Producers is a prime example of this trope.
- The German couple in Super Troopers.
- Ramathorn and his girlfriend are on about the same level as Germans. They're perfectly fine with having a foursome with carjackers.
- Naval Cadets series played this both ways at once, when a French man had funny ideas about the Russian bath (see below). He learned what it really is about, but barely survived the experience full of steam and broom.
- Referenced in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. After Tom Sawyer sees Mina Harker bite a man's throat open, he sardonically notes, "They told me European women had funny ways."
- Even though Mina is British and normally fits the aversion.
- Everything Is Illuminated: One of the deleted scenes from the movie showcases Alex's sexual prowess.
- In Summer School, the cast of high school students have gone to the beach together and Italian exchange student Anna-Maria starts to take off her bikini top. To the disappointment of the male students, one of the other girls stops Anna-Maria and tells her "this ain't the Riviera."
- The Divide by Nicholas Evans makes a passing reference to a "voluptuous Swede called Ulrika" who took her clothes off during a New-Agey dance class and literally gave a guy a heart attack.
- Confessions of Georgia Nicolson gives us Scandinavian Sven, a Rare Male Example. He and his girlfriend Rosie get the furthest through the snogging scale and his outrageous antics are often hilariously sexual, up to and including kissing strange men on the lips and dancing on tables in furry shorts. Since they started dating, Rosie now carries a false beard and a pipe around at all times. Actually, this is more a case of Mainland Europeans Are Outrageous, given that the series is set in Great Britain.
- The D'Angelines from Kushiel's Legacy are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the French. They're all incredibly beautiful and base their culture around Eternal Sexual Freedom.
Live Action TV
- Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Mac and Charlie Die" is heavy on this trope. Dennis finds a new roommate from Europe. The man quickly manages to fill the entire place with sexy kinky ladies willing to do anything. Though Dennis draws the line when his roommate tries to trick Dennis into having a tryst with his own father in a glory hole.
- Lampshaded in an episode of Son of the Beach, where the word "European" is used as a stand in for "gay". It Makes Sense in Context.
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will and Carlton attempt to impress a pair of French girls. The episode was filled to the brim with jokes about how promiscuous and "easy" French women were.
- Mad Men: In "The Jet Set", Don Draper falls in with a bunch of Europeans while on a business trip to California. The most bizarre moment occurs when Don is lying in bed with his conquest of the week, only for her father to walk in and make suggestive comments about Don - to which the daughter responds "Papa, ne touchez pas."
- Party Down: Ron is approached by a European porno producer.
- Work of Art: The Next Great Artist: In season 2, the Parisian-raised contestant Ugo talks about how women have inspired his art in a Confession Cam segment. Then he stops himself and mutters, "The French guy talking about women. Goddamnit."
- Pretty much the entire point of Eurotrash.
- WWE's Aksana practically exists to spout innuendo, and happens to be from Eastern Europe, playing up to the stereotype completely.
- A Zig Zagged trope on Metalocalypse. Out of the two European members of Dethklok, Skwisgaar (Swedish) is easily the most promiscuous and kinky, but Toki (Norwegian) is by far the least sexually active on account of his extreme childishness.
- In the movie version of South Park there's the porn film starring Cartman's Mum and some Germans that the kids find on the internet.
- Not just any porn film, but something called "German Scheißeporn" which translates to... well, German shit-porn. Parodying Germany's reputation as the land of dirty porn.
- Archer has several characters that fit:
- Konrad Schlotz, a German Chubby Chaser hot for Pam
- His 16-year-old daughter, Anka, appears to be a nymphomaniac. It's a front.
- Inverted in The Onion article: "Point-Counterpoint: European Men Are So Much More Romantic Than American Men vs. American Women Studying In Europe Are Unbelievably Easy"
- The origin of the old aphorism "Paris in the bedroom, Boston in the parlor." Playing on this trope and New England's puritan roots.