Sex life was ‘out of step’: DSK

DOREEN CARVAJAL & MAÏA de la BAUME

More than a year after resigning in disgrace as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is seeking redemption with a new consulting company, the lecture circuit and a uniquely French legal defense to settle a criminal inquiry that exposed his hidden life as a libertine.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 63, is seeking to throw out criminal charges in an inquiry into ties to a prostitution ring in northern France with the legal argument that the authorities are unfairly trying to "criminalise lust."

In France, "Libertinage" has a long history in the culture, dating from a 16th-century religious sect of libertines. But the most perplexing question in the Strauss-Kahn affair is how a career politician with ambition to lead one of Europe's most powerful nations was blinded to the possibility that his zest for sex parties could present a liability, or risk blackmail.

On Thursday, Mr. Strauss-Kahn broke a long silence to acknowledge that perhaps his double life as an unrestrained libertine was a little outré. "I long thought that I could lead my life as I wanted," he said in an interview with the French magazine Le Point.

"And that includes free behaviour between consenting adults. There are numerous parties that exist like this in Paris, and you would be surprised to encounter certain people. I was naïve," Strauss-Kahn said.

"I was too out of step with French society," he added. "I was wrong."

But whether his downfall will have a lasting impact on the culture of sexual privilege and impunity for powerful men in France remains uncertain.

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