France's culture minister Frederic Mitterrand is facing calls for his resignation after writing about paying boys for sex during trips abroad.
The revelations were made in a 2005 autobiography, "The Bad Life," and have surfaced after Mitterrand passionately defended filmmaker Roman Polanski.
Polanski is currently facing deportationfrom Switzerland to the United States for raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Politicians from all parties had criticized Mitterrandfor attacking America over the director's arrest.
The far-right National Front added fuel to the fight by highlighting excerpts from Mitterrand's book. The party called for him to step down.
But a senior aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozyhas now defended the culture minister.
"French political debate sometimes takes on a pathetic form. It's excessive and quite undignified," presidential adviser Henri Guaino said on France 2 television.
Asked whether Mitterrand should resign, he said: "When there is a controversy as pathetic as this, with so much delay, I don't think there should be such drastic consequences."
Guaino continued that there were no facts to back up child sex tourism accusations and Mitterrand had not been subject to any legal complaints.
The experiences in the book are presented as a mixture of straight autobiography and more dreamlike reflection.
"I got into the habit of paying for boys," Mitterrand wrote, adding that his attraction to young male prostitutes continued even though he knew "the sordid details of this traffic."
"All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously ... the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire."
Mitterrand is the nephew of former Socialist President Francois Mitterrand and was drafted into Sarkozy's center-right cabinet in June.