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It seems the former is used more than the latter.  My notes say:

 

I was really embarrassed.      

J'étais vraiment gêné.  

an embarrassed smile - gêné

I was embarrassed about asking ...      

Ça me gênait de demander ... 

I’ve also seen « j’e’prouve de la gene de demander» to say « i’m embarrassed to ask… »

c’est une histoire embarrassante –

it’s an embarrassing story

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Yes, gêné is easier to use, because smaller.

But embarrassé is used too.

ok, so i'm going to avoid  "j’e’prouve de la gene de demander",  

it's probably more formal.  i'll just use 

Ça me gênait de demander ... 

shorter is better than smaller here. 

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