Our Most Prurient President?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 14 2012 @ 7:35pm


Caitlin Flanagan swoons in a conflicted sort of way:

JFK was a man whose sexual life remained a central fact of his existence, who did not allow it to be diminished by anything—not his political ambitions, not issues of national security, not his Catholicism, not loyalty to his friends and his male relatives, not physical limitation or pain, not the risk of infecting any of his partners with the venereal disease that regularly plagued him, not fear of impregnating someone, not the potential for personal embarrassment, and certainly, certainly, not his marriage.

John Kennedy, that ravishing creature, could spend a morning riding unbroken horses, bareback, in the Newport sunshine with a very young Jacqueline Bouvier, and he could maneuver a 19-year-old Wheaton sophomore into bed within minutes of encountering her at a cocktail party, could groom her so completely to his liking that she could be goaded into giving a blow job to his friend while he stood and watched. We’re not supposed to like men like that; the ones who put in a boorish performance at it, we loathe. But the ones who can pull it off—God help us.

(Partial view of JFK by Richard Avedon, via James Vaughan)