Sex lives of 5 historical leaders

1. Louis XIV

There was definitely a weird Oedipal undercurrent to the sex life of Louis XIV. When Louis was hardly in his teens the Duchesse de Chatillion tried to jump him but he was not yet ready. It was the task -or privilege of an older Court lady to sexually initiate him. The woman who finally took his virginity was one of his mother’s most trusted ladies-in-waiting. Known as ‘One-eyed Kate’ she was 24 years his senior and surprised him by jumping him on the way back from the baths. The love of an older lady seems to have interested Louis though because he kept coming back to Kate and later took an interest in Madame de Maintenon.


It seems that she learned the way to his heart – Catholic guilt and not sex. She made it her mission to become Louis’ best friend. Though this definition did  apparently include some sleeping with him. It seems that this marriage, the most enduring of his life, allowed him to recreate his own wilful mother. She must have read Madame Scudery’s map of love which talked of the ‘fast-flowing River of Inclination which led to the sea of danger.’

2. George Washington

George Washington, the first President of the United States, is remembered for his reserved manner, his dignity and poise. Beneath the surface, however, there was a lewd side. All of that mastery of emotions comes at a cost. He was still sending cheeky letters to the wife of his friend and patron, George William Fairfax, when he was engaged to Martha Washington. Later the married couple possessed a copy of ‘conjugal lewdness: or matrimonial whoredom’ by Daniel Defoe and ‘The lover’s watch: or the Art of making love’ by Aphra Behn.


While Washington may had been able to exercise great self-control in the Valley Forge the sexual crept into the other more unusual areas. Said to have ‘relished hearty masculine jokes’ Washington couldn’t help but comment on his breeding of animals. Ron Chernow, his biographer, says that he ‘wrote about their couplings with dry, facetious mirth.’


In his experiments with the breeding of mules he said that the donkey was at first indifferent to ‘female allurements’ and when he finally responded he proceeded with ‘deliberation and solemnity to the work of procreation’.

3. Napoleon Boneparte

Napoleon was a military genius and the Master of Europe but he could not prevent himself from being cuckolded many times over. He may have been one of history’s greatest military leaders but that did not mean he was beyond the need to humiliate nearly every woman he met. When he was fighting decisive campaigns he was unable to prevent himself from becoming the laughing stock of Paris. Letters to his wife Josephine warning her that Napoleon had found out about her affair with Hippolyte Charles found their way into the French press by way of the London Morning Chronicle.


Napoleon also went to great lengths to humiliate Josephine and other women. When Josephine protested that Napoleon should not shoot animals because it was their mating season. Napoleon is said to have publicly remarked that ‘[i]t seems everything is prolific at Malmaison – except Madame.’ He was a pest to Laura Permon, the wife of his general, when he repeatedly tried to seduce her. He kept coming into her bedroom. He would pinch her and getting no response would leave and repeat the process the next night. He even returned and discovering  she had locked her door entered by means of his own private key. When confronted by the woman’s husband Napoleon criticized him for not being elsewhere on orders and changing tack blamed it all on Laura.


Napoleon liked to cut women’s hair and throw ink on their favorite clothes. He once laughingly told a soldier’s wife that  her intuition about her husband was right. He told her that her husband was killed and it had happened when a bomb took off his genitals.When his marital relations with Josephine had all but ceased he would tell her of his mistresses. He described what they were like in bed and even asked her advice on whether he should continue a certain liaison.His pursuit of Countess Marie Walewski was equally dark. After sending other suitors to wintry outposts he is said to have ‘half-raped, half-seduced’ the Polish Countess Marie Walewski. Worryingly on St Helena Napoleon said that she had put up merely token resistance but according to her memoirs she fainted straight away and awoke to find that he had had his way with her.

4. Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler is remembered as one of the 20th Century’s most notorious dictators and evil men. Could it be, however, that the animating force for his genocidal mission came from his extended reaction to getting Syphilis from a Jewish prostitute in Vienna in 1908.His treatment of syphilis in Mein Kampf is astounding. He dedicates 13 pages to it,  describes it as a ‘Jewish disease’ and it being ‘the task of the entire German nation’ to combat it. Following that is a very specific example of an unnamed man contracting syphilis from an ‘individual prostitute.’ This unnamed man (not Hitler. Wink, wink.)‘often runs across the  path of this plague after ample consumption of alcohol, since in this condition he is least able to judge the qualities of his ‘fair one’, a fact which only too well known to the diseased prostitute, and always causes her to angle after men in this ideal condition.’


One of his early girlfriends, Mimi Reiter, described how Hitler use to clench his fists while he tried to kiss her because as she said ‘he didn’t know what to do’. She later tried to hang herself some emotional deprivation by Hitler. Two of his partners tried to killed themselves and another two actually managed to. This included his niece, Geli Raubal, but then that might have been murder. In that sense perhaps he was a ‘ladykiller’.His helpfully creepy butler helpfully noted of Hitler and Eva Braun that they slept apart and, naturally after the war, that he had never, despite careful examination, seen any evidence of any evidence of sexual relations on their bed linen. Their relationship does not seem to have strongly featured sex. It seems controlling his partners, deciding everything they did and suicide were what got him going.

5. Joseph Stalin

There is a chapter in Simon Sebag Montefiore’s biography is appropriately called – ‘1914: Artic Sex Comedy’.When Stalin was exiled to Kureika, a hamlet of  69 peasants living in huts he became involved with a thirteen year old girl Lidia. She became pregnant and had a child but not until after Stalin had abandoned her. This did not please her brothers but was not illegal in the sense that we would think of it today.Fourteen was the technical under Tsarist law, but this was Siberia. Furthermore, there was no precise legal concept of statutory rape in Tsarist law: for the police, it was as much a crime ‘against female honour’ as a violation of her father’s chattels. Stalin’s agreement to marry Lidia rectified the situation.


Stalin’s relationships with women were never the best. Both his father and his mother beat him and this definitely left its mark. When an emotional Stalin asked his mother why she had beaten him so much she said the beatings were the reason that he had turned into the great man he was. He may have been a superbly intelligent political leader who could deal with the political intrigues of the Kremlin sign but he could not emotionally deal with his wife. He hid in the toilet from his wife, Nadya, to avoid her hysterics and depressive moods. He was oppressed by her extreme jealousy of other women and her suicide destroyed him. In later life he settled for a maid-come-wife who didn’t talk very much perhaps to avoid the intensity of other relationships with women that he had had before in his life.


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