MRS. JACQUELINE KENNEDY would out her husband in one infamous quote that made it into the light of day in Sally Bedell Smith’s dishy book about the Kennedys, Grace and Power. Mrs. Kennedy is quoted as saying “he just goes too fast and falls asleep.” That was still men as the 1950s era began washing out, the last thing many males were interested in was if the women they were screwing got off.
As John F. Kennedy came into the White House and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy prepared to make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the showcase of the world, this quaint, unequal sexual status quo had already begun to crumble.
The full release for modern women came to be known as K-Day, August 20, 1953. More than sixty reports in publications such as Life, Time, Newsweek, Modern Bride, Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, Redbook and U.S. News & World Report, according to the Kinsey Institute website, teased Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s upcoming landmark book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, that offered excerpts of Kinsey’s research. The revelations would change the conversation about sex forever.
It was Kinsey who revealed through meticulous research that women were sexual beings, capable of orgasm and all sorts of libidinous thoughts, which started a lot younger than anyone wanted to think about. Seven years before the Pill, his book primed the public consciousness for the inevitable overturning of American social norms that would being in the 1960s, but still hasn’t finished.
So long, Sigmund, and take your penis envy with you.
Dr. Freud’s weirdly Hitchcockian and ultimately tortured analysis of women’s orgasm revolved around clitoral stimulation judged as immature pleasure, while vaginal intercourse was far superior. Of course, Freud never had any proof, mainly because a whopping 75% of women have been proving him wrong since he belched his beliefs on female pleasure.
The news Kinsey broke collided with the way men and women were living in an era where testosterone ruled. Women didn’t yet complain, because females still believed what they’d been taught, accepting what would never make them happy, while secretly harboring fantasies of what would soon be out in the open.
Frank Sinatra would get the OscarÂ© for Best Actor for “The Man with the Golden Arm” in 1955, two years after he got a Best Supporting OscarÂ© for playing Maggio in “From Here to Eternity.” Frank would become part of the carousing Hollywood bad boys that John F. Kennedy slummed with, then his doormat. Jack’s brother in law, Peter Lawford, the conduit to the affair that rocked the world, and also worried Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy the most.
Marilyn Monroe was in the building and she never left quietly.
Hugh Hefner had graced the first cover of Playboy with Marilyn Monroe, when he became “Kinsey’s pamphleteer,” as Hef put.
Blasting off, 1960 and “Ocean’s 11,” Frank and “High Hopes,” that ended with a thud and an assassination that so shocked a country it blew American culture apart. The myth of Camelot was born, no one ever paying attention that Guinivere actually falls in love with Lancelot, emasculating King Arthur, who is an impotent man in love with a woman bedding his dashing lead knight. Not sure what Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy was thinking, because that’s obviously not was playing in her head.
Could it be that John F. Kennedy really did believe his whole persona was just as he said in France, “I do not think it altogether inappropriate for me to introduce myself. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” He would feel the same way the day he met destiny in Dallas, when Texans were swooning over Mrs. Kennedy, in her famous pink Chanel suit, as ladies everywhere in the Lone Star state came fresh from their hairdressers with “Jackie dos.”
What Alfred Kinsey had unleashed on the American male would be the beginning of the sexual revolution over a decade later, made golden through the St. Louis sex researchers, Dr. Masters and Virginia Johnson, who quantified Kinsey’s observations in their Washington University laboratory, wiping Freud’s sexual hangups out.
Dr. Masters was the pedigree and reputation behind the legendary sex studies team, but it was Virginia Johnson who became the engine and outreach that attracted women who were curious, giving them courage to take their clothes off and reveal themselves completely. Women had never dared be so free, as they experienced and told things to Masters and Johnson, spilling what they were and were not experiencing with their husbands. Betraying the American code for proper women.
It was a time on the cusp of Betty Friedan breaking wide the secret angst of the American housewife, The Feminine Mystique published in February 1963, the same fateful year the Sexiest Man Alive would leave earth.
President John F. Kennedy was the lead high lord and founding keeper of the cocksman flame that was fueled by booze, revolving babes, and the absence of guilt or cares about the wife who was expected to keep the house and the home and the kids while daddy played.
The media lapped it up, loving being part of the John F. Kennedy frat pack of daddy-os who devoured females in pairs, J.F.K. and Frank’s alleged preference, the names of the girls seldom remembered. While their women looked away and presented a loving front as their men lusted over ladies they were expected to conquer, in a to have and to hold, death do us part, I’ll be faithful forever fantasy, all set against a do-be-do-be sound track.
What could be wrong with the ladies who lunched and brunched, but never bitched, had children and homes, appliances, and wonderful husbands who made it all possible?
“I can see his suntan all the way from here.” [A reporter describing President and Mrs. Kennedy getting off of Air Force One in Dallas, Texas - CNN Documentary, "The Assassination of President Kennedy"]
John F. Kennedy put the politics of sex on the American map, twisted and made it shout. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy punctuated it for everyone watching. It never occurred to anyone she’d have to have THAT conversation with a stud of a man like J.F.K., a renown cocksmen, as the entire Washington and New York press corps knew, as did his wife, because she heard the antics from the pool, saw him flirt with Fiddle and Faddle.
No one cared, least of all the American media who never meddled back then. John F. Kennedy’s appeal was his aura, which began with the animal sexuality seen through that smile, never mind he was held together by anesthetic procaine, for his Addison’s disease, cytomel, for thyroid deficiency, lomitil, metamucil, now there’s a commercial for you, paregoric, phenobarbitol, trasentine, to control his colitis diarrhea, Testosterone, to increase his energy and boost his weight after bouts of colitis, penicillin, for urinary tract flare ups, fluorine, to increase his salt absorption due to Addison’s, cortisone, tuinal, for insomnia — a side effect of the cortisone — antihistamines, for an array of allergies, Codeine, steroids. Oh, and vitamin C and calcium. All revealed through the astounding bravery of Robert Dallek who knew that stripping John F. Kennedy of the myth he himself would have hated didn’t make him a smaller man, though it did make him a lesser god, for which J.F.K. would likely have been grateful.
“I love lobster, but not every night. If I don’t have some strange ass every couple of days, I get migraines,” J.F.K. confessed.
Jackie as lobster. A first lady who skipped out on her duties, a chain smoker addicted to L&Ms, not to mention having seen a shrink to see how she could get Jack to understand her in bed. It wasn’t as if the queen bride was less sexual or sensual than Jack Kennedy, it’s just that women weren’t supposed to show it, feel it, demand it. You’ll be happy to know there is reporting that J.F.K. actually responded to his wife and she was able to confirm for herself that his philandering wasn’t about her. He never thought a whit about being faithful.
Women wanted to be Jacqueline at the very moment Betty Friedan was stripping away the American housewife’s terminal unhappiness that was about to explode a half-century of pent up passion that would at last unleash women from bondage, in every sense.
There’s a scene in the acclaimed Showtime series “Masters of Sex,” when Allison Janney, playing Mrs. Margaret Scully, who is married to the closeted Dr. Scully, played by Beau Bridges, is talking to Dr. Masters and Virginia Johnson, and she realizes that she’s never once had an orgasm before. How can a woman married 30 years not have ever experienced that pleasure?
It was the era when cocksmen were king, and women sat in silence of the affliction that would not be named, “occupation: housewife.” A term coined by Betty Friedan when she unleashed a torrent of criticism against the lives women were expected to lead, which lived off of the propaganda that married women like Mrs. Scully were happily ensconced in powerful wifely positions that made them happy by virtue of position in society, not in what position in bed made them feel pleasure.
There’s something fitting about Chanel No. 5 releasing the new Marilyn Monroe ad now, when we’re all basking in a wave of nostalgia, some getting dragged into the drama of Who Killed Kennedy, as if 50 years later that matters more than the everlasting distrust his murder would eventually engender, pulling the trigger on what had become a building skepticism about a government that had launched Ike’s Bay of Pigs, the great misadventure into Vietnam (later Laos and even Cambodia), then led to Richard M. Nixon, after Martin and Bobby were murdered, too.