Kennedy, Sex & Prostitutes

David Rosen
8 min readOct 12, 2020

By David Rosen

While living in Springfield, IL, during 1837–1839, Abraham Lincoln wrote a poem called “On Seduction” that reads in part:

Whatever Spiteful fools may Say / Each jealous, ranting yelper —

No woman ever played the whore / Unless She had a man to help her.

Presidents are among the men who have long been helpers. Their sexual predilections bespeak the sexual culture of the nation.

Before John Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, his numerous sexual affairs were a wink-and-a-nod public secret, widely known but discretely hidden by the White House press corp. After his murder, JFK’s dalliances, both consensual and commercial, became fodder for gossip columnists and others, artfully turned into a celebrity sensation, morphing from scandal into presidential lore.

After Kennedy’s assassination, his sexual liaisons became the stuff of myth. It was revealed that he had affairs with movie stars Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Gene Tierney and Angie Dickinson; Inga Arvad, a Danish journalist; the stripper, Blaze Starr; Gunilla von Post, a Swedish socialite; Judith Exner Campbell, mistress to mob boss Sam Giancana; Mary Pinchot Meyer, wife of a CIA operative; Helen Chavchavadze, a college classmate of Jackie’s sister, Lee Bouviea; Pamela Turnure, Jackie’s press secretary; White House secretaries Priscilla Weir and Jill Cowan, who were fondly referred to as “Fiddle” and “Faddle”; and Mimi Beardsley Alford, a 19-year-old White House intern. (Weir, Cowan and Alford allegedly had a group sex four-some with the commander-in-chief.) The full list of JFK’s consensual sexual engagements will likely never be known. Some claim that Kennedy had an out-of-wedlock “love child,” Jack Worthington II, with Mary Evelyn Bibb Worthington.

Less reporting has focused on JFK’s engagements with sex workers. According to legend, the future president lost his virginity while a 17-year-old student at the elite Choate School in Wallingford, CT, where his older brother, Joe, Jr., had attended. In 1934, Kirk “Lem” Billings, his life-long friend and Choate classmate, accompanied the young Kennedy to a Harlem apartment where they had sex with a white sex worker.

There’s been little reported about Kennedy’s commercial indulgences in the years before he became president. An FBI report of April 17, 1963, “Bowtie,” notes that it is “apparent that [Suzy] Chang, [Mariella] Novotny and [Christine]…

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David Rosen

Writer and media-tech executive who has published four nonfiction books, academic articles and numerous popular pieces. Check out www.DavidRosenWrites.