Some Like it Hot

Marilyn Monroe May Have Swung Both Ways, Says Bio

A new biography of Marilyn Monroe sheds new light on the starlet’s bedroom habits: In Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox, author Lois W. Banner writes that Monroe “desired women, had affairs with them, and worried that she might be lesbian by nature.”

In an excerpt published in the Guardian, Banner, a “feminist biographer” and gender-studies professor at the University of Southern California, writes that Monroe’s sexual identity was one of the questions that formed an inner monologue of unsureness and insecurity:

“How could she be the world’s heterosexual sex goddess and desire women? How could she have the world’s most perfect body on the outside and have such internal imperfections? Why was she unable to bear a child? The adult Marilyn was haunted by these questions.”

Banner goes on to hypothesize that the hypersexual Monroe might have been “a precursor of 1960s feminism,” citing her sexual freedom, her strides in the film industry and the fact that she spoke out about being sexually abused as a child. “She certainly took actions that could be called feminist,” writes Banner.

Word is still out on whether Monroe also had a secret collection of Birkenstocks in her closet.

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  • ChrisC

    It’s pretty much been basic knowledge for ages that she was bisexual, or at least strongly bi-leaning. She was also a supporter of The Gays! I love her.

  • Um....

    @ChrisC: Umm, if she was bi herself, why are we praising her for being a supporter of a group she was part of?

    Also, why is anyone suprised by this? A Hollywood star being bi or gay is not suprising. It’s a dime a dozen in Hollywood.

  • ChrisC

    @Um….: Because instead of denying it or compensating by being a giant phobe’ she instead embraced us, and possibly her community. Very special considering the times she lived in.

  • Analog

    Is there no one left that hasn’t been snatched by the groping rapiers of the so-called gay community???
    First Rock Hudson and now Marilyn.
    I suppose Cary Grant and James Dean were bumders too!?
    I’m appalled.
    Disgusted and appalled…

  • DrewSF

    This is OLD News, she was bisexual just like Cary Grant was.

  • SteveC

    I’ve heard rumours that Joan Crawford seduced Marilyn at some point in the late 1940’s and that she wanted to have a relationship with her, but that Marilyn was not interested.

    Perhaps Marilyn was bi, but unlike Cary Grant or Rock Hudson the rumour is based on speculation and has not been verified. And seeing as she’s been dead for 50 years it’s going to remain that way (or until the CIA releases the files they kept on her, for sleeping with the Kennedy brothers.)

  • Red Meat

    Oh right, turn everyone gay seams to be the favorite pass time for gays these days. Monroe loved the penis too much and had many man lovers. This is so false.

  • scrufff

    This is old news. In her later years, MM supposedly had an on going affair with her much hated acting coach Natasha Lytess.

  • Geri

    @Um….: In California in the 1950s when Marilyn was a star it was actually illegal to be bisexual or gay. For women as well as men.

    Although that doesn’t seem to have stopped about half of Hollywood being bisexual or gay back in the day.

    However, I think at least some of the rumours about Monroe’s bisexual behaviour are very exaggerated or just completely baseless in fact. For example, when Bridget Bardot wrote in her memoirs that Marilyn seduced her in a ladies room in 1952, I think she just meant they met briefly in the ladies room and she was captivated by Marilyn’s beauty. Not that they actually spontaneously started making out. Bardot really didn’t say that she and Marilyn had a fling.

  • Geri

    @Red Meat: Tallulah Bankhead “loved the penis too much” too. But there is absolutely no disputing that she had numerous affairs with women as well as men. She was remarkably open about it for her time.

  • chris

    @Geri: Yeah cause that’s what the word ‘seduced’ has always meant. /eyeroll

  • chris

    Its well documented that Marilyn was bi. And, really, is it such a stretch? Next.

  • Geri

    @chris: Bardot is French. Things can get a bit muddled in translation. I doubt that Bardot is bi, although she did have relationships with several bi men.

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