[Insert joke about "Oval Office" here — Ed.]
If there was one message to take away from Michelle Obama's impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention, it's this: the Obamas are having sex. The couple's genuine affection for one another is a rare sight in the political realm, which tends not to place a premium on spousal tenderness. Inspired by a First Couple who know how to keep economic woes and military conflicts out of the bedroom, we decided to consult Nerve's crack team of historians to explore the most intimate and not-so-intimate love lives of a few of our former presidents. Were our last five presidents having marital sex in the White House? Let's totally speculatively find out.
1. George W. Bush and Laura Bush
While it's hard to say how sincere he ever was about it, Dubya's religious bent probably entailed an adherence to strictly procreational missionary sex. Which is a shame, considering Laura's experience as a schoolteacher and librarian fulfills two classic occupational erotic fantasies. But kinky role-playing probably wasn't too high a priority for Laura, who we imagine had to devote most of her energy to civilizing a husband still stuck in his frat-boy days. George frequently cites his wife as the reason he stopped drinking, and she's widely regarded as the stabilizing force in his life, which are both things that don't exactly scream "wild sex life." Also, in a 2011 interview, Bush noted that the pair "spend less time with each other now than we did during the presidency," and though Dubya did set a record for vacation time taken during time in Office, that's probably not a great sign about their sex life.
Sex Prognosis: Tepid
2. Bill and Hillary Clinton
It takes a concentrated effort not to turn anything written about Bill Clinton's sex life into one long joke. So we're going to go ahead and assume the Clinton bedroom was not a very active environment. The former President's extracurricular activities were fodder for national scandals and a lot of "trouble in bed" Washington gossip, and while Hillary has been an awfully good sport about having their marital troubles aired out in front of the entire free world, we can't help but doubt that poise and grace extends to the bedroom. Maybe now that he's lost some weight, though…
Sex Prognosis: Tundra-esque
3. George H.W. and Barbara Bush
Six kids and a sixty-five-year marriage — the longest in presidential history — suggest a healthy sex life for the elder Bushes. While the two seem like they came out of the womb as fully-formed senior citizens, and Barbara's sensibilities were delicate enough that she blamed The Simpsons for American society's moral decay, the two have had a great marriage by all accounts. Of her first meeting with George, Barbara said, "I thought he was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on. I couldn't even breathe when he was in the room," which… doesn't seem like a thing anyone would say ever, but whatever trips your trigger, Barb. Also, she was once quoted as saying, "I don't fool around in George Bush's office, and he doesn't fool around with my household," which almost sounds like an intimation of a little sub-dom play if you think about it hard enough. Not that you ever should, though.
Sex Prognosis: Turgid
Next: They didn't call him "Tricky Dick" without reason…
4. Ronald and Nancy Reagan
This is going to come as a bit of a shock, but Ronald Reagan was kind of a freak. Not only was he quite the swinger in the early days, but he's the only U.S. president to have been divorced, and Nancy was pregnant when the two got hitched. (And was allegedly a little freaky herself.) That said, once settled into domesticity, Ronnie settled hard. While it'd be easy to write off the marriage of the man many Republicans regard as the physical manifestation of their party as a sexless wasteland, Ronald and Nancy Reagan were known for their mutual devotion. The two were constantly seen holding hands and regularly wrote love letters to one another. When Reagan was hospitalized after his attempted assassination, Nancy slept with one of the president's shirts to be comforted by his scent. And if that doesn't convince you, Reagan called his wife "Mommy." That should be all the evidence anyone needs of some freaky stuff going on in the White House.
Sex Prognosis: Old-timey but regular
5. Richard and Pat Nixon
The relationship between Richard and Pat Nixon had a bit of a King Kong vibe going on. He was a loveless beast with monstrous jowls who loved her unconditionally. She was the embodiment of feminine beauty capable of bringing out the human emotion in him. And, like the monster gorilla before him, he too forced his woman into terrified submission by using her to sate his own primal desires. Despite being publicly fond of the wife he referred to as his "wild Irish gypsy," Nixon's political aspirations took precedent over his marriage. His priorities were a constant source of friction between the two. White House help allegedly once heard Pat tell Richard, "You have ruined my life." Marriage counselors everywhere agree: "You have ruined my life" = no sex.
Sex Prognosis: Like that part in Terminator 2 when the T-1000 gets frozen by liquid nitrogen
6. John and Jackie Kennedy
Here's a fun little experiment: type "JFK and" into Google and look at the first suggested search term. Is it "JFK and Jackie 4 Eva?" Is it "JFK and his unwavering commitment to his wife?" Is it "JFK and the sterling example he set for monogamists everywhere?" No, it's "JFK and Marilyn Monroe," only the most famous of Kennedy's many (and it is impossible to stress "many" too much) rumored extramarital affairs. It's common knowledge that he and Jackie had healthy sex lives, but whether or not they were with each other is another story. Man can not live off of pillbox hats alone.
Sex Prognosis: Nuclear… with other people
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