A Brief History
On December 10, 1541, Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham were executed by King Henry VIII of England for having sexual affairs with the Queen, Catherine Howard, wife of Henry VIII! You would think common sense would keep anyone from risking their neck just to have sex with a particular person, but over the years, time and again, people let their lust overrule their logical thinking with predictable results. Here we list 10 of those time when people really made poor choices when it comes to love and sex.
1. Catherine Howard marries King Henry VIII, 1540.
Catherine, already a somewhat experienced lover at the age of 16, married the 49 year old King and became Queen of England. After only 16 months as Queen, Catherine was stripped of her crown for having several alleged sexual trysts outside of her royal marriage. Marrying Henry in the first place is not all that bright, considering his displeasure could result in your death, but to then choose to carry on with sexual relations outside of the marriage is downright suicidal! Only 3 months after being dethroned as Queen, Catherine was beheaded for the crime of adultery while married to the King. Dishonorable mention to Anne Boleyn.
2. Thomas Culpeper affair with the Queen, 1540–1541.
By the time Catherine Howard married King Henry VIII, her previous affair with Francis Dereham was almost certainly over. Culpeper was a young relative and friend of the King, as well as being related to Catherine. A courtier, Thomas had regular access to the royal couple. Although there had been many clandestine meetings documented between Thomas and Catherine, actual sexual acts are not necessarily proven, as the meetings may have had political intrigue at their root instead. Still, letters between the two (Thomas and Catherine) certainly seem to imply a sexual and or romantic relationship. For his foolish dalliance with the wife of the King, Culpeper was beheaded.
3. Bill Clinton trusts Monica Lewinsky, 1995.
It could also be said that Ms. Lewinsky also made a bad call to give oral sex to the President while serving as a White House intern, but we put the onus of bad judgement right on Slick Willie himself for this one. Although the Prez had already had a bad reputation for chasing skirts and badgering women about having sexual relations, Clinton was a little cautious when there appeared to be a mutual attraction between the President and the intern. Clinton supposedly asked Monica if he could “trust her,” and worked up to allowing her to fellate him over time. (Expecting someone to keep your sexual activity a secret is incredibly naïve, even stupid, especially if you are in a position of authority, such as teacher or coach, or someone famous.) When questioned about his sexual activities in the White House during a totally unrelated investigation (into real estate fraud), Clinton lied about his relationship with “that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” That lie got him impeached and nearly cost him his presidency. Although any president having extra-marital sex in the White House demonstrates bad judgement, in fairness to Mr. Clinton’s intellect, it must be pointed out, who in the world keeps a dress that has semen on it? Well, apparently some people do, so there you go…
4. Anthony Weiner, 2nd and 3rd Round of Sexting, 2011-2016.
Married to a beautiful woman and enjoying high profile influence as a member of Congress, Weiner lived up to his name by engaging in sexting pictures of himself to women, a bad choice that cost him his reputation and his seat in Congress. Not long after his humiliating ejection from the House of Representatives, Weiner decided to run for mayor of New York City in 2013, but failed miserably when he could not refrain from further sexting, costing him any chance of rehabilitation with the voters, and damaging his marriage. Then, Weiner took things up a few notches by engaging in sexting with an underage girl, a poor choice that got him convicted of crimes and sentenced in 2017 to 21 months in prison for crimes including child pornography. His marriage also ended in 2017.
5. Eva Braun infatuation with Adolf Hitler, 1931-1945.
Eva met the captivating, rising star of German politics just as Hitler was ascending to power. Entranced with Adolf, just as much of the German population was, Braun maintained a clandestine romantic affair with perhaps the most evil dictator in modern history over the years all the way until 1945, when, in the ashes of the Third Reich, Hitler finally agreed to marry his long suffering mistress, a marriage that lasted 40 hours until their mutual suicides. Hitler had kept his relationship with Braun a secret to keep up the illusion that he was “married” to the German people and could not give up any part of himself to personal pleasure, so dedicated was he. (Similar to the Catholic Church’s prohibition on priests marrying.) Braun’s love blindness cost her a life in the shadows and eventually death.
6. Charlie Sheen, anyone who dated, loved or had sex with him, 1990-2015.
Born Carlos Irwin Estevez, Sheen became the highest paid television performer ever, earning well over a million dollars per episode of Two and a Half Men. In 1990 he accidentally shot his fiancé, super beautiful actress Kelly Preston. Their engagement did not last. In 1995 he married actress Donna Peele, who divorced him soon after he was named as a client of the Heidi Fleiss prostitution ring. He married uber beauty actress Denise Richards in 2002, and was divorced in 2006 among allegations of Sheen’s abuse of alcohol and drugs as well as threats of domestic violence. Still, Sheen continued to attract the ladies, including prostitutes and female porn actresses. Brooke Mueller, actress and real estate investor made the blunder of marrying Sheen in 2008, and divorced him in 2011. Around that time, Sheen had been dismissed from his fantastically rich gig on television for having demanded a 50% pay increase and incredibly erratic behavior. Mueller claimed Sheen was “insane,” and to the public, it appeared that way! Relationships with prostitutes and adult film stars continued, with Sheen publicly crowing about the relationships, until 2015 when it was revealed Charlie was HIV positive. In 2016 Sheen was under investigation for stalking another ex-fiancé.
7. Hulk Hogan decides to make love to the wife of Bubba the Love Sponge, 2012.
Terry Bollea, better known by his pro-wrestling name of Hulk Hogan, had already been through a rough divorce in 2007 when he retained a paltry 30% of his fortune, when he was the object of a sex sting in 2012. His so called “friend,” Todd Clem, known by his radio name “Bubba the Love Sponge,” convinced Hogan to have sex with Heather Clem, the estranged wife of Bubba. Turns out Bubba and Heather were setting up Hogan for an extortion plot, filming the sexual encounter and concurrent conversation. When Hogan did not give in to blackmail, Clem sold the video to the internet tabloid Gawker, who in turn published the embarrassing video. Hogan sued the Clems for invasion of privacy and then also sued Gawker, winning a $115 million settlement in 2016. Gawker ended up paying Bollea/Hogan a settlement of $31 million, so perhaps the incident Hogan called “a very bad choice” was not so bad after all! Besides, if you can’t trust someone named Bubba the Love Sponge, who can you trust???
8. Kenneth Pinyan receives sex from a horse, 2005.
Although bestiality is not a crime in Washington (State), at least the male horse should have known better and refused the offer of Ken Pinyan to provide a sheath for the mighty sword of the stallion. Authorities became aware of the incredibly poor choice made by Pinyan when an anonymous driver dropped off the body of Pinyan at the local hospital. Unfortunately, Pinyan was dead and could not be revived. Turns out the moron allowed a full grown male horse to have sex with him, resulting in fatal injury to Pinyan. Well, duh! The 45 year old Pinyan was found to have died from complications of a perforated colon. The horse is known locally as “Big Dick.” (No, we are not kidding.)
9. Mary Ormond marries the pirate, Blackbeard, 1718.
In spite of his reputation as the most notorious pirate of his time, the 16 year old Mary Ormond decided to marry this rascal anyway. The daughter of a plantation owner, Mary could probably have landed a reasonably wealthy husband anyway, but chose the risky proposition of becoming the wife of Edward Teach, the infamous Blackbeard. When the pirate quickly tired of being ordered about by a mere girl, he went back to his pirate ways and offered her up to his crew, for their pleasure. She survived this indignity and lived until 1759, probably regretting her rash decision at her first marriage!
10. Effie Gray marries John Ruskin, 1848.
Ruskin was the leading art critic of the Victorian Era, well to do, famous, and an accomplished writer. At the age of 29 he fell in love with Effie Gray, nine years his junior. Her family urged her union with Ruskin, which went forward, at least up until the first night of marriage. Ruskin was horrified to find that Effie had PUBIC HAIR! Accustomed to artwork, sculptures and the like, where nudes did not display such hairy areas, the marriage was never consummated and the pair lived a tense marriage of sorts until it was finally annulled 6 years later. Other historians speculate it was the presence of menstrual blood that horrified Ruskin, or maybe the combination of pubic hair and menstrual flow. In any case, Effie had picked the wrong man to marry. Ruskin later hooked up with 9 year old Rose La Touche (real name, although it sounds like a porno star!), leading to accusations against him as being a pedophile. Their relationship lasted until she was 18 years old (too old for John?), with the cover story being that she was his art pupil. Perhaps that is all she was, but correspondence implies otherwise.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other incidents of hormones trumping brain cells can you think of? Give us some ideas for a follow on list in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Russell, Gareth. Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII. Simon & Schuster, 2017.