elvis as don juan, cad, and womanizer (but not a hound dog)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 6 min­utes.

THE PRI­VATE LIVES of other human be­ings rarely in­terest me. This in­cludes the people I deal with every day along with the people I enjoy as artists, ath­letes, en­ter­tainers, and even politi­cians. Con­se­quently, I don’t read many bi­ogra­phies and rarely write about peo­ple’s lifestyles. 1

When I write bi­o­graph­i­cally about a mu­si­cian on my Rather Rare Records blog, their sex lives or the drugs they used only in­terest me to the de­gree that it af­fected their music and cre­ativity. I am very in­ter­ested in the ef­fects that LSD and the deeper “psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ences” (there are de­grees of ex­pe­ri­ence) have on the music of people like Brian Wilson and John Lennon.


Throughout his adult life, Elvis Presley was often per­ceived as a wom­an­izer but rarely as a hound dog.


In some cases, drugs play a role not only in a dis­cus­sion of a given artist but of en­tire eras or genres of music. Dis­cuss hard bop jazz in the ’50s and one ends up dis­cussing heroin use. Dis­cuss rock music in the ’60s and one ends of dis­cussing LSD use. These drugs se­ri­ously af­fected the cre­ativity of many major artists, both pos­i­tively and negatively.

Ex­actly how much and how often sex of any kind di­rectly af­fects an artist’s cre­ativity is dif­fi­cult to as­cer­tain: a reclu­sive artist who kept his vir­ginity into his thir­ties and then found the love-of-his-life might have a burst of cre­ativity based on the love and a burst of sexual ac­tivity. 2

There were some artists where sex­u­ality was a part of their work: Pi­casso, took ob­serv­able de­light in giving free rein to his en­joy­ment of sex in his art, al­lowing it to take him places he might not oth­er­wise have ven­tured. 3


DonJuanDeMarco Depp sword down 600

What the hell is Johnny Depp with a sword doing in an ar­ticle about Elvis Pres­ley’s sex life? Read on, dear reader, read on.

According to some of these women

In the case of Elvis Presley, only two of his para­mours hold any in­terest for me: Ann-Margret Olsson and the former Mrs. Presley, Priscilla Beaulieu. Ann-Margret clearly sparked him into giving an ob­vi­ously more spir­ited per­for­mance in Viva Las Vegas (1963) than was his norm by then, de­spite the plot and the music being pretty much the same as the other movies and songs at the time. 4

Given how well Priscilla tran­si­tioned from stay-at-home wife and mother to en­gag­ingly funny movie star and then how she took over the han­dling of her late ex-husband’s es­tate and turned it into the most vis­ited tourist at­trac­tions in the United States makes me wonder: What if, fol­lowing their di­vorce, Elvis had jet­ti­soned the Colonel and hired Priscilla as his man­ager? But that’s an­other story.


Elvis en­ter­tained many women: according to some there was no sexual ac­tivity, ac­cording to some there was ac­tivity but no in­ter­course, and ac­cording to some there was intercourse.


Back to the ques­tion at hand: Presley en­ter­tained many women in his rooms on the road, in Hol­ly­wood, in Las Vegas, etc. The exact number of women will never be known, but to say hun­dreds may be con­ser­v­a­tive. Many of these women have not been iden­ti­fied, many of those iden­ti­fied have not spoken pub­licly about their af­fair with Elvis. Some have given in­ter­views or written memoirs.

Ac­cording to some of these women, there was no “sexual ac­tivity” be­tween them and Elvis.

Ac­cording to some of these women, there was “sexual ac­tivity” but no ac­tual intercourse.

Ac­cording to some of these women, there was in­ter­course. 5

Back to the ques­tion “Was Elvis a wom­an­izer?” My an­swer posted on Quora is in­dented below be­tween the two photos of Elvis and Ann-Margret:


Elvis Ann Margret dancing color 300 crop

Was Elvis a womanizing cad?

Let’s look at a few de­f­i­n­i­tions: Merriam-Webster de­fines wom­anize as “to pursue ca­sual sexual re­la­tion­ships with mul­tiple women.” No moral or eth­ical judg­ment is men­tioned in this definition.

Such is not the case with the Collins dic­tio­nary, which de­fines wom­an­izer as, “If you de­scribe a man as a wom­an­izer, you dis­ap­prove of him be­cause he likes to have many short sexual re­la­tion­ships with women.”

Casual sex

Most formal dic­tio­naries de­fine words, not terms or phrases, so I went to the Google dic­tio­nary for ca­sual sex. There it is de­fined as “sexual ac­tivity be­tween people who are not es­tab­lished sexual part­ners or do not know each other well.”

I also turned to Wikipedia for their take on ca­sual sex: “sexual ac­tivity that takes place out­side a ro­mantic re­la­tion­ship and im­plies an ab­sence of com­mit­ment, emo­tional at­tach­ment, or fa­mil­iarity be­tween sexual partners.”

Elvis as womanizer

Given the sheer quan­tity of women Elvis reg­u­larly “en­ter­tained” (with and without ac­tual sexual in­ter­course) pri­vately while away from Grace­land, it seems rea­son­able to as­sume that Elvis had lots of sexual ac­tivity with lots of women who were not es­tab­lished sexual part­ners or who he did not know well.

It seems rea­son­able to as­sume that he had lots of sexual ac­tivity with women where com­mit­ment, emo­tional at­tach­ment, and fa­mil­iarity were non-existent.

Sup­pos­edly, he pur­sued some of these partners.

Many people (mostly con­ser­v­a­tive women?) dis­ap­prove of Elvis for his many short sexual re­la­tion­ships with women. 

Many people (mostly men?) ad­mire Elvis for his many short sexual re­la­tion­ships with women. 

Many people (mostly men) envy Elvis for his many short sexual re­la­tion­ships with women. 

So, whether you apply moral or eth­ical judg­ment or not, Elvis Presley was a womanizer.

Whether you apply moral judg­ment or not, Elvis Presley was often a wom­an­izer but rarely a cad. Click To Tweet

Elvis Ann Margret dancing color 1000

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The photo above is a shot of Ann-Margret and Elvis dancing in Viva Las Vegas in 1963. It was the photo I had orig­i­nally in­tended to use as the fea­tured image at the top of this page. Then I thought of a fa­vorite movie and how it might apply to this ar­ticle, so I used a photo of Johnny Depp from the movie Don Juan De­Marco (1994) instead.

Ac­tu­ally, he may be John Arnold De­Marco, who be­lieves he is the leg­endary Don Juan, the world’s greatest lover. This be­lief leads him to be­come a wom­an­izer whose delu­sions (?) bring magic into the life of each woman he seduces.

Throughout the film, John/Don Juan gives his court-appointed psy­chi­a­trist (Marlon Brando) ad­vice on living and love. I thought two of them per­ti­nent to the legend of Elvis the lover:

“There are only four ques­tions of value in life: What is sa­cred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? The an­swer to each is the same: only love.”

“Women react to me the way that they do be­cause they sense that I search out the beauty that dwells within until it over­whelms every­thing else. And then they cannot avoid their de­sire, to re­lease that beauty and en­ve­lope me in it.”

The second state­ment sums up Elvis the Sex Symbol, the man he pre­sented to the public and even to his friends. The first state­ment seems to sum up Elvis the Seeker, the man he was in the pres­ence of only a few people—most of them women he had “picked up” as Elvis the Sex Symbol . . .



1   See “Cy­bill Shep­herd Gives Elvis A Little Heads Up” for an in­stance where the seeming ab­sur­dity of a claim made by one of Pres­ley’s lovers did at­tract my attention.

2   An artist who had been living as a fairly vanilla sex life who sud­denly dis­cov­ered he liked being dom­i­nated might find this af­fecting his art. A het­ero­sexual artist who dis­cov­ered he re­ally pre­ferred the com­pany of men to women in his bed­room might also find his views on life and art changed. Other sim­ilar in­stances could lead one’s sex life to af­fect one’s artistic and public life, which I might find interesting.

3   The Sep­tember 1969 issue of Avant Garde mag­a­zine (“Pi­cas­so’s Erotic Gravures”) was de­voted en­tirely to the sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­an’s en­during fac­si­na­tion with the sly and playful as­pects of human (and not-so-human) sex­u­ality. This ex­tra­or­di­nary out­burst of cre­ativity was pro­duced by an old man with ei­ther an un­usu­ally ac­tive sex life or an even more ac­tive imag­i­na­tion and memory. 

4   Had the Ann-Margret and Elvis hooked up and made their re­la­tion­ship formal and public and had they done any music projects to­gether, they could have been the hottest two­some in the en­ter­tain­ment field for sev­eral years. Rusty (as she was known to Elvis and his friends) might have dragged Elvis out of the rut he was stuck in making a string of in­creas­ingly dumb and numbing movies. Alas, that did not happen.

5   Be­fore a woman who en­tered his room, did Elvis know be­fore­hand which ones he was going to spend the night talking or making love, be­cause the women cer­tainly didn’t?


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