At the peak of his fame and powers, Frederic Chopin was treated more like a modern-day rock star than a classical composer: outside Paris concert halls, for example, female fans would wait to meet him, and everywhere he went he was the toast of the town, praised for his innovative and stirring compositions. Unlike the typical rock star, however, Chopin didn’t make the most of his fame in this sense. Indeed, throughout his life, he showed little to no interest in members of the opposite sex, or of the same sex for that matter. So was the great composer asexual before the world came to recognize this space on the great spectrum of human sexuality?
Several of Chopin’s biographers certainly believe that the composer was “fundamentally asexual”, even if he was linked with several women and even had a seven-year relationship with the French writer George Sand. Suffice to say, theirs was not a conventional partnership. By all accounts, it remained unconsummated; while Sand had had several past lovers and even had children, some historians believe Chopin imposed celibacy on his older partner. For the pianist and composer, it has been argued, the partnership was more one of curiosity and convenience than one of physical attraction.
According to some of his biographer’s, Chopin’s aversion to sex and intimacy had its roots in his adolescence. As a teen, he became infatuated with a female opera singer by the name of Maria Wodzinska. The pair were engaged to be married, and Chopin wrote several pieces of music for his beloved. However, Maria’s father was against the match, worrying that his prospective son-in-law was too sickly for his daughter. So distraught was he by the ending of the engagement that Chopin lost all interest in love and sex.
It could well be that Chopin led a long life of self-imposed celibacy. Alternatively, those biographers may have been right: he was asexual all along, just that after the heartbreak he experienced as a young man ended his interest in romance, too.