10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis

Khalid Elhassan - June 22, 2018

There is no shortage in the annals of history of historical figures who were not big on celibacy or marital fidelity, and many of them made frequent use of prostitutes, and visited whorehouses on a regular basis. However, some historical figures took that to another level, and had an out-and-out obsession with prostitutes.

Following are ten such historic figures, who were obsessed with working girls.

French Painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Liked Working Girls So Much, He Lived in Brothels

French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) made Parisian nightlife, and France’s world of entertainment in general, his specialty, which he documented with great psychological insight. Among the pioneers of the Post-Impressionist period, he ranks along the likes of Van Gogh and Gauguin. His work was marked by an extreme simplification of outlines and movement, and the frequent use of large color areas. His private life was marked by a fixation on prostitutes, which spilled over into his art and influenced his paintings.

In his teens, Toulouse-Lautrec broke his thigh bones in a pair of accidents, and the mishaps required extensive periods of painful convalescence. He filled the lonely hours by painting. The accidents left him with atrophied legs, and made walking very difficult for the rest of his life. He moved to Paris in the early 1880s, and devoted himself to becoming an artist. He also devoted himself to the nightlife and prostitutes.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Biography

When he was not in Parisian brothels, Toulouse-Lautrec frequently visited cabarets in Paris’ Montmartre district, such as the Moulin Rouge, where he associated with many courtesans – prostitutes, but of a higher caliber. The Moulin Rouge actually reserved a table for him every night, and displayed his paintings. He also enjoyed checking out the theater, circus, and dance halls, in the company of prostitutes.

As much as he liked prostitutes, they liked him back: they befriended Toulouse-Lautrec, modeled for him, and even supported him when he was financially strapped. Prostitutes and madams accepted the crippled artist as a fellow outcast, and he liked their company so much, that he would sometimes pack up and move into brothels, living there for months on end. He got a special kick out of shocking people by giving the address of famous brothels as his place of residence.

He was allowed to freely wander around the establishments, sketching and painting what he saw as the muse took him, and he became known for his paintings of prostitutes. He lived in an era when prostitution was widespread, and most men routinely made use of their services. Still, even in the socially liberal France of the late 19th century, hookers were a taboo subject. Toulouse-Lautrec broke the taboo by depicting prostitutes in his art as they were. He neither glamorized nor vilified them, but simply depicted the everyday life he shared with them in a near-documentary fashion. He died at age 36 from advanced syphilis, which he got from one of his prostitute friends.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
‘The Medical Inspection at the Rue des Moulins’, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1894. Wikimedia

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
James Boswell. Google Art Project

England’s Greatest Biographer Was Relentless in His Pursuit of Hookers

James Boswell (1740 – 1795) was a diarist and friend of Samuel Johnson, the writer and poet who compiled the first comprehensive English dictionary. Boswell’s biography of Johnson, published in the 20th century, is considered one of the best biographies ever written. Indeed, so close had Boswell been to Johnson, that “Boswell” became a term for a close companion who observes and records the deeds of a great figure. Less known about Boswell is that he hankered after hookers nonstop.

Growing up, Boswell had a difficult relationship with his father, which caused him bouts of melancholy and depression. Intercourse cheered him up, and between ages 20 and 29, as gleaned from his diary, Boswell slept with three married gentlewomen, four actresses, kept three mistresses, and had a fling with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s mistress. Those figures are eclipsed, however, by the more than 60 prostitutes he had physical acts with during that period. Prostitutes lifted his spirits, at least temporarily, and he chased after them wielding his “Armour” – a reusable prophylactic made of sheep guts, that had to be moistened with water before use.

A typical escapade from Boswell’s diary went thus: ” As I was coming home this night I felt carnal inclinations raging thro’ my frame. I determined to gratify them. I went to St. James’s Park and like Sir John Brute, picked up a Whore. For the first time did I engage in Armour which I found but a dull satisfaction. She who submitted to my lusty embraces was a young shropshire Girl only seventeen, very well-looked, her name Elizabeth Parker. Poor being. She has a sad time of it!

Boswell felt bad about it every now and then, but was unable to help himself, and kept coming back. As he wrote in his diary entry of May 10th, 1763: ” At the bottom of the Hay-market I picked up a strong jolly young damsel, and taking her under the Arm I conducted her to Westminster-Bridge, and then in armour compleat did I engage her upon this noble Edifice. The whim of doing it there with the Thames rolling below us amused me much. Yet after the brutish appetite was sated I could not but despise myself for being so closely united with such a low Wretch.

The “Armour”, which Boswell also referred to in his diary as a “cundum”, was supposed to protect against venereal disease, but seems to have been ineffective. The fact that his first streetwalker, when he was 19, gave him gonorrhea, neither extinguished his faith in his “Armour”, nor dampened his enthusiasm for hookers. By the time he was 29, Boswell had been with at least 60 prostitutes, from whom he contracted gonorrhea an astonishing 19 times. His friends treated his frequent VD infections as a running joke, but considering the primitive medical care of the 18th century, the bouts were probably too painful for Boswell to appreciate the humor.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Vaslav Nijinsky. Le Figaro

One of History’s Greatest Ballet Dancers Was Addicted to Prostitutes

Born in the Russian Empire, Vaslav Nijinsky (1889 – 1950) grew up to become one of history’s greatest ballet dancers, and the best male dancer of the early 20th century. His ability to dance en pointe – on tippy toes – was rare for male dancers in his day, and he captivated audiences with his spectacular leaps and sensitive interpretations. He got his start performing in classical ballets such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, before joining the Ballets Russes ­– a ground breaking company of that era. His talents were so remarkable that special ballets were created just for him, to showcase his skills. The man was a revolutionary force in ballet, until his career was cut tragically short. The first blow was WW1, which broke out while he was in Budapest, so he ended spending the conflict interned as a Russian subject. Soon after the war ended, he was forced to retire from the stage in 1919, at age 29, because of a nervous breakdown caused by schizophrenia.

He was also an addict, whose drug was prostitutes. After his death, Nijinsky’s wife published his diary, but years later, when researchers got a hold of Nijinsky’s raw diary, they discovered that his widow had edited out of some interesting stuff. Apparently, there were some aspects of the marriage that she did not want to share with the public: to wit, that her husband liked prostitutes.

“Liked” is probably putting it mildly: Nijinsky had a flat out compulsion for prostitutes. He was ashamed of what he viewed as an unfortunate affliction, but he simply could not refrain from gratifying his craving for prostitutes, whom he referred to as “tarts”. The diary describes Nijinsky’s disappointments when he would “look for [a prostitute] all day long and not find one“. It also describes his joy upon finding them, and how he “made love to several tarts a day” on such occasions.

Understandably, that put serious strains on the marriage. After one spree with prostitutes in Paris, Nijinsky’s wife wanted to send him to Zurich for psychiatric treatment. He looked forward to it – not because he was eager to improve his conduct and his marriage, but because of the opportunity to try out Zurich’s prostitutes. His obsession went beyond the act: he was actually interested in plumbing the minds of prostitutes. As he wrote in his diary: “I will not be writing in Zurich, because I am very interested in that town. I will go to a brothel because I want to have an intuitive understanding of tarts. I have forgotten tarts. I want to understand the psychology of a tart“.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Gary Ridgway and some of his victims. Learning History

Gary Ridgway Had One of the Worst Possible Obsessions With Prostitutes

Few people were ever as obsessed with prostitutes as was Gary Ridgway (1949 – ). Unfortunately for the prostitutes he came in contact with, his obsession was of the worst possible kind: that of a prolific serial killer with his target population. Ridgway, also known as “The Green River Killer”, was convicted of killing 49 women, most of them prostitutes. He would eventually confess to killing 71.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he grew up in a poor neighborhood, raised by parents who often engaged in violent arguments. He had a bed wetting problem until he was 13, and whenever he wet the sheets, Ridgway’s mother would wash his genitals. He informed psychologists that in his teens, he had been attracted to his mother, even as he fantasized about killing her. His father, a bus driver, was given to complaining about the proliferation of prostitutes in and around the neighborhood.

He was a dyslexic child, with an IQ in the 80s. Ridgway’s violent criminality began in the 1960s, when at age 16, he led a 6 year old boy into the woods and stabbed him in the liver. The child survived, and described Ridgway walking away laughing. After high school, Ridgway was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Upon his discharge, he got a job painting trucks, and spent 30 years in that occupation. A family man, although one who had trouble keeping a marriage going, he was married three times. He was also a regular churchgoer, who was described by many who knew him as a religious fanatic.

Ridgway was into hookers, and long before he started killing them, he was a frequent customer of prostitutes. His career as a serial killer began in the early 1980s. Ridgway would pick up prostitutes, runaway teenagers, or other vulnerable women, along Route 99 in King County, Washington. He took them to his home, where he usually choked them to death with his bare hands, although he sometimes garroted them with a cord or wire. He dumped the bodies in remote forested areas in King County, and often returned to the corpses to have physical contact with them.

The first hint authorities had that a serial killer was on the loose was when working girls and teenage runaways started disappearing along Route 99. After the first five bodies surfaced in the Green River, the press dubbed the unknown culprit “The Green River Killer”. In 1987, suspicion fell upon Ridgway, when many prostitutes working Route 99 – which he drove to and from work – gave descriptions of a suspect who resembled him. When investigators scrutinized Ridgway’s work record, they discovered that the disappearance of many victims coincided with his days off. He was taken into police custody, but passed a polygraph test, and allowed investigators to take hair and saliva samples. He was released for lack of evidence, and was soon back on the prowl.

Finally, in 2001, a new generation of detectives, who had been children when Ridgway first began murdering prostitutes, began making effective use of computers in investigating the Green River Killer. They also had access to modern DNA techniques that had not existed in the 1980s. When Ridgway’s hair and saliva samples, carefully preserved since 1987, were sent for DNA analysis, they returned a match tying him to 4 victims. He was arrested, and entered a plea bargain in which he disclosed the locations of dozens of still-missing women. In exchange, he was spared the death penalty, and was sentenced instead to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
‘Justine’, one of the works for which the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned. Wikimedia

Unsurprisingly, the Marquis de Sade Was a Prostitute Junkie

The French aristocrat Donatien Alphonse Francois, Comte de Sade , better known as the Marquis de Sade (1740 – 1814), could never get enough of prostitutes. He became so notorious for his deviant practices, perversions, and erotic writings which combined pornography with philosophy and violent fantasies, that his name gave rise to the terms sadist and sadism.

Like Gary Ridgway, de Sade was a pervert who is known to history only for being a pervert, unlike others in this list. He wrote about politics and philosophy, but those writings are not what he is known for. Were it not for the perversions he did, and the perversions he wrote about wanting to do, little would be known today about history’s most famous Marquis.

He advocated total freedom, and his fantasies’ emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy – and his actual criminally violent practices – kept him incarcerated in prisons and insane asylums for most of his adult life. On and off, de Sade spent 32 years behind bars, including 10 years in the Bastille. Most of his writing was penned from behind bars.

De Sade was addicted to prostitutes from early on. Addicted to abusing them, that is. In the early 1760s, numerous Parisian prostitutes complained of his mistreatment, which got him numerous short jail stints, before he was exiled from Paris to his countryside residence. While the details of the mistreatment are murky, the very fact that a French aristocrat in those days got locked up because of his treatment of prostitutes, indicates that whatever he did must have been pretty bad.

In 1768, de Sade had his first big scandal, when he lured a street walker to his home with an offer of a housekeeping job. He then ripped off her clothes, tied her to a sofa, and tortured her by flogging and pouring hot wax on her. She eventually escaped through a second floor window. However, the Marquis’ family killed the ensuing investigation by securing a royal decree that removed the case from the courts’ jurisdiction.

In 1772, there was another scandal when de Sade and his servant sodomized prostitutes in Marseilles after incapacitating them with Spanish fly. The duo skipped the trial, fled to Italy, and were sentenced to death in absentia. They were eventually caught and imprisoned in Savoy, but escaped after a few months and hid in de Sade’s rural castle in southeast France.

De Sade had a high employee turnover rate in his castle, as he kept hiring youngsters as domestics, only for them to quit within a short time, complaining of the Marquis’ mistreatment and predation. When the local boys’ and girls’ parents complained to the authorities, de Sade was forced to flee to Italy once more, until things quieted down.

In 1776, he returned and resumed his perversions, which steadily intensified, with one scandal following another in quick succession. Finally, in 1777, the authorities tricked de Sade into going to Paris to visit his supposedly sick mother, who unbeknownst to him, had actually died. When he arrived in Paris, he was arrested and locked up in a royal fortress’ dungeon. He was kept there, in harsh conditions, until 1784, when he was transferred to the Bastille. De Sade remained in that infamous prison until he was transferred to a mental asylum, only two days before the Bastille was stormed in 1789, and all its prisoners were freed in the opening act of the French Revolution.

He was released in 1790, amidst France’s revolutionary turmoil. Taking to the new order, he took to calling himself “Citizen Sade”, and within months, got himself elected as a representative to the French National Convention. He barely survived the Reign of Terror, during which he was imprisoned for a year, emerging from jail in 1794 utterly destitute.

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered de Sade’s arrest for pornographic and blasphemous novels that he had written a decade earlier, and had him imprisoned without trial. In 1803, his family had him declared insane and transferred from prison to a mental asylum, where he continued writing, and staged plays with inmates as actors. His writing career finally to an end in 1809, when the police ordered de Sade kept in solitary confinement, and deprived him of pen and paper.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Hans Christian Andersen. Biography Collection

The Little Mermaid’s Author Was Addicted to Chatting Up Prostitutes, Then Rushing Home to Masturbate to the Memory

The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) covered a wide range of genres, penning plays, poems, novels, travel books, and autobiographies. He is best known however for his fairy tales. Anderson’s works, such as The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid, are among the most widely translated writings in history, and have been a childhood staple for generations around the world.

His own childhood was unpleasant. Born to impoverished parents, Anderson was raised in dire poverty, and had to spend most of his tender years working in a mill. Childhood penury was compounded by a childhood homeliness that made the young Andersen an object of teasing, mockery, and bullying – The Ugly Duckling was actually based on his own unhappy childhood.

Making lemonade out of the lemons that life gave him, Anderson harnessed those experiences into stories that impacted many. However, when he was not busy writing stories that would feature prominently in the childhood of billions around the planet, Andersen liked to masturbate compulsively. And when not doing that, he liked to chitchat with prostitutes, then rush back home to masturbate compulsively.

Anderson was a celibate who not only liked to masturbate a lot, but also liked keeping meticulous records of his masturbation sessions, which carefully described and listed in his diary with a pair of ++ signs. A sample descriptive entry reads: “When they left, I had a doubly sensuous ++“. When in Paris, Anderson liked to visit prostitutes and talk with them, then rush back to his hotel to put more ++ sign entries in his diary.

Anderson was also needy, and kept falling in love with people – both men and women – who did not reciprocate his feelings. He often wrote long and maudlin love letters to the objects of his affection, gushing about his feelings to those whom he knew were uninterested and would turn him down. After sending the letters, Anderson would rush back home to masturbate and record that in his diary.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Fatty Arbuckle. Fine Art America

Hollywood Superstar’s Orgies With Prostitutes Killed His Career

Fatty Arbuckle (1887 – 1933) was an early superstar comic actor of the silent film era. Weighing about 300 pounds, he made a movie career out of tumbling, throwing pies, and being an all around lovable and jolly fat guy. He was also a Hollywood mover and shaker. He discovered and launched the careers of stars such as Bob Hope and Buster Keaton, and mentored Charlie Chaplain, who became his close friend.

Fatty Arbuckle also liked partying with prostitutes and loose women, and that ended up destroying his career and reputation. Disaster began with a wild party at a San Francisco hotel in September of 1921. Arbuckle and friends rented adjacent luxury suites, and invited several women, including prostitutes and aspiring actresses. At some point, one of the female invitees, Virginia Rappe, was found acting strangely in one of the suites. She was examined by the hotel’s doctor, who determined that she was extremely drunk, and gave her a shot of morphine to calm her.

A couple days later, she was rushed to a hospital, and a friend told doctors that Rappe had been raped by Fatty Arbuckle at the party. Rappe died the next day of peritonitis, caused by a ruptured bladder. Although medical examinations found no evidence of rape, newspapers had a field day, and printed increasingly salacious stories. Some articles claimed that Fatty Arbuckle had crushed Rappe with his excessive bulk while raping her. Others alleged that Arbuckle had penetrated Rappe with a piece of ice. That grew into accusations that he had ruptured Rappe by raping her with a bottle of Coca Cola or champagne.

Eventually, police went with the theory that the weight of the obese Arbuckle atop Virginia Rappe during an act had caused her bladder to rupture. Arbuckle denied any wrongdoing, but he was arrested and charged with essentially having raped the unfortunate Rappe to death. It was a major media event – the OJ Simpson criminal scandal of the day.

However, the prosecution’s case fizzled when it emerged that San Francisco’s District Attorney, who planned to run for California governor, had pressured witnesses into lying. The defense also obtained a letter from the state’s star witness, Rappe’s friend who had had first leveled accusations of rape, admitting that she had planned to extort money from Arbuckle.

Prosecutors produced little credible evidence at the trial, and medical experts demonstrated that Rappe’s bladder had been ruptured by an internal inflammation, not by an external force. The jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal, and a mistrial was declared. A second trial again ended in a 10-2 deadlock in favor of a not guilty verdict. A third trial was launched, and at its conclusion, the jury took just six minutes to return a unanimous verdict of not guilty. Although Arbuckle was exonerated, his reputation never recovered, and his career was effectively over.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Edward VII and his special love chair. Troab

Edward VII Liked Prostitutes So Much, He Had a Private Suite Built in His Favorite Whorehouse

Albert Edward (1841 – 1910), who went on to reign as King Edward VII of the United Kingdom from 1901 until his death, was mediocre as both a man and as a monarch. However, as a libertine and all around royal party animal, Edward VII shone, standing in stark contrast to his notoriously straitlaced mother, Queen Victoria, whose name became synonymous with prudery and uptightness.

From early on, Prince Albert, or “Bertie”, was a disappointment to his prim and proper parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. At age 16, while observing army maneuvers, Bertie had his first scandal, with a prostitute. It was hushed up, but the queen was not amused, and Bertie’s father, although ill, went to see and reprimand his reprobate son. On the way back home from chastising Bertie, his father caught pneumonia, which did him in. For the next four decades, Queen Victoria blamed Bertie for killing her beloved husband. She decided that he was unfit to reign, and tried to keep him from following her on the throne. The queen even tried to get an Act of Parliament passed to remove Bertie from the line of succession, but was thwarted.

While Queen Victoria failed in her attempts to remove Bertie from the line of succession, she did her best to keep him from ever wearing the crown. She often remarked that her longevity and long reign were due to her determination to outlive Bertie and prevent him from ever becoming king. She tried hard and did her best, but after a 64 year reign, the old girl finally gave up the ghost and died in 1901. After a long wait that he thought would never end, Bertie finally became king at age 60.

During that decades long wait to succeed his disapproving mother, Bertie became notorious for his relentless quest to gratify his erotic appetites. He had a particular fondness for prostitutes, but he was willing to sample anything and anybody, whether cheap hookers or top notch French aristocratic ladies and courtesans. From discrete liaisons, to well publicized affairs with famous actresses, to wife-swapping orgies, Bertie was insatiable and down for anything.

He was a particularly big fan of Paris’ elite brothels, especially its most exclusive whorehouse, La Chabanais. So infatuated was he with that establishment’s prostitutes, that he built himself an exclusive and private royal room in La Chabanais, decorated with his coat of arms and furnished to his specific tastes. Said tastes included a specially designed chair, named siege d’amour, which he had installed in his whorehouse room. By the 1890s, Bertie was fat, middle-aged, and out of shape, so he had the heavy duty love chair custom made to enable him to have intercourse without crushing his partners. The specialty chair also enabled him to position the prostitutes just right for royal access, with minimal exertion and contortions on his part.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Rudolph Valentino. Norman Studios

Silent Film Era Superstar Was a Working Boy

One of early Hollywood’s biggest superstars and heartthrobs, Rudolph Valentino (1895 – 1926), also known as “The Latin Lover”, was a 1920s’ symbol of masculinity. He shot to fame with captivating performances in silent film blockbusters such as The Sheik, and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. His sudden death at age 31 led to mass hysteria among his female fans, and solidified his iconic status.

However, before becoming a star, Rudolph Valentino had been a heavy frequenter of working girls. Not only that, but he had also probably been a working boy. Before fame, Valentino had worked as a dancer in what were known as “taxi dance clubs”. Such clubs were basically escort services, where clients would come in, examine the club’s stable of dancers, and pay to dance with whichever one caught their eye.

Clients who liked a dance partner would negotiate a price with him or her, then pay the club an “exit fee” to leave with the dancer. While some taxi dance clubs were legitimate and innocent, most were just escort services. In Valentino’s case, he was once arrested in a brothel before becoming famous, so his taxi dance club was probably not the innocent kind.

Imagine if the press discovered today that Brad Pitt had once worked for an escort service as a working boy. The resulting firestorm in media and social media would probably break the internet, as the insatiable demand for salacious details produced a never ending stream of stories. The paparazzi stampede alone would probably cause an earthquake.

10 Historic Figures Who Visited Brothels on a Regular Basis
Rasputin. Time Magazine

A Charlatan Faith Healer’s Love of Prostitutes and All Around Lechery Contributed to Downfall of Tsarist Russia

Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869 – 1916) was a charlatan, mystic, holy wanderer, faith healer, blasphemer, and a notorious lecher who became one of Russia’s most powerful figures. An inexplicable ability to ease the pain of the child Alexei Nikolayevich, the hemophiliac heir to the Russian throne, earned him the gratitude of his parents, Russia’s emperor and empress, Nicholas and Alexandra. That made Rasputin an influential figure in the Russian Empire’s final years.

Even as a teenager, Rasputin was notorious for his relentless pursuit of women, from prostitutes to respectable matrons, and he had a magnetism that enabled him to rack up conquests with ease. He invented and led a religious cult that combined Orthodox Christianity, plus bizarre rituals that were deemed heretical and blasphemous.

A core belief of Rasputin’s cult was that nearness to God is achieved by a state described as “holy passionlessness”, which is best achieved via exhaustion. And that exhaustion was to be attained by a lot of physical acts – a religious doctrine he described as “driving out sin with sin“. So he led his cult into reaching an exhaustion via orgies – prolonged bouts of debauchery by the entire congregation in order to get the base passions out of their system.

He eventually made it to the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, where he won the favor of Russia’s emperor and empress. There, Rasputin exerted his animal magnetism upon the capital’s women, and before long, he had a cult following, from lowly streetwalkers to wealthy aristocratic women. Soon, young women and old, maidens and matrons, were throwing themselves at Rasputin.

They flocked to visit his apartment, and he was indiscriminate in his preferences, bedding prostitutes and princesses alike. Many in high society, aware that Rasputin had the ear of Russia’s rulers, sought to gain his favor. Some even sent their wives or daughters to seduce him into putting in a good word for them at court, or their female relatives did so on their own initiative in order to help their male kin. Many other women visited him simply for physical benefits.

Rasputin was, by all accounts, what would be considered today an addict, with enviable stamina and staying power. Saint Petersburg’s authorities posted plainclothes policemen at his building, and their reports described dozens of women, from prostitutes to high ranking aristocrats, visiting his apartment. The police reports went on to describe loud noises of drunken revelry, partying with prostitutes, beatings, violence, and orgies that lasted until sunrise and beyond.

Although reports of Rasputin’s unruly and unholy conduct – including the rape of a nun – reached emperor Nicholas’ ears, he either dismissed them out of hand, or laughed them off with comments such as “the holy are always slandered“. The emperor’s confessor investigated the reports of Rasputin’s misconduct, concluded there was truth in them, and advised Nicholas to distance himself from the controversial monk. The emperor, at the behest of his wife who was fiercely protective of the holy charlatan, sided with the Rasputin, and banished his confessor from Saint Petersburg, instead.

By 1911, Rasputin’s notorious misconduct had become a national scandal, and turned the imperial family into a laughingstock. Eventually, word began making the rounds that Rasputin had seduced Russia’s empress Alexandra. Whether or not that was true – and Rasputin boasted of having done so – it damaged the imperial family’s prestige, and set the stage or its overthrow in the 1917 Russian Revolution.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources & Further Reading

Biography – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Edwardian Promenade – The Amorous Life of Edward VII

Encyclopedia Britannica – James Boswell, Scottish Biographer

Guardian, The, January 18th, 2006 – The Perverse Side of Hans Christian Andersen

Guardian, The, June 13th, 2012 – James Boswell and a History of Gonorrhea

Internet Movie Database – Rudolph Valentino

Phillips, Adams – Promises, Promises: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Literature (2002)

Radzinsky, Edvard – The Rasputin File (2001)

Ranker – Historical Figures Obsessed With Prostitutes

Schwartz, Robert, Mount Holyoke College – Courtesans: Toulouse-Lautrec, Painting Prostitution as it Was

Smithsonian Magazine, November 8th, 2011 – The Skinny on the Fatty Arbuckle Trial

Tea in a Teacup – James Boswell and London Prostitutes

Thought Co – Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer

Wikipedia – Gary Ridgway

Wikipedia – Marquis de Sade

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