Anatomy of a Sex Symbol

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“Maybe I’m a sexless sex goddess.” - Marilyn Monroe to Life magazine journalist Richard Meryman, 1961

By Sheila O’Malley, Joan’s Digest

The sexiest woman in America didn’t have an orgasm until the last year of her life.  Despite her famous love affairs and marriages, not to mention the fact that she was the symbol of sex to millions of men worldwide, Marilyn Monroe’s inability to enjoy sex was something she was open about to close confidantes (male and female) and her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson.  Greenson counseled her extensively on what was called, in the common parlance of the time, her “primary frigidity”, and Monroe worked very hard with him to overcome her sexual issues.

As a young girl, Marilyn Monroe was treated as a sexual object before she was ready to handle the implications of it, a common problem with girls who develop early.  Her beauty blossomed very young, and it ended up being her ticket out of anonymity and pain.  For that reason, she never resented her looks. It was her work as a pinup before she was even under contract that got the attention of the fans.

In movie after movie, Monroe showed up as the eager yet innocent sex goddess, the naif in a cruel world who somehow managed to maintain her hopeful spirit, her sense of humor. Many of these movies were interested in demeaning or humiliating her, punishing her for the fact that she elicited desirous feelings in men.  The Seven Year Itch, while mostly famous today for the skirt-blowing-up scene, is a nasty piece of work which puts Monroe in the unenviable position of being portrayed as a circus freak of sex appeal.  Tom Ewell plays her ogling downstairs neighbor, and the way he views her shows the attempt to turn her sexiness into something dirty and lewd.  She is so “hot” that she has to keep her underwear in the freezer

Read More:  ANATOMY OF A SEX SYMBOL by Sheila O’Malley | JOAN’S DIGEST

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Comments

  1. A wonderful follow up article to this would be an interview with Sherrie Lea Laird who is apparently Miss Monroe reincarnated, her views of her own personal journey of healing from having been a sex symbol would be quite interesting.

  2. I just feel sad for, because she knew people were using her just for beauty and she did not have and self respect for her body, mind, and spirit. sad, sad, sad, and died a sad person…

  3. This article suggests that Monroe was complicit in her objectification. I disagree. She was a product and a victim of a culture and an “old boys’” media that used her up relentlessly without ever considering that she was a human being.

  4. as an ex-bulimic, i’ve only ever had two orgasms with a man. and they were nothing compared to the vibrator parallels. i think that marilyn was simply void of the opportunity of the vibrator. i don’t feel bad that she only experienced one orgasm, though, because orgasms are much overrated. xxx

  5. This is so interesting to me, as it supports a lot of what I write about how objectification is not essentially empowering. Perhaps her issue was that she did not see herself as the agent of her own sexuality, but as an object to be desired and admired. It’s a sad story.