Deep in the bowels of UrbanDictionary.com, the industrious googler will find this gem in the entry for Founding Fathers: “When you sperm in a girl’s hair and mix it up so that it resembles a white powdered wig.” Aside from the obvious questionable logistics about exactly how much semen it would take to turn someone’s hair chalky white, the fact that this definition exists speaks to a larger trend seen throughout history: that we Americans seriously love to sexualize our country’s founders.

No, really. Someone even went as far as to rank their sexiness. Spoiler: Benjamin Franklin wins.

Burr gained a reputation for being a bit of a sex addict, frequenting brothels and knocking boots with prostitutes.

The Founding Fathers have long been a topic of sexy investigation and speculation, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s their wholesome image, or the idea of a take-charge kind of guy, or their clearly hot bods (as evidenced in this amazing fabric). We love to imagine what they were like—and not just in everyday life, but between the sheets too.

“Americans have an endless capacity to see what they want in the Founders and project onto them personality and character traits around sex, monogamous and traditional or free-spirited and promiscuous,” said Dr. Tom Foster, author of Sex and the Founding Fathers. “This often happens regardless of the truth or absence of any way of knowing the truth. So you have both whitewashing of histories but also fabrication. Sex ends up being an accessible way of relating to the Founders, who embody the nation, even if, as historians of sexuality know, there’s no way that the Founders were ‘just like us.’”

But they were like us a little—a few of them had some unique kinks they loved to explore, just as many of us do today.


JOHN ADAMS
According to a popular story at the time, President Adams had a thing for prostitutes—specifically ones from England, where he supposedly sent his vice president to in order to bring back four. Adams of course denied the whole thing. Besides, the man was basically celibate. He staunchly believed in waiting until marriage to have sex, and spent a fair amount of his marriage living apart from his wife Abigail.

THOMAS JEFFERSON
Sure, he may have said “all men are created equal,” but the fact is that Thomas Jefferson owned a total of 607 slaves throughout his life. One of them was particularly special to him—though in what capacity, we’re not quite sure. Rumors started flying during Jefferson’s presidency that he was having an illicit affair with his slave Sally Hemings. Some say it was love, some say it was outright rape. She was 14 when she first came to Monticello, and had six children while living there. Thanks to the magic of DNA testing, we can almost certainly confirm at least some of those children were Jefferson’s. But that leaves us with a conundrum: Did Jefferson pursue a relationship with an underage girl, or did he rape his slaves? Either way, his sparkling reputation is a bit tarnished. Jefferson also attempted to seduce more than one married woman—including Betsy Moore, the wife of his good friend, and Maria Cosway, a European artist.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Before he became the topic of the musical of the decade, Alexander Hamilton was apparently the founding father of political sex scandals. When he was 34, he took a mistress, 23-year-old Maria Reynolds, who had just been abandoned by her husband. Their affair soon took a more salacious turn though when Mr. Reynolds came back on the scene and blackmailed Hamilton for $1,000. For that sum, James Reynolds would allow Hamilton to have his wife, and he would skip town and not tell anyone. Of course, Hamilton paid, but Reynolds never left. He stuck around, waiting for Hamilton to show up to his house at Maria’s call and then blackmailed him for more money. Again and again. Hamilton was eventually forced to issue a very public confession and apology. There are also rumors that Hamilton was intimately involved with his friend John Laurens, saying in one letter to the man, “I wish… it might be in my power, by action rather than words to convince you that I love you.”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
When Ben Franklin said “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” it’s possible we misunderstood what he meant since he appeared to take as many women as possible to bed. Franklin had a voracious appetite for sex with his (at least) 12 mistresses, plus his poor neglected wife. And he liked the cougars. In 1745, he gave young men hesitant to get married this sage advice: Get with the older ladies.

He noted that not only do they know more about the world, but they’re also discreet, unlikely to get pregnant, good if not pretty and most of all, just so darn grateful for the attention. Besides, he said, you won’t know the difference in age at night: “And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.”

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
You may not know him as a Founding Father, but hey, he wrote the preamble and the closing for the Constitution, so he’s a big deal. He also wrote extensively in some pretty explicit diaries that demonstrate both his taste for married women and his penchant for exhibitionism. Here’s one example, provided by Foster: “and immediately I take Mad[a]m[e] on my Lap and at the imminent Risque of Discovery by two Doors and one Window perform the Act. I think of all others Mons[ieu]r would be least pleasd to behold.”

And another: “Go to the Louvre… we take the chance of interruption and celebrate in the passage while [Mademoiselle] is at the harpsichord in the drawing room. The husband is below. Visitors are hourly expected. The doors are all open.” Morris’s left leg was wooden; no news on if that peg was part of his sexcapades though. Oh, and Morris died by sticking a whalebone in his penis. NBD. (He couldn’t pee and was trying to help himself out, poor guy.)

AARON BURR
Like Morris, Aaron Burr often doesn’t receive credit as being one of the Founding Fathers. He was basically despised for killing Hamilton and allegedly trying to steal Jefferson’s presidency, so we don’t hear much about him. He’s now getting more credit (and holds the vantage point for Hamilton the musical), and can be celebrated by women throughout the United States. Burr was probably the first feminist in the country: in 1785, he suggested a bill giving women the right to vote and challenged common thought that women had no souls. Regardless of how often he championed women, Burr gained a reputation for being a bit of a sex addict, frequenting brothels and knocking boots with prostitutes on a regular basis. But hey, it was legal at the time, so God bless America.