President Bill Clinton admitted in taped grand jury testimony on this date in 1998 that he had an “improper physical relationship” with Monica Lewinsky, 25, a Jewish White House intern. Lewinsky had testified on August 6th for more than eight hours before the grand jury, convened by independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr, about her 18-month dalliance with Clinton. She admitted to fellating the President in the White House on nine occasions, once to orgasm, which left a semen stain on her blue dress, evidence for Clinton’s impeachment. The very public discussion of oral sex was unprecedented and may have joined with Internet porn to have a profound effect upon young Americans, for whom casual fellatio has been widely reported to be commonplace. Clinton survived the ordeal to serve out his second term. Lewinsky experienced some pop culture notoriety that earned her nearly enough money to pay her legal bills. She briefly became a reality television host, launched a moderately successful handbag business, advertised for Jenny Craig’s weight-loss system, and obtained a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics.
“[S]ometimes I’d use my hand — I bit my hand — so that I wouldn’t make any noise.”—Monica Lewinsky
Watch the ABC News report on Clinton’s announcement on August 17, 1998: