Official White House Photo of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in 1997

Women: Do Not Offer Oral Sex to Powerful Men

Three Decades Later, Monica Lewinsky is Still Blamed and Shamed

Amy Sterling Casil
6 min readAug 5, 2022


A few years ago, I mentioned via social media that Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk about bullying was making an impression on students coming into my college classrooms. They were being asked to watch her TED Talk and read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

An NYC book editor (responsible primarily for romance novels) attacked me online for at least 24 hours to make sure I knew that Monica Lewinsky was a “home-wrecker” who deliberately targeted older, powerful men. This editor wanted to make absolutely certain I knew that Monica was bad, evil, wrong, and 100% responsible for the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.

If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought this female editor had time-traveled to now from back in Puritan days in the 1700s.

The harmful human behavior highlighted in Lewinsky’s true story and the fictional tale of Hester Prynne’s “Scarlet Letter” is today called “slut-shaming.”

Most of what I write is practical. There is no reason to discuss philosophy when the situation for young women is worse today than it was in 1997 when Monica Lewinsky, her dress, and her late-night phone sex with the U.S. President became the world’s gossip.

I had just begun to teach college classes when the main topic of discussion among young students turned into a debate over:

Does oral sex count as sex?

The young guys generally did not consider blow jobs to be full-on “sex.” Classes were split about 50–50 as to whether giving oral sex to someone else while in a committed relationship was “cheating.” People were selling “Monica’s kneepads.” I even had a Monica Lewinsky wig, despite the fact that I’d learned a few years earlier that — blondes might not have more fun but they did get treated significantly better by random men than women with dark hair.



Amy Sterling Casil

Over 500 million views and 5 million published words, top writer in health and social media. Author of 50 books, former exec, Nebula nominee.