Elvis may have been the king of rock and roll, but you know what they say: Scary is the dong that wears the crown. From regular pillow fights with a circle of barely adolescent “friends” to directing orgies in the presence of his father, he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that just because women throw themselves at you doesn’t mean you can’t send them running.
He Routinely Dated Young Teenagers
Priscilla Presley was famously only 14 when she started dating Elvis, but it turns out that was pretty standard for him. His first real girlfriend was only 15 when he was 19, which is already fairly icky, and as he got older, they largely stayed the same age. That’s likely because…
He Was Obsessed With Virginity
Whether because of his religious beliefs, fear of sexually transmitted disease, or just an appreciation of irony, Elvis preferred virgins, often doing everything but sticking his hound dog in their heartbreak hotel. Once biographer speculated that he “was insecure about his sexual prowess and wanted virgins so they wouldn't have anyone to compare him to as a lover,” and his adult partners did often report being unsatisfied with their royal experiences, so let’s not give this skeeve the benefit of the doubt.
He Had Regular Pillow Fights With Young Fans
Naturally, Elvis’s estate was regularly infested with teenage girls peeking through the fence with the hope of a glimpse of their idol. While most celebrities would simply get a better fence, he actually invited the girls, as young as 14, into his home for pool parties and pillow and tickle fights. They sometimes accompanied him to concerts, leading his bodyguard to christen them “Elvis’s personal traveling show.” Please contain your lunch -- we’ve got a lot of article left.
He Controlled How His Girlfriends Dressed
All the way back to that first girlfriend, Elvis became his girlfriends’ personal stylist, to the point that Priscilla felt like his “living doll.” When she began living with him as a teenager, he bought her a whole new “more adult” wardrobe, insisted she start wearing heavy makeup and dye her hair black and style it to match his, and even color-coordinated their outfits. People of all genders, if your partner starts demanding to twinsie, run.
He Was Something of a Photographer
While Priscilla lived as Elvis’s schoolgirlfriend, he encouraged her to invite her friends over for parties in their underwear (you know, how teenage girls do) that he just happened to document via Polaroid. It wasn’t a casual habit: Elvis “spent hundreds of dollars on Polaroid film” for this very explicit purpose.
He Had Mommy Issues
Plenty of straight men end up dating women who remind them of their mothers, but Elvis was entirely too conscious of it. “He was attracted to women who reminded him of his mother, as Priscilla did with dark hair and beautiful eyes,” one of his friends once told a biographer but presumably did not tell his friend that seeking out children with his mother’s face meant it was therapy time for some reason.
He Scared Off Natalie Wood
Elvis’s relationship with his mother was generally pretty eyebrow-raising, as the two had pet names for each other, communicated in baby talk, and even shared a bed until he was a teenager. It officially became an issue when he was dating Natalie Wood, who was so disturbed by the affection between mother and son, which apparently included him sitting on her lap, that she called her own mom and asked her to make up an excuse for her to leave. To be fair, this is more Gladys Presley being creepy, but the fact remains that a grown man thought there was nothing weird about sitting on his mother’s lap.
He Couldn’t Have Sex With Mothers
Priscilla Presley became pregnant immediately after her wedding, which was a big problem for the rest of her marriage because Elvis had previously told her “that he had never been able to make love to a woman who had a child,” presumably due to, you know, that whole thing. True to his word, Elvis almost entirely stopped having sex with his wife just when he’d started. He did later date an actress who had a child, so he apparently got marginally over it at some point, but maybe hold your applause.
He Conducted Orgies (With His Dad)
If Elvis was sexually weird about his mom, he was way too sexually unweird about his dad. One night after a show in Tampa in 1970, Vernon Presley came looking for his son and found him in a hotel room, directing a group of women in a performance that was far from family-friendly. Still, Elvis’s anger at the friend who’d led his father there “didn’t stop the scheduled entertainment. Vernon just found a place to stand with the rest of us and watched as Elvis began directing the girls like a certain kind of movie director: You touch her here; you kiss her there; hang on to that; hold still.” It’s unknown if they ever looked each other in the eye again.
His Voyeur Mansion
Indeed, Elvis seemed to enjoy sex more as a spectator than a star, to the point of installing two-way mirrors in his Palm Springs mansion so he could watch couples having sex during parties and women changing clothes in the pool house. The house still exists and was even a tourist attraction for a while, but thankfully, it looks like the mirrors are gone.
His Entourage Picked Out Girls For Him (Based On … Interesting Criteria)
Being Elvis’s friend seemed to involve unwittingly signing up for several thankless jobs, and one of them was scoping out girls to present to their leader like room service. They were specifically instructed to prioritize girls who had small and delicate feet, since Elvis had a real foot thing, which must have led to some awkward nightclub banter as the entourage ran out of excuses to get girls to take their shoes off.
Mud Wrestling in White Panties
Eventually, Elvis’s orders to his sexual DoorDashers got more and more specific, culminating in an infamous request to watch teenage girls mud wrestle in nothing but white panties. He apparently “got his fattest charge from masturbating after” the episode, and incidentally, Washington Post writers were just allowed to talk like that in 1981.
He Told a Teenage Girl’s Mother He Wanted “To Raise Her”
In 1960, Elvis became obsessed with the 14-year-old daughter of a nightclub owner and even asked her mother to move with her to Graceland. When this didn’t get the response he wanted, he explained, “I’m not going to do anything. I just want to raise her. I want her to be there as my wife.” Somehow, even with that miscommunication cleared up, she politely declined.
He Struck and Shot At His Girlfriends
Elvis famously enjoyed a good TV-shooting, but he also once shot the headboard of the bed he shared with his sleeping girlfriend after she had suggested that maybe he cool it on the midnight snacks. He claimed he’d asked her again for food and she hadn’t responded -- you know, ‘cause she was sleeping -- so he was just trying to get her attention. Priscilla also remembered “sitting down doing my homework … and when I would look up at him, he would slap me on my forehead and say, ‘Don’t do that, it gives you wrinkles on your forehead.’” Yes, Elvis was Gaston.
He Continued Chasing Virgins Into Middle Age
After his marriage to Priscilla broke down, Elvis had a string of Hollywood affairs, but his long-term relationships still tended to be with young, unknown virgins, although they were at least in their twenties. One was a beauty pageant winner, another a backup singer, and one even worked on Capitol Hill, proving that it was impossible to be too impressive for Elvis to be gross about.
Top image: Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons