As a sexual revolutionary through decades, David Bowie spent years teaching the world sexuality is fluid, hardly restrained by labels or sheltered inside or out of the closet.
In the 1970s, he famously declared himself a “try sexual” — meaning he would try almost anything once (unless it was sex with a dead body, which he reportedly turned down after a mysterious stranger offered it to him). He celebrated sex as a central component in life. He didn’t stop for one moment, not even the morning before his own wedding, when he had a threesome with his bride-to-be and a young hottie he’d picked up along the way.
And as far as his orientation was concerned, it’s impossible to say. He never admitted for sure.
In one instance, just a few months after his first appearance on a British TV show called Top Of The Pops in 1972 (and just five years after homosexual acts were decriminalized in the UK), he announced in an interview with Michael Watts for Melody Maker he was gay.
Although, he later flip-flopped on the declaration, at times calling himself bi and others a homosexual. One such clip shows him describing his sexuality on the UK show Jonathan Ross in 2010.
Throughout his remaining years, he would marry women twice and have children.
The theory is, Bowie probably didn’t know himself. But that alone was powerful to others looking for sexual identity before the conceptual birth of the LGBTQIA+ movement. The editor of GQ Magazine, Dylan Jones, even describes the impact Bowie had coming out, himself a young gay man.
"I didn't find David Bowie at all attractive in any physical way,” he said. “But I loved what he stood for."
Which is the greatest achievement Bowie taught the world about sex. It isn’t about how ridiculously good-looking someone is. Sex has little to do with how someone looks, rather, how open and honest with oneself they truly are.
Before he became “David Bowie,” David Jones was simply average. He had typical British teeth, a lanky figure, and the kind of sunken in face that wasn’t doing him any favors. However in his exploratory periods, he would dye his hair bright red, put on shiny spandex, and then called himself an alien from Mars. To many, that experimentation, along with being a quintessential rock star, made him a sex god.
He took everything others used against him as unattractive qualities and wore them like a sexual armor no one was able to penetrate.
Long before Bowie had so much as written a line of "Space Odyssey" (arguably his first hit), he had already started calling himself the "Bowie knife" — a reference to Mick Jagger’s sexy nickname, Mick "Dagger" — one part of his physique he wanted to draw attention to from the get-go.
There aren’t always Bowies in every generation, and not many can pull off the porn-star nickname as he did. But, there is something sexy about that type of confidence, of being self-assured and doing your own thing. If you own "you," others will want some of it, too.
Turns out, simply loving yourself might be the secret to making other people love you along the way. It's what Bowie did best.
All it took for his charisma to ooze out and magnify his humble appearance was him admitting to himself who he was, and being proud as hell of being him. He wasn’t a chiseled Grecian beefcake — the closest he ever got to working out in a gym was taking too much cocaine and going for a run at 5 a.m. However, Bowie slept with more women than most people in history. Proving once and for all you should spend as much time working on yourself as you do working out.