Sex, Lies and Pillow Talk

William Butler Yeats once said that sex and death are the only things that can interest a serious mind. If that's the case, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler is as serious as they come. His last book, "Severance," was told through the voices of recently severed heads. His latest, "Intercourse," is about, well, sex—but it's not erotica. Instead, it's the uninhibited inner thoughts of partners throughout history, all (well, most) based on serious historical research.

Who ' s Doing It
Adolf Hitler
Inga Arvard
Robert F. Kennedy
Marilyn Monroe
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton

The Steamy Scene
The place: Berlin, 1935: Hitler's office, during an interview with the reporter. "It was a long session, and people speculated on the teeny bit that came out of it," says Butler. Hitler's thoughts: Jews, and the perfect Aryan mouse beneath him. Hers: his violet eyes.

Ten minutes and counting, 1962: RFK compares himself to John. "I can hear her saying inside her head, Oh, General, yes, you are ever so much better in bed than the president." Then, Marilyn: as Butler puts it, "trying to find her identity with all these men."

Late spring, 1971: Even in bed, Hillary has here eye on the prize, says Butler. Bill thinks of his bride to be: "She's smart and she's tough and I don't want to lose her but before she's done here I've got to figure out how to get on top."