Forensic Linguistics: The Problems of Definitions

Did Bill Clinton Have Sex With Monica Lewinsky?

Term Paper, 2013

5 Pages, Grade: 3,0



The question if the former US president Bill Clinton had sex with the 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky in the year 1998 is a question with different possible answers.

The president´s answer was “no”. The media´s answer was “yes”. But which answer is the correct one?

To find out the truth, one problem is found: The problem of definition. The opinions offered in this paper are the author´s very own opinions and definitions as well as the media´s.

Also, Bill Clinton´s and Monica Lewinksy´s opinions and statements are shown. In the end, the question raised above is answered.

1 The story

In 1998, Monica Lewinsky had been an intern at the White House for 3 years (Pearson Education: 2007). President Bill Clinton was married to his wife, Hillary Clinton. She, Monica, soon started a personal relationship to Bill Clinton and revealed it to her colleague, who then started monitoring her phone calls which served to be the proof for the later investigation. (ibid.)

At the said night in 1995, Bill Clinton is said to have had a blow job given by Monica Lewinsky (CNN: 1998). This, for him, does not mean a sexual relation, as becomes clear in his later statement when the rumour had widely spread and he was forced to face them (Wikipedia: 2013):

Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again : I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you!

Thus Bill Clintons definition becomes clear. According to him he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky, obviously only she had sex with him in that moment as she gave him a blow job. Lewinsky´s statements of the situation were not existent. She refused to talk about the events. But after some time, she handed in a blue, stained dress with Clinton´s DNA on it as a prove, as he had been denying the relationship repeatedly and under oath (which lead to an impeachment trial that failed in the end).

After this had proven Bill Clinton to be a liar (or to possess a different definition than the media and judges) he was forced to admit an “improper, inappropriate physical relationship” (Bill Clinton: 1998 on National Television, transcript by to Monica Lewinsky.

The perjury charges that followed this insight of Clinton are interesting for this paper as well, as they reflect the problems of defining the term “sexual relation”. They are discussed later on.

2 The media´s view

As already described above, the media soon followed the tracks after the rumours had spread. When searching for definitions in the media the definition of the term sex is found in the medical dictionary as follows (The Free Dictionary, 2013: Sexual Intercourse): “Mutual Exchange”, “coitus” and “any physical contact between two individuals involving stimulation of the genital organs of at least one. “

For this paper, the last definition is interesting. Here, it does not say that the contact has to be of mutual action, but of mutual contact, which oral sex is. It even stresses the part “of at least one”, which was the case in the “Monicagate” scandal. According to this definition, Bill Clinton did have sex with Monica Lewinsky.

When asked whether Bill Clinton did have sex with Monica Lewinsky, the following answer is found in the media (Wiki answers, 2013):

It was only confirmed that oral sex took place on one occasion. There is no evidence to date that any sexual intercourse happened, though there is speculation that there were other occurrences and that there was intercourse.

Here, sexual intercourse is restricted to sexual actions performed by both parties. But is the enjoyment of the actions performed by the other party not taking part in the process of the intercourse, and does taking part in it not mean sexual intercourse?

In the opinion of the author of this paper it is, but opinions differ and raise problems. The Collin´s dictionary states another view (2013):

“the act carried out for procreation or for pleasure in which, typically, the insertion of the male's erect penis into the female's vagina is followed by rhythmic thrusting usually culminating in orgasm “

According to this, Bill Clinton did not have sexual intercourse with Monica Lewinsky.

3 The court´s view

After the media had published these questions, court attended to the matter. In his statement about Monica Lewinsky in the case of Paula Jones, he denied any relationship to the intern under oath (Wiki Answers: 2013). Later, he was charged because of perjury for this. He was found guilty because of contempt of court (ibid.). Thus, the court was not too interested in the case of Bill Clinton having extramarital intercourse, but in having lied under oath. This can even lead to a jail. Clinton´s right to work as a lawyer was taken from him, and he had to pay 90,000 Dollars. Clinton´s false testimony lead even further: A majority of the Republican Congress found this false testimony to be sufficient to strive for a dismissal of office (Wikipedia, 2013: Lewinsky Scandal). In 1999, the result was that Clinton was acquitted with 50 to 50 votes that he was not guilty of obstruction of justice (ibid.). Also this result shows that people were not really sure whether he was guilty or not. The problems of definition were also theirs .

4 Conclusion

Comparing the different opinions shown in this paper, there can not be a definite answer. Monica Lewinsky had oral sex with Bill Clinton, and he had it by her. This seems to be the difference for Clinton himself. As the definition of the term sexual intercourse for the author of this paper includes oral sex, the answer yes is given.

The media differs in their definitions, as can be seen above. In the end, Bill Clinton never overcame the damage to his reputation after the scandal (as the collateral scandals show: Wikipedia 2013: Lewinsky Scandal). But his wife Hillary Clinton never left him, obviously also for her sexual intercourse does not include oral sex. Or does it? She would have to give her definition on sex to answer this.


CNN (1998). A Chronology: Key Moments in the Clinton-Lewinsky-Saga. Retrieved March 19th, 2013, from

PBS (1998). Addressing the Nation by Bill Clinton. Retrieved March 19th, 2013, from

Pearson Education: Information Please Database (2007). Monica Lewinsky: Biography. retrieved March 19th, 2013, from

The Free Dictionary (2013). Sexual Intercourse. Retrieved March 19th, 2013, from

The Collin´s Dictionary (2013). Sexual Intercourse: Definitions. Retrieved on March 19th, 2013, from

Wiki Answers (2013). Did Bill Clinton Have Sex With Monica Lewinsky? Retrieved March 19th, 2013, from

Wiki Answers (2013). Did Bill Clinton commit perjury? Retrieved on March 19th, 2013, from

Wikipedia (2013). Lewinsky Scandal. Retrieved March 19th, 2013, from


Excerpt out of 5 pages


Forensic Linguistics: The Problems of Definitions
Did Bill Clinton Have Sex With Monica Lewinsky?
University of Hildesheim  (Institut für englische Literatur und Sprache)
Forensic Linguistics
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ISBN (eBook)
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379 KB
forensic, linguistics, problems, definitions, bill, clinton, have, with, monica, lewinsky
Quote paper
Svenja Strohmeier (Author), 2013, Forensic Linguistics: The Problems of Definitions, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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