Dolly Parton Opens Up About Sex, Suicide In New Book

In the new book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters With Dolly Parton, the singer makes some surprising revelations about sex, suicide and marriage.

The book, edited by Randy L. Schmidt, was released on May 1.

While Parton declines to say at what age she lost her virginity (“because that would probably be real perverted”), she recalls learning about sex from uncles and older cousins.

“When they would come to visit us, they’d teach us all kinds of meanness or tell us about this or that. And soon as we got a chance, we’d try it,” Parton said.

“I always had an open mind about sex. We all did. It was not a vulgar thing. We didn’t know what we were doin', we just knew we weren’t supposed to let Momma and Daddy know it.

“We would just play doctor and nurse, just explore and experiment.”

Parton admitted she loved sex, which described as “very emotional … very intimate and very real.”

The “I Will Always Love You” songwriter said the end of an “affair of the heart” in the 1980s — rumoured to have been with her band leader Gregg Perry — nearly drove her to suicide.

“I was sitting upstairs in my bedroom one afternoon when I noticed in the nightstand drawer my gun that I keep for burglars,” Parton recalled. “I looked at it a long time … Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs. The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality.

“I don't think I'd have done it, killed myself, but I can't say for sure.”

Parton described her 51-year marriage to Carl Dean as “so totally open and free” and insisted she would “die” if her left her.

In the book, Parton also talked about her childhood and growing up poor. She slept in a bed with as many as three other children — and wasn’t upset when she became, well, an island in the stream.

"That was our most pleasure to get peed on," she recalled. “That was the only warm thing we knew in the wintertime.

“If you kept the air out from under the cover, the pee didn’t get so cold.”