In your new book, Prime Time, about the joy of being old, you have a cute exchange with your daughter about making a movie of your life.
Cute? It was very painful. She said, "Why don't you just get a chameleon and let it crawl across the screen?" That was the rap on me--that I was only what the men in my life wanted me to be. Through most of my life, I have been defined by my parents and my husbands. But finally, having done what I call in my book a life review, I understand who I am. I'm a late bloomer to that, but since we live so much longer, it's a wonderful thing.
One theme of your life is gutsiness, which I guess is why you devoted almost 50 pages of this book to sex advice.
I have never found a book that talks about everything from the psyche and spirit and wisdom to penile implants. So I decided that I'd write about as much of the research as I possibly could--everything I wanted to know as a woman who is 73 years old and still sexually active. I see people who aren't traditionally beautiful, but if they're having good sex, you can tell.
Do you go up and ask?
Recently you had an appearance on the QVC home-shopping network canceled because of that photo of you in North Vietnam. Why is that one so hard for people to let go?
That picture was a terrible mistake, and I'm prepared to apologize for it until I go to my grave, because it hurt servicemen and their families in ways that are very profound. But I'm getting comments on my blog from veterans saying, "I've hated you for years, and now I am able to forgive you and ask for forgiveness," and I cannot tell you what that means to me.
You have married three very alpha men, as you put it: Roger Vadim, the creative alpha; Tom Hayden, the political alpha; and Ted Turner, the wealth alpha.
No, no, no, Ted isn't a wealth alpha. Ted is an explorer alpha.
O.K. Which is the bigger aphrodisiac?
Ah. Well. [Laughs.] I would say someone who was an explorer like I am but in a different direction. I've never been turned on to a man who couldn't teach me new things. They all taught me new things, but Ted taught me so much.
Do you find you're mellowing with age?
Yes, and it's wonderful. The natural slowing down that comes with age is really important. One of the reasons Ted and I split up is that Ted does not slow down. Ted lives horizontally, moving across his land and then across the world horizontally--chased, I believe, by demons. I wanted to live vertically, and I told him so, and he wasn't able to change.
Where do you fall on the spectrum of faith?
I'm a Christian. I study the teachings of Jesus, which are that we have to overcome differences, we have to forgive. I was particularly drawn to black churches when I lived in Atlanta, but I do not now go to church.
Do you still have that stripy leotard?
I do! I just found it, way in the back of a storage room. I'm so happy.
What would the older you say to the younger you?
This too shall pass. It's much more important to be interested than to be interesting.