What's really noteworthy about Kirk's affairs with women is that we NEVER ONCE saw him meet a woman, choose her, court her, win her, and end up in bed with her ~while he was in control of the situation and master of his own fate~.
Sure, he had sex a couple of times, but he was not in command of the situation at the time. The few times we saw him actively interested in a woman, he never had a chance to take it all the way, as I shall now explain:
Kirk apparently had sex for sure _two_ times while Captain of the Enterprise in TOS:
1) With Mirimanee, his wife, in Paradise Syndrome. They no doubt had intercourse, probably many times. We know this because they were married for weeks, and she became pregnant.
2) With Queen Deela, who held him captive at the time. She wanted him for her consort. He played along while looking for vulnerabilities. She was an enemy woman whom he was planning to overthrow and escape.
Another notable one, Drusilla, the slave woman who was presented to him as a gesture of respect, while he was imprisoned in Bread and Circuses: She had no choice, and he didn't really have much choice either. We can't be 100% sure that he had sex with her, although they had the opportunity. We only saw them kiss. It wasn't like he was allowed to pick his favorite from a line-up. They were both enslaved at the time.
NOTE: At no time was Kirk 100% in command of his fate in the above situations. He was required by tribal law to marry Mirimanee, plus he had amnesia and was not himself. She had no choice, and neither did he. It's pure good luck that they liked each other.
In TOS, we learn that Kirk apparently once had a sexual relationship with Janice Lester, but that was in the past. Other women from his past are mentioned, but it's not made clear how far those affairs went.
In the second ST movie we meet Carol Marcus, mother of his adult son. Obviously their affair is a thing long past. There is no sign that they ever loved or even liked each other. There is no mention of them ever making love. They can barely stand to be polite to each other. For all we know, Dr. Marcus is a Dyke that used Kirk for sperm, and that's it. He possibly didn't even ever have sex with her. She granted him no parental rights at all, and he apparently never demanded any.
In the movie Generations we learn Kirk regrets the way he mishandled his affair with "Antonia", a person whom we never get a good look at. We don't even know for sure that "Antonia" represents a real woman. She could be as unreal as Picard's children. We don't know that they ever even were friends in real life. He's in the Nexus -he could just be dreaming about an unrequited love affair. Or maybe it's really Picard's fantasy about Kirk.
Kirk is attracted to the rare women. He was apparently tempted in these cases:
1) He was infatuated with Edith Keeler.
2) He was maybe tempted by his mirror-universe twin's girlfriend in Mirror, Mirror.
3) He obviously actually had the red-hots for Shana in Gamesters of Triskelion.
4) He fell hard for the android lady in Requiem for Methuselah.
5) He was chemically ensnared by Elaan's magical tears in Elaan of Troyius.
6) He apparently spent a whole evening flirting with Helen Noel, but seems to have found this embarrassing later. Perhaps he was drunk when it happened. Later, he was mechanically hypnotized into believing he was in fact nuts about her, but they certainly never had a chance to do anything about it.
7) He enjoyed seducing and being seduced by Lenore Karidian, but although we saw them kissing, we never saw anything that indicated it went further. We have reason to believe it didn't: Kirk was still alive. She was planning to kill him, and if they had gotten alone for long she probably would have. It's important to note that in this episode Spock flatly denied that Kirk could possibly be simply interested in the woman.
8) His evil half unsuccessfully tried to rape Yeoman Rand in "Enemy Within".
9) Then there's Nona, the evil seductress in Private Little War that used a drug on him. Shame on her: she was a married woman! She too was unsuccessful.
He never finished what he started with any of these characters.
Kirk furthermore used his powers of seduction to unnerve enemy females in these cases:
1) The alien invader gal in By Any Other Name.
2) The alien Sylvia in Catspaw.
NOTE: neither one of them was actually a woman.
We saw Jim flirting, or actively engaged in a more serious seductive effort a few times, but those didn't go anywhere. He got laid twice, but it was not really his idea. So how many times in all of TOS did Kirk seduce and bed a woman of his own choice? Here's your answer:
~ ZERO ~
Many women showed interest in Jim, but it looks like he was just humoring many of them. He did put his hands on almost every woman guest-star TOS had, but it may be demonstrated that *that* means nothing at all: Kirk grabs everybody. He's just a grabby guy.
Kirk grabs *Spock* more than any other person you can name. If you think grabbing somebody means something, then you have to count Kirk and Spock's many close encounters of the touchy-feely kind.
People who think that Gay men never embrace and make love to women are wrong. The truth is, most homosexuals at least experiment with heterosexual relationships, especially when they are young. This is true about Lesbians, too.
Many Gay men even marry, and have families, before finally deciding after all that they are Gay. Kirk strikes me as that sort of a fellow. He certainly is capable of being interested in women on rare occasions, and he is apparently at least somewhat functional with them... but most Gay men could say the same.
Kirk's masochism goes a long way toward smoothing out his relationships with women. We only see him mate while he is in captivity. Could be he needs that to even get it up.
Kirk does seem very masochistic to me. I'll bet he'd get off on being tied up and toyed with by a woman. In fact, he submits easily to women. With men, I believe he'd prefer to be taken by force. I personally know lots of bisexual kinkos who are like that: one set of rules for one sex, and another for the other. The polarity of the sexes is an idea that appeals to Kirk. He has one set of behaviors for women, and a whole other set for men. He rather fumblingly tried to explain his philosophy to Charlie in _Charlie X_:
"There's no right way to hit a woman. Man to man is one thing, but man to woman is, uh, it's uh...well, it's another thing!"
I know Kirk threatens the Dolman in Elaan of Troyius with a spanking, but he's not offering her an erotic spanking, he's threatening to treat her like she's a naughty brat, which is what she is acting like. When women act ladylike, Kirk treats them like ladies. He's a big believer in that.
NOTE: Kirk doesn't automatically treat women like ladies. His default is to treat them like people. Kirk often seems to not notice that a woman is a woman.
Jim Kirk doesn't get all macho with women. He actually is submissive with a woman. If he likes her, and the situation permits it, then he gets all gooey and sappy. He smiles warmly into her eyes a lot, and generally he softens his manner. Instead of going on about himself and his own fabulous life, he talks to her about herself and her own interests. He tries to figure out what the woman wants, then proceeds to give it to her. His objective seems to be to play whatever role the woman seems to want him to play. He becomes open to the woman's ideas, and he encourages her to fantasize.
For example, with Queen Deela (Wink of an Eye) Kirk seduced her simply by acting like she wanted him to: he became cooperative and mild-mannered. She mightily approved of this change in his demeanor, which shows he guessed right about what she would like.
In Paradise Syndrome Kirk had amnesia, but he still did the same dang thing. He was required by tribal law to marry Mirimanee, the tribal High Priestess, and she was pretty and nice, so he didn't really have a problem with it. He hit the ground running, slipping easily into the role of Priestess's consort, and both he and the lady apparently enjoyed themselves immensely. She very much approved of Kir-ok as a lover. What a lucky break that they actually ended up liking each other. Kirk gets laid again, without acting bossy with the woman even once.
Kirk maybe got laid in Bread and Circuses, *again* without going to any effort whatsoever. He (again) was in captivity at the time. His captor provided him with a woman for fun without Kirk even asking for one. The slave-lady-person looked gorgeous: hair perfectly coifed, etc. She took one look at Kirk and broke into a beautiful smile. How lucky can a slave-lady-person get!? The guy is actually good-looking and sexy! Hot dog! Bet she couldn't wait to get to work. Betcha she practically tackled him. Betcha all Kirk would have had to do was to lay back and enjoy it.
Kirk was coming on pretty strong with Shana In Gamesters of Triskelion. Man, I don't know if it was being in captivity, being forced to wear a leather harness all the time, all the whippings and torture n stuff, or having this hot chick for a trainer, or all of these, but he could hardly contain himself. He didn't know whether to fight to escape, or fight to stay, poor guy. The situation was a masochist's paradise. Kirk was so enthralled with the way they punish people there that he was asking for other people's punishment too. Poor guy was utterly discombobulated by this situation; completely out of his tree. It was all just too much!
Who is the single most important person in Kirk's life? *Spock*. Their "friendship" is deeply devoted, mutually beneficial, withstands incredible trials, and spans decades. Even Spock's death doesn't keep them apart.
It's highly significant that their relationship also apparently has a kinky side.
Let's talk about Spock. Could he be Gay? Let's consider this question by looking at Spock's TOS relationships with women:
Let's face it: Spock's no Don Juan.
*Uhura: Comes on to Spock, gets the cold shoulder. Doesn't give up. Ultimately they become friends, and can be seen making music together for the entertainment of their shipmates.
* Chapel: Comes on strong to Spock, gets rebuffed with an apology. Doesn't give up. He finally breaks down and lets her bring him a bowl of soup. On one occasion she actually gets to host his katra for a while, and clearly finds it a personal high point.
* Leila Kalomi: Comes on strong to Spock, gets the cold shoulder. When they meet again years later, she gets him high on magic spores and ends up babysitting him as he goes through a second childhood. When the spores effect wears off, he tells her to shove off.
* T'Pring: Spock goes home to her with manifest regret. He is plainly not in love with her, and the feeling is plainly mutual. Nothing comes of it. They both are equally glad to get shed of each other. Spock OTOH, is overjoyed to see Kirk again, and the feeling is clearly mutual.
* The blond space hippy chick: Spock seems to be flirting with her and makes music with her, apparently toward no obvious end except to make Kirk jealous and pissed off. It apparently works.
* Droxine: Spock humors her and lets her dream a little. Nothing comes of it. This is Spock using a tactic he maybe learned from Kirk.
* The Romulan Commander: Spock humors her and lets her dream a little. Spock seduces enemy chick, "the James Kirk way!" (tm). Clearly, Spock has now hit the big time. What did you expect? Kirk's a great teacher!
* Zarabeth: This was a very unusual situation. Spock finds himself in a cave with a good-looking, desperately horny redhead in a leather bikini, and the presence of Dr. McCoy is clearly cramping his style. Spock can't keep his hands off the woman, and she clearly thinks that's dandy. They maybe make love, at one point. At the end, Spock nearly chucks his fleet career to stay alone in the lonely cave for the rest of his life with Zarabeth, but McCoy can't return unless Spock goes too. Spock is forced to choose between a life with Zarabeth, the doctor, and himself, and a life with Captain Kirk, the doctor, and himself. He makes the logical choice, and has no regrets. NOTE: in this episode it's explicitly emphasized that Spock is under the influence of some weird effect that makes him "not himself".
In This Side Of Paradise we are shown another time where Spock could have gotten some tail. He had a willing woman, he had the opportunity, and there was a time lapse and a change of clothes. All highly suggestive. Kirk criticizes Spock for "making love" to Leila. Now, Spock *might* have made love, or it might just be Kirk's interpretation of what he saw. His "make love" complaint occurs at the same time he says many other insulting things that are not literally true. He didn't actually see Spock making love and all we saw was Spock kissing the girl. The rest of the time that he's intoxicated, Spock acts more like a big kid than a lover. Still, a time lapse occurs right after Spock tells this woman he could love her, and then the next time we see him, he's wearing different clothes. It is highly suggestive. If they wanted to make love, they had time.
I'm willing to grant this one. I don't see anything wrong with Spock getting laid by a woman now and then. Like Kirk, Spock gets a rare piece of female tail too, even though he really makes no great effort to seek women out. Women go after him *way* more than he goes after them. When Spock has a woman in his arms, it's because she volunteered to climb him like he's an E-Ticket ride at the fair, *not* because he asked her to. Most times the only reason he has his hands on a woman is because he's pushing her away, as when he fights off Chapel in Naked Time. In fact, Spock usually seems to actively dislike women. Harry Mudd loudly announces, in both Mudd's Women, and I, Mudd, that Spock is obviously incapable of appreciating women, and Spock doesn't argue the point. In fact, he seems to agree.
YES, Kirk and Spock could be Gay. I've known, and know, lots of Gay men and women who enjoy a rare heterosexual encounter, or who went Gay only after having regular families, and such. It does happen. Kirk and/or Spock could be bisexual. Who says they have to be totally Gay to be lovers? Just because a guy has sex with a woman doesn't mean he would never do a guy. Kirk and Spock have many, many very convenient chances to be doing all kinds of things together, behind the scenes, where we don't see.
Gene Roddenberry admitted in an interview that they do love each other well enough that sex would not be out of the question. In fact, it's because of Roddenberry and his direct influence that the guys seem Gay at all. GR envisioned the Kirk/Spock relationship as a love relationship from the start, and he explicitly asked the writers to portray it that way. And they agreed, and gave him what he asked for. Bear in mind that none of that would be in the show at all if it hadn't deliberately been put there.
We're not talking bloopers and bad takes. We are talking about what was crafted into the show with great care.
GR did *many* things that encouraged the K/S interpretation. For example, in The Motion Picture novel, he coined a Vulcan word, T'hy'la, to label their relationship with, apparently because the word "friend" wasn't all-encompassing enough. T'hy'la translates to "friend/brother/lover".
Just because Kirk and Spock might be bisexual or Gay, and just because they love each other, doesn't automatically mean that they are lovers. Why do so many people think they are?
I detail in other essays the many ways Kirk and Spock seem like much more than good friends, but the idea that they must be lovers came from the episode Amok Time, as I shall explain:
We learned about Pon Farr in TOS, and at that time Spock compared himself to a salmon returning home to spawn. He offered an unequivocally *biological* explanation. BTW, the manifestations of Pon Farr were also clearly biological, not merely psychological. Spock suffered from fever, wild mood swings, loss of appetite, memory lapses, and tremendous physical and emotional tension. Dr. McCoy told Captain Kirk that Spock's condition was as if huge amounts of adrenaline were being pumped into his bloodstream. McCoy's medical opinion was that Spock wasn't going crazy, he was in mortal danger. Because Kirk was convinced that his friend Spock would die otherwise, Jim risked his career by disobeying orders to take Spock home.
Being half-human, Spock was atypical. He amazed T'Pau when he struggled up from the depths of Plak Tow to plead for Jim to be excused from fighting. Despite Spock's mentally and emotionally disordered state, Spock was able to offer some perfectly reasonable excuses for Jim. T'Pau refused to consider it, because apparently it was very weird for one combatant to plead for the life of another. I wouldn't be surprised if there were no precedent.
After the fight, instead of claiming his bride, Spock oddly became calm and decided to forget about T'Pring and return to the ship without assuaging his mating drive. He joyfully embraced Jim at the end (which Jim apparently liked). Then the two ran off together. This was the happy ending! This, among other things, led some people to conclude that Spock and Kirk might be Gay lovers.
There are hundreds of other hints, some quite heavy-handed and obvious, liberally sprinkled throughout TOS and in the TOS crew movies which only encourage this interpretation. But the hints are non-overt, or ambiguous, and that makes them subtle enough that many people can still shout that they don't see any. Some folks don't see them even when the bits in question are pointed out to them. I'm sure that _that_ is because they resist the idea, not because the idea has no merit.
One thing people say to K/Sers is that there are no overt, obvious signs that Kirk or Spock are definitely Gay. Well, of course there are not. It was a 1960's TV show that was intended for a general audience. But if you believe the movie "The Celluloid Closet", it wouldn't be the first time Gay characters were carefully concealed, artfully packaged for general consumption.
Remember the Monty Python bit about the advantages of not being seen? The advantage of not being seen is that you make a poor target when you are not seen by your enemies. TOS wouldn't have lasted three seasons if it had been overt. You can't infiltrate subversive ideas with your TV show if nobody sees the TV show, right? If you want to be seen without being recognized by your enemies as a target, then you can't simply hide, because then you wouldn't be seen at all. No, in a case like that you have to do a little thing that is called "Hiding in plain sight".
When you hide in plain sight, you are seen, but you are not seen for what you are, except by the right people.
Gays have been hiding in plain sight for centuries. If you don't see any around you, it's not because they are not there, it's because you don't see them. When someone is hiding in plain sight anyone can see them, but only someone who knows how to see them can see them for what they are. Only someone who wants to see, and knows what to look for, can see.
Kirk and Spock are hiding their relationship in plain sight. The reason why they are hiding in a 1960's TV show is because you can't be obvious in a 1960's TV show, but why might they be hiding in the 2200s?
For the same reason that Spock didn't broadcast the fact that he was Ambassador Sarek's son: because Spock and Kirk are highly visible military men, meaning they are highly visible military targets. The less people in general know about their relationships, then the less likely it is that that info could be used against them or their loved ones by enemies. Get it?
Kirk and Spock don't act like they are hiding their relationship from their comrades. They are discreet, that is all. Still, the very deep intimacy they share and great fond regard they have for each other couldn't be plainer, and it certainly is beyond what ordinary good friends enjoy. It's also fairly plain that their closest friends and comrades know what's going on, and accept it.
The indisputable truth is this: Kirk and Spock's relationship with each other is their primary relationship. It goes on for decades and withstands all manner of crushing trials. Even death doesn't keep them apart. That's verifiable canon. Nobody can convincingly deny that. That Kirk and Spock love each other more than they love anybody else is utterly obvious. That is not imaginary, nor accidental. That was intentionally placed in the show by the show's creators, and it was in fact spotlighted in nearly every TOS story, and in the movies, too.
Kirk and Spock love each other, and that is no minor point: their unusual love for each other is a large part of what makes Star Trek unique. In fact, their relationship - and the way their relationship is respected by others - symbolizes what Star Trek is all about.
All site contents Copyright L. Goodwin 1990 - 2002
Back to details
Back to SSTO