Welcome, everyone, to Sexualized Saturdays. Much like Manga Mondays and Trailer Tuesdays, this is something we’ll try to post every week. The idea behind Sexualized Saturdays is to explore the sexuality of different characters, whether they are heterosexual or queer, or something else entirely. I think I’ve stated before that I’m fascinated by sexuality, so Lady Geek Girl figured she’d make me start off the series by talking about one of my favorite characters: Loki.
Now, to avoid any confusion, I’m going to be talking mostly about Loki as Marvel portrays him, since those are the versions I’m most familiar with. But I did read skim through the Edda a couple times last year. And while I have noticed numerous differences between his sexuality in Marvel and actual mythology, there are some things that remain the same. To start off, I would like to say that I don’t think I’m capable of labeling Loki and putting him into one category because I don’t think he really identifies with either gender. And probably the biggest question surrounding him is whether or not he’s transgender, as opposed to gender fluid.
In mythology, Loki doesn’t seem to have any qualms between being a man or a woman, and for the most part, that’s also true of Marvel Loki. Probably the biggest difference that I’ve noticed between the two versions is that while he sleeps around with just about everyone in mythology, in Marvel Loki seems fairly uninterested in sex. I think the only time I’ve ever seen Loki sleep with someone in the comics was during a four issue series called Loki, which was recently renamed Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers, probably in part due to a new four issue run that’s also called Loki.
But even in Blood Brothers, Loki isn’t so much reluctant to have sex as he is indifferent to it, and he only finally gives in to relieve some stress. While in mythology I would definitely call Loki a sexual person, from my experience reading the comics I would say otherwise. And feel free to message me if you’ve read an issue that indicates differently, but I would say that in the comics he’s either demisexual or asexual, or that if he isn’t, he suppresses his desires in order to pursue other things, like the study of magic or murdering his brother. Whenever the issue of sex may arise for Loki, he does have a certain habit of brushing it aside, and I don’t think he’s ever been really disappointed to not have gotten it.
On top of that, Blood Brothers is a series that admits that not all Marvel issues exist within the same universe, and that Loki hasn’t had all his children from mythology in the comics, both mothered and fathered, in all their issues. Blood Brothers even goes so far as to mention some things from the Edda and say that they have little to no bearing on the Marvelverses, such as Loki being Thor’s adopted brother instead of Odin’s. This is also the run that flat out says Loki did not birth Sleipnir or father Hela, yet both of them still exist within the universe. So for the most part, Marvel does include his children; they just forgo making Loki their parent. Loki’s parenthood is something they seem to like switching back and forth on, depending on the run.
But when it comes to Loki and his sexuality, how often he does or does not have sex doesn’t affect the issue I want to get at. I’ve heard many people say that Loki is transgender, since he switches between being a man and being a woman so often. And to be clear, if he is transgender, he very well may still be asexual, or demisexual, or bisexual, or something else entirely. Or he could just be straight. For the most part, when he’s a man and he does get interested in someone, that someone is always female, but when he’s a woman, he seems to have no qualms playing the seductress to other men.
Merriam-Webster defines being transgender as such:
of, relating to, or being a person (as a transsexual or transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth
In many ways, I do agree with this when it comes to Loki. But in other ways, I don’t. Yes, Loki is a shape shifter. He switches between being a man and being a woman all the time, but when Loki is a man, he identifies as such. And when he’s a woman, he has no problem fitting into the role. Gender means nothing to him in this regard, and I can’t recall a time when he was a woman who acted as a man, or vice versa.
Here’s him pretending to be the Scarlet Witch while in possession of Sif’s body.
For a number of issues in the comics, Loki is actually in possession of Sif’s body, and when he regains his true form, he quotes, “My own hands… my own heart… my own flesh… my own blood! Thus Loki is born anew! Thus Loki is truly beautiful!” So he does desire being in his original form more than being in a female form. But being a woman doesn’t seem to bother him in the least.
There is one point when Loki is manipulating talking to Balder in female form and Fandral of the Warriors Three interrupts by saying, “Loki, even when you thought you were a man, you were not the man you thought you were.” This doesn’t even faze him. Yes, Loki is a master manipulator, but there is no single moment when jabs at his gender or sexuality upset him. He reacts to what Fandral says the same way he reacts to what anyone says to him. In the entire run by J. Michael Straczynski, the only time anyone has ever done anything to get a reaction other than sheer amusement from the trickster is when Balder swings a sword to his neck and threatens to cut his head off.
The only people who really seem call attention to Loki being a woman are other characters and the narrator. Even upon Thor’s shocked reaction at seeing him as a female the first time, Loki pretty much gives a very eloquent, “Yeah, I know, it’s surprising. Get over it, because I already have.” Of course, it could be argued that Loki’s not bothered by it, because he knows he can revert back to being a man at any time, but watching him panel through panel, he does a really good job accessorizing and putting on makeup.
It is because Loki acts like a woman in woman form and like a man when male that I would argue that he’s gender fluid and not transgender. But in the end, who the hell really knows what’s going on in Loki’s head? Maybe he’s some combination of both, or maybe he only does stuff like this for shits and giggles.