Sexualized Saturdays: The Angels of Supernatural

First, a history lesson: angels, biblically speaking, are horny bastards. The entirety of the Book of Enoch is all about angels sleeping with human women. Angels in the Bible even have genders. Most tend to be men but there are various books that also include female angels. However, they are also spiritual beings with no physical body. Angels that slept with human women in the Book of Enoch weren’t supposed to because it was against their nature. Furthermore, the angels’ genders seem to not matter, as they have no need to breed, even with each other. Because it seemed unnecessary for angels to have genders or have sex eventually a tradition developed that believed angels had no gender and did not have sex.

Supernatural, especially in the fourth and fifth seasons, draws heavily on these Biblical traditions, but seems like it can’t decide which one they want to go with.

So let’s talk about Supernatural’s angels!

Despite what most fanfic authors seem to believe, the angels in Supernatural aren’t having sex. The only one to date that has had sex is Anna, but she had sex when she was a human, so it really doesn’t count. Castiel, we find out, is a virgin in season five and seems to remain that way even now. But how Castiel and Anna talk about sex is interesting. In season four, Anna tells Dean that one of the good things about being human is sex, implying that angels don’t have sex. In season five, however, Dean asks Castiel if he’s been with a woman or at least another angel. Castiel’s response is simply to say that he never had occasion to do so, implying that angels can have sex. Castiel almost sleeps with a hooker, gets an erection when watching porn, and even makes out with Meg in season six. So I have to assume that Anna either lied to Dean or the writers changed their mind and angels can, in fact, have sex.

I think this partly has something to do with whether or not angels can feel emotions. In season four, Anna describes that angels can’t feel, at least, not like humans. But yet all of them seem to display very intense emotions throughout the show, especially in season five. So I’m assuming the writers maybe wanted the angels to be cold and unfeeling, but that’s really hard to write and have viewers still connect with those characters, so the angels naturally started to become more emotional and later more sexual.

Alright, fangirls, let’s talk about sexuality and gender in our favorite angels. If you follow the Supernatural fandom at all you know that Dean/Castiel is a very favored pairing, so is Sam/Gabriel, Sam/Lucifer, and even Dean/Michael or Dean/Anna. One thing that I love about these fanfics is that the authors take the time explore what gender and sexuality mean to the angels (well, sometimes anyway).

In season six, Castiel describes himself as “a wavelength of celestial intent”, meaning that they probably have no gender. This explains their ease with switching genders in their vessels (their human hosts that they posses). Castiel seemed completely comfortable in Jimmy, his human male vessel, but later seems just as comfortable when possessing Jimmy’s daughter, Claire. The best example of this is from the angel Raphael, who starts off with a male vessel, but when his vessel is destroyed he takes on another female vessel. Dean and Sam are shocked and make fun of him being a woman now, but Castiel and another angel Balthazar seem completely unfazed. The angels do refer to each other as brother and sister though. Castiel even refers to Raphael as brother even after he changes his vessel, but if the angels are “a wavelength of celestial intent” then logically they wouldn’t have a gender and referring to angels in any sort of a gendered way is probably more for Sam and Dean’s benefit. So we can assume that the angels are nongender (meaning they identify as neither gender) with the capability of being gender fluid when inhabiting various vessels.

This brings us to the issue of sexuality. If the angels don’t have the bias male and female notions of gender like humans do, then we can assume that no angel would be strictly heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Gabriel seems to favor only women in the show, however, and while Balthazar has only been seen flirting with women he mentions being in an orgy with twenty people. I think we can safely assume that there were some guys there. Castiel has only been with women, though he hasn’t actually had sex. He has made out with a female hooker and Meg, but portraying the angels only as heterosexual seems disingenuous to me. If they have no gender then they would most likely be either pansexual, demisexual, or possibly asexuals. In other words, any of the various sexualities were gender is not at all an issue. Castiel probably wouldn’t understand why Dean gets so upset when people accuse him of being gay, because Castiel and every other angel would not understand why gender would be a factor.

So there you have it. The angels of Supernatural are nongender (potentially gender fluid) pansexuals, demisexuals, or asexuals.

This just makes logical sense and even speaks to the minority of people that do identify with these gender identities and sexualities. Wouldn’t it be nice if this was shown more in Supernatural? I think so.

Sexualized Saturdays: Sherlock

The BBC’s Sherlock series is different on a number of levels. For one thing, they’re the first really popular modern reboot of the concept of Sherlock Holmes that has stayed mostly true to Conan Doyle’s canon (as opposed to shows that draw on the stories’ ideas like House).  Secondly, as the title of this clip points out, it is the first Holmes series to ever discuss sexuality within the canon of the show.

This clip is a large part of the evidence people use to argue that Sherlock (at least the BBC’s version) is asexual.  (Now, many Doyle afficionados have speculated that Sherlock is asexual before based on the original source material.  But this is the first time Sherlock’s sexuality has been an explicit part of the discussion.)  Other evidence people point to is his complete obliviousness to come-ons from various people from Molly to Irene and his lack of interest in forming relationships with other people (besides John).

He can’t be called a straight-up ascetic, because he indulges in other sins of the flesh – most notably ‘recreational’ substances.  The most difficult part of trying to box up Sherlock’s sexuality is that he’s also often described (both within the show and by the writers in interviews) as being “Aspergerish”.  I’m no expert on the autism spectrum, and a character can certainly be both Aspergers and asexual, but a lot of fans find it hard to judge whether Sherlock’s disinterest in sex is related to his asexuality, his mental state, or both.

There is a whole meme for Sexually Oblivious Sherlock.

It’s interesting to note that the biggest sexuality-related backlash I’ve seen to the ‘Sherlock is asexual’ line of thought is ‘NO HE’S GAY WITH WATSON’, not ‘NO HE’S STRAIGHT AND YOU’RE WEIRD.’  And that’s not just within Sherlock/John shipping communities.  I have friends who have never actually heard the word ‘shipping’ in their lives that point out the pair’s slashy, UST-filled moments every time we watch an episode together.

Here’s the thing, though: I wouldn’t argue that Sherlock is aromantic.  Consider, if you will, this actual commercial edited together and aired by a Korean network that was broadcasting the show.

Sherlock has said numerous times that he cares for John in a way that he cares for no one else, and he goes to extreme efforts to help John in the same way that John does drastic, reckless, and sometimes illegal things to help Sherlock.  (I do hold that John is in love with Sherlock and hasn’t come to terms with the fact that he’s bi yet, but that’s a story for another Saturday.)

And I’ve already expressed my opinions on how tired I am of the constant recycling of the Irene Adler character and subsequent romantic developments between her and Sherlock in my Game of Shadows review, but given the lengths to which Sherlock goes to help her in “A Scandal in Belgravia,” it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t care for her in some way.

So we arrive at a theory: that Sherlock is a biromantic asexual.  But I think that needs one more tweak.  Sherlock as I understand him doesn’t really see gender. I’d posit that he’s panromantic rather than biromantic.  So there you go.  Only Sherlock himself can give the definitive answer, and I’m not sure I trust showwriter Steven Moffat (with whom I have a very complicated relationship) to stay true to the character in the end.  But you heard it here: Lady Saika thinks that, given the evidence and if you force her to label his sexuality, the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes is a panromantic asexual.

Sexualized Saturdays: Loki

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.