Love ≠ Sex
by Weird Little Stories
Jim Kirk reminisces about his life...
In love with Spock? Of course I'm in love with Spock — have been for years — and he with me, and that relationship is richer and more fulfilling than anything I ever expected to have, as a boy growing up. The only problem is that I'm completely heterosexual ... and so is Spock.
Oh, so you want the details? Well, I'll tell you.
Romantics usually assume that love and sex go hand-in-hand, and if you're lucky, they do. But not everyone is lucky. Or at least, not lucky in that way. I've been amazingly lucky, to get command of a starship in the first place and to fall in love with the finest person in the galaxy shortly after that. We're in tune with each other in a way that's rare, even in married couples, and I'm experienced enough — in both love AND sex, thanks — to know to hang on to this love with both hands. But that doesn't mean it's been easy. Loving a Vulcan isn't exactly simple, even for me, and having love and sex be completely separate, well, neither Earth nor Vulcan has a good model of how that sort of relationship works.
Tried it? Of course we've tried it! Do you think I'm stupid? And even if I were, Spock certainly isn't. We're both professional explorers, for god's sake — going into new, untried territory is what we do, practically who we are.
You want to hear about it? Hell, it'd be funny if it weren't so sad, and yet it's really not the tragedy that most people expect. A lot of people expect Spock to be reticent or awkward, but Spock's the bravest man I know, and as the first human-Vulcan hybrid in history, his entire LIFE has been about breaking new ground. We were as in tune in our mutual sexual explorations as we are with everything else, and we were in complete agreement when we decided that it wasn't working.
Well, let me back up a bit. You know Spock served on the Enterprise for more than a decade before I took command of her, right? He'd been Chris Pike's science officer for years, and when Pike was kicked upstairs and Number One decided to retire, Pike recommended Spock for first officer in the strongest possible terms. I'd expected Spock to resent having a new captain for the ship that he'd served on for eleven years and change, but it wasn't like that.
In the beginning, before I knew the Enterprise's every quirk like I know my own body, Spock provided me with whatever knowledge of the ship I needed, all without undermining me or implying that there was anything lacking in my knowledge or understanding. He could have made me look ridiculous half a dozen times during that first week aboard, as I was gaining knowledge of the ship as she actually was and not what was written in the specs and blueprints, but he didn't. He was quietly supportive, almost too deferential, and completely on top of everything without making me feel like he was trying to take over.
First officer was as new of a role for him as captain was for me, but you'd never have known it from his performance. From the very first day, he absolutely nailed it, keeping the ship running at top efficiency without overstepping in the slightest. I still don't know how he does it; I think maybe it's because he's a Vulcan, and his ego is a lot different than mine. Smaller? I'm not sure it's actually smaller, just different — I know damned well that he takes a lot of pride in being the perfect First, and if I have trouble wrapping my mind around being proud of being a great First while having zero ambition for being a captain, well, that's my lack of imagination, not any lack in him.
I was all too conscious of how much I was relying on him during that first week, and it would have been easy to resent a First who was that perfect if he'd had the slightest whiff of smugness about him or the slightest hint of disrespect for me. But he didn't, so I didn't. I was grateful that I had such a great back-up while I was learning the reality of my ship, someone who gave me everything I needed but who treated me like a captain. I didn't realize until later that Spock was deliberately being extra deferential during those first few weeks, to help me acclimate to my new role and to set the tone for the rest of the crew. HE treated me like I walked on water, so the crew did, too, and after just a couple of weeks, I relaxed into my new role and truly FELT like a captain. Once I did, Spock was appropriately deferential, but he didn't bend over backwards the way he did during those early days. He claims not to understand human emotions, but don't let him kid you — he understands at least some of them very well, and he can play me like that damned Vulcan lyre when he wants to.
So in the beginning, I was impressed by his knowledge — not just of the ship but of every damned thing — and grateful to him for making my transition to captain as easy as it was. But once I relaxed into the role, he started letting out his sense of humor. I hadn't expected a Vulcan to HAVE a sense of humor, and I don't actually know whether or not other Vulcans do, but Spock certainly does. Maybe growing up with a human mother taught him that, maybe serving with us for so many years taught him that, or maybe he has the sense of humor that outsiders have always had. Growing up half human on Vulcan, maybe he had to develop a wicked sense of humor just to survive.
Once I'd learned my new ship thoroughly, I went from HAVING to spend a lot of time with Spock to WANTING to spend a lot of time with Spock, and he seemed just as eager to spend time with me as I was to spend it with him. Oh, he didn't show it in the same way that I did — he's a Vulcan, after all — but I could read him fairly well even in the beginning, and experience only improved my ability to translate "I would not be averse to a game of chess" into "Sure, I'd love to play with you."
The longer we served together, the more I admired him, and the more he admired me back. We're alike in all the ways that truly matter, but we also have some differences, and where I came to rely on his having a cool head in the most difficult of circumstances, he came to rely on my having intuitions in situations where there WAS no data for him to process. He appreciated my easy way with the crew, my genuine enjoyment of social time with all 429 of them; it was the one thing a captain needs that he didn't have, and with his intellect, of course he knew it. I appreciated so many things about him that we'd be here all day if I tried to list them all, so just take it as read that he's wonderful, and I know it.
But we weren't only learning to appreciate each other as officers, we were coming to appreciate each other as friends, as well. I make casual friends as easily as I breathe, but command can be a lonely job, and truly deep friendships were nearly as rare for me as they were for him. By our second year serving together,  during our disastrous and nearly fatal mission to Psi 2000, Spock confessed that his friendship with me was deep enough for him to feel ashamed of the intensity of his emotions. He eventually got over that, though he never got over me. :-)
Then Spock's pon farr happened, and I risked my career to get him to Vulcan so that he wouldn't die. Our friendship was deep enough by that point that there was no question that it was worth possibly giving up my career in order to save his life, but I was still thinking in terms of friendship — very deep, but still friendship — when his fiancée came on the main viewscreen and said that she awaited him.
I felt a burst of jealousy, and I knew what that meant. If we'd been going to marry off Bones, I'd have only been happy for him. Oh, sure, I'd worry that he'd spend enough time with his new wife that maybe we couldn't have some of the long bull sessions we used to have, and I'd worry that she might not want him to drink as much as he did, but that kind of worry is different from romantic jealousy.
Before Spock, I'd have said "sexual" jealousy, but I now know that romance and sex can be separate — truly separate — and my feelings about Spock are romantic ones. Oh, we're still friends, still best friends, even, but there's a ... how do I put this? There's a glow about romantic partners, an excitement, a frisson of feeling that just isn't there with friends. A person can have some of those "falling in love" feelings when making a new friend, especially if the friendship comes on fast and goes deep, but that excitement, that glow, are different for friends and don't last the same way. He's my partner, my permanent life partner, and that's different than being a friend, even a very good one.
Events moved fast while we were on Vulcan, and I didn't have a lot of time to think things through then. But afterwards, after we left Vulcan and made our way towards Altair, then I had some time to think. I realized that I was relieved that Spock hadn't gotten married after all, and it wasn't because I'd thought he was going to quit Starfleet and stay on Vulcan with his bride. No, it was clear from the beginning that he was only going to marry this woman because his biology was forcing it, and he intended to return to the ship, to Starfleet, and to me. But I realized that I didn't want him marrying anyone else. He was first in my life, not just First on my ship, and I wanted to be first in his ... no, it's more like I KNEW I was first in his.
So we talked. We had a little talking to do, anyway, to make sure the air between us was clear, after his having nearly killed me during our fight on Vulcan, but that went as quickly as I'd thought it would. I didn't blame Spock for almost killing me — T'Pau had made it pretty clear that it was astonishing that he could come out of the plak tow even long enough to beg for my life — and he'd known I wouldn't blame him. Given the barrier at the edge of the galaxy that gave godlike powers to some of my crew, the Psi 2000 virus that drove us all insane, the transporter accident that divided me into halves, the spores on Omicron Ceti III that induced the entire crew to mutiny, and the parasites on Deneva that controlled everyone they touched with blinding pain, we'd had a LOT of experience with forces beyond a person's control, and we'd long since settled on a policy of not blaming individuals for things they did under the influence of external forces. I suppose pon farr wasn't technically external, but it felt that way to Spock, and it was certainly clear that he wasn't himself.
What we did talk about was my newfound discovery that my feelings for him had crossed the line from deep friendship into romance. He told me that part of why he didn't want to go to Vulcan and marry T'Pring was because he didn't want anyone in his life to have a bigger claim on him than I did, and he'd realized that he saw me as his life partner, as well. So once again we were in tune, not just having the same feelings but realizing it at the same time and for the same reasons.
Now that Spock had been through pon farr, he was no longer the asexual person he'd been during the first couple of years of our mission. He hadn't had sex while he was on Vulcan — I wouldn't have touched T'Pring with a ten-foot pole, myself, for all that she was beautiful — but he was capable of it now and wanted it now, but he wasn't completely certain that he wanted it with me. He was definitely in love with me, but he found me attractive only in an aesthetic sense, not in a sexual sense. He compared me to a racehorse and said that although he could admire the beauty of a fine thoroughbred, that didn't mean that he wanted to have sex with one. Similarly, he thought that I was beautiful and enjoyed looking at me in exactly the same way that he enjoyed looking at a fine horse. I'd have been insulted if I hadn't felt exactly the same way about him.
Yes, those ears were gorgeous. Yes, his hair shone under the lights in a way that made me want to run my fingers through it. Yes, his face was beloved, because Spock's personality shone out of his eyes, Spock's humor quirked those lips, Spock's curiosity lifted that damned eyebrow ... but that was all. His chest was flat and hairy, and I didn't long to touch it. His ass was so small it was practically nonexistent, and watching him bend over the scanner didn't make my cock stir. I loved him — no, I was IN LOVE with him, truly, madly, deeply — and yet I felt about his physical self much the same way I felt about the Labrador Retriever I'd had as a boy. I wanted to hug that dog because I loved it, I wanted to stroke it to make it feel good and pet it because of my affection for it, but my genitals were not part of the picture, and neither were the dog's.
But the love was so strong that we had to try. Maybe we just weren't used to thinking sexually about men. Maybe we'd find we liked it. Maybe the love would just sweep away all the obstacles.
It didn't. Love and sex really are separate, or at least they can be, and they are for us. We talked about what to try, how to try it, who would do what to whom. We started with kissing, at my insistence, but kissing isn't really a Vulcan thing, and at first we thought maybe that was why it didn't work. Spock tried stroking my fingers with his, but that didn't work, either, and we thought maybe that was because finger-stroking isn't really a human thing, at least, not with the intensity it is for Vulcans. But we really wanted this to work, and we're explorers, damn it, so we explored further. I caressed his flat, hairy chest, and it felt like a flat, hairy chest. I mean, I enjoyed stroking him because I love him, in the same way that I used to like stroking my dog, but it didn't turn me on. Spock caressed me in turn, but he was more interested in the emotions his telepathic fingers were picking up from my skin than he was in the feel of my skin under his hands.
Spock, bless him, with that astonishing Vulcan control over his body, was able to will an erection, even if he didn't feel sexual desire. I sucked him off, and it was mildly enjoyable, in the sense that it was something I'd never done before, and I enjoy trying new things. I liked making Spock feel good, but the sight of his cock didn't turn me on, the smell of it seemed all wrong, and I found the experience ... comradely ... rather than sexual. A blowjob — even a bad blowjob from someone who'd never done this before — was pleasurable enough to get Spock off, but he said the sight of me sucking him off felt subtly wrong, and not because I was his captain. He tried to return the favor, and it eventually did work for me, but only because Vulcan strength is such that he could suck me harder than a Risan whore. We agreed to take a break, think about it for a few days, and try again in a week.
Well, a week later, it was even worse. Spock had suggested anal intercourse, with me as the top, because that would be the closest to my former experiences, and that made sense to me. When I'm with a woman, I have no trouble getting hard enough to fuck her. I see her soft breasts, I smell that womanly scent, I see curvy hips and a soft, round ass, and I'm ready to go. But lying there with Spock, there was none of that. I love him to death, but flat, hairy chests don't do it for me. He didn't smell right. And his torso and hips and legs make such a straight line that you could use the man as a freaking ruler. He eventually resorted to manual stimulation to get me hard, and that worked, in the sense that it got me up. I fucked him and came, but it was all about the physical stimulation — that tight sheath around my cock — it wasn't arousing in any other sense. Spock shifted his hips to change my angle shortly before I came, and that made me pound his prostate enough that he came, too. But it wasn't good sex, and I knew it. Hell, even Spock knew it, and it was his first time ever.
I asked if he wanted to reverse the roles, and he shook his head and told me that he thought that would be even less successful than the current attempt. I was relieved. I would have felt bad about being so NOT into Spock sexually, except that it was clear that he felt exactly the same way. We'd tried, and we could force ourselves to have sex with each other if for some reason we really had to, but a lifetime like that would be joyless, and neither of us wanted that.
So we talked. We agreed that our love hadn't been at all diminished by our failed sexual attempts; in fact, our going through that together seemed to bring us even closer, in the way that ordeals tend to do. We even found it funny, it was so bad, and that made everything clear. We loved each other and always would. We would put each other first in our lives and become each other's primary romantic partners, but we would each get our sex elsewhere. Spock says that we're bi-emotional but hetero-sexual, and I think that's about right.
Spock started a long-term sexual relationship with Uhura, and that was good for both of them. She'd had the hots for him for awhile, and he'd always liked her, still liked her, and found her quite understanding about the situation. What? Of course he told her! Spock is far too honorable to lead someone on, and we were both quite fond of Uhura. I almost envied him his relationship with her, but a human captain has different constraints than a Vulcan first officer does. If I had sex with Uhura, people might believe that I'd coerced her or that I was showing her favoritism, but if Spock did, well, Vulcans are different, plus there was a higher authority than first officer on board. Spock could pick her up off of the deck when something was throwing the Enterprise around, and everyone would think it part of his innate politeness, whereas if I'd done that, everyone would have noticed.
Uhura was very firmly focused on her career, and she'd had trouble finding a man who would give her some attention, some affection, and some sex without insisting that she put him first. Spock gave her the space she wanted, while also giving her some of what was missing in her life; that relationship was good for both of them. I was never jealous of Uhura, because Spock never gave her anything I wanted. I had his love, his respect, and his attention, to an almost obsessive degree, whenever I wanted them. When I hung out with Bones or Scotty or some of my other friends, Spock did ... whatever they did ... with Uhura. I don't actually know if they mostly played music together or if they fucked like crazed weasels every night. I didn't care, except to know that both Spock and Uhura were happy, and they were, so I didn't need details.
I couldn't develop a sexual relationship with a crew member, but I had plenty of chances outside of the crew. I liked variety, and I got plenty of it, and for safety, stability, and comfort, I had Spock. For knowing and being known, for cherishing and being cherished, for filling up my heart, I had Spock. It worked for us, and I thought everything would work perfectly for decades ... and then Spock had his next pon farr.
Because his first pon farr hadn't been consummated, his next one came early. Or maybe there is no early or late with a human-Vulcan hybrid, Spock being, as always, a law unto himself. In any case, he went into pon farr again during the last month of the five-year mission. I was ready to take him to Vulcan again — with or without orders — but Vulcan wasn't what he needed this time. I'd been thinking of pon farr as primarily a sexual thing, so I thought that he'd either need some Vulcan woman or Uhura. But it's the mental link, the telepathic bond, that's primary in pon farr, so what he needed ... was me.
And yet the fact that mental compatibility was primary didn't mean that it wasn't a three-day fuckfest, it was. I couldn't let Spock die, so I put up with it, and I let him use me. But used was what I was, and used was what I felt. I didn't like it, and I never wanted to go through that again. The only way out of it would be to separate ourselves emotionally, to sever the telepathic link that had joined us without our even trying to make one. But that would mean we had to give up that feeling of being completely in tune, totally in synch, nearly able to reach each other's minds ... or maybe actually able, in Spock's case.
Neither of us wanted to separate, but neither of us wanted to go through another pon farr together. Spock commed T'Pau for advice, and she suggested kolinahr.
Kolinahr isn't practiced all that often anymore. Vulcans are still strict about logic and about emotions, but exposure to the Federation's wide range of highly emotional aliens has shown them that emotions aren't quite as much of a disaster as Vulcan culture portrays them to be, and the draconian step of kolinahr is now undertaken by very few. But a kolinahr adept doesn't undergo pon farr, so it was an alternative.
If I'd known how radically kolinahr would change Spock or how much it would cost him to undergo it, I'd have offered to go through pon farr with him every goddamned month, much less every seven years, rather than have him do that to himself. But I didn't know, and I don't think Spock did, either. The masters at Gol are even more reticent than most Vulcans — and that's saying something — and I think Spock wasn't given much information about what he was getting himself into.
To this day, I don't know if T'Pau suggested kolinahr because she thought it was a good idea, or if she thought that something as huge and life-changing as kolinahr would make the pon farr problem look smaller in comparison.
We were apart for three years, and those three years were hell. I wasn't happy, and Spock was — unbeknownst to me at the time — learning how to not be happy ever again. Finally the V'ger crisis happened, and Spock came back, but he was so changed that I didn't know him. I called his name, and a stranger looked back at me, and it was lucky that we needed to focus on saving Earth from destruction, or I might have broken down in tears right there on the Bridge.
But if I'd been unlucky enough to lose Spock to kolinahr, I was lucky enough that mind-melding with V'ger brought him back. God, mind-melding with V'ger. I nearly didn't get Spock back when he melded with Nomad, and V'ger was like Nomad's bigger, badder brother. Only the discipline Spock learned from the masters at Gol enabled him to meld with that thing and retain any of his own personality, and even then, the kolinahr overlay was ripped away. That was a good thing, as it turned out, but what if V'ger had ripped away some other aspect of Spock's mind? I still wake up in cold sweats sometimes, thinking about that.
But we're good now, and we've been good for a long time. Women don't fall into my bed quite as easily at 50 as they did when I was 35 and Starfleet's youngest captain, but I can still get almost any woman I want, and more importantly, I still have Spock. Sex is wonderful, don't get me wrong; I may be one of the most enthusiastic practitioners sex has ever had. But even sex, great as it is, doesn't hold a candle to love. I wouldn't agree to live without sex, not even for Spock, but I haven't had to. I have plenty of great sex, and I have a love so grand that few people are privileged to experience its like. People shake their heads and act like they feel sorry for me when they learn about our situation, but you should never feel sorry for Jim Kirk, because I get to love Spock ... and he loves me back.