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So. Season six soulless!Sam was pretty sexy yeah? He unashamedly showed off his bod, he hired a hooker and had sex with a woman he picked up in a bar rather than search for his missing brother.
We all cried, “but Sam wouldn’t do that!” -
And Sam wouldn’t. Not the Sam we grew to know over the previous five seasons.
I've been wondering why Show found it important to include so much sex in Sam’s soulless story arc. Why did soulless!Sam have a lot more sex than soulled!Sam? (and no, I won’t accept it’s because Sera was at the helm…*g*).
How did showing Sam being more sexual help us to understand the character of Sam Winchester more?
In order to examine this I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at what we have seen of Sam, women and sex over the first five seasons. And hey… sounds like a good excuse to look at pretty pics of sexy Sam if you ask me. ;)
We first see a smiley, happy Sam with his girlfriend Jessica in the opening moments of the pilot in season one. He seems very much in love and comfortable in his closeness with her:
Sam: "What would I do without you?"
Jessica: "Crash and burn" (Extraordinarily prophetic looking back...)
They share an apartment and their bed. They obviously have a sexual history together (they sleep together so I think we can comfortably make that assumption).
Then Jessica dies and Sam is left grieving.
It's not until episode 7 (Hookman) that we next see Sam take an interest in another girl.
We see a shy, caring Sam who clearly has Jess still on his mind. He mentions his loss to Lori. He tries to share a kiss but his heart isn’t in it. He just can’t take that step yet. I also imagine he’s sensitive to Lori's well being and doesn’t want to hurt her knowing he can’t commit to any sort of relationship.
At the end of the episode Dean suggests that they can hang around if Sam wants to hook up - but Sam declines. For me this is the first indication we get that Sam probably isn’t into easy hook ups or one night stands. He could have said yes, Lori had clearly shown an interest.
Episode 11 (Scarecrow) introduces Meg. We are unaware of who she actually is in this episode but we do see the potential for Sam to get “involved”. They start to travel together and might have continued to do so if Sam hadn’t returned to Dean.
Meg makes another appearance in episode 16 (Shadow). Dean teases Sam about having an “interest” in her but Sam is clearly more puzzled about her reappearance than chasing any sort of hook up. In fact the sexual contact Sam does have with Meg is non consensual.
Sam could have easily hooked up with Meg at some stage if he was just after sex. She was clearly chasing him but by Sam shunning her advances it is reinforced that Sam isn’t interested in sex just for the sake of it.
It’s not until episode 19 (Provenance) that we get to see a little more of how Sam is around women. Sarah is introduced to the boys and much to Dean's (and Sam’s) surprise takes an interest in Sam.
Sam is incredibly shy and it's only with Dean's not so gentle persuading that he asks Sarah on a date. He's initially awkward around her but it's clear that he is somewhat smitten.
I love Dean’s attempt to, once again, nudge Sam into a hook up. It’s a caring and thoughtful move on Dean’s part. Hoping it will help Sam not only begin to get past Jessica but to start to feel more confident about himself.
It’s hard to tell if this is something Dean has done in the past with Sam. We don’t have a lot of evidence about what Dean was like when it came to Sam and girls when they were growing up. In What is and What Should Never Be dream!Sam complains that Dean stole his prom date and Dean replies that it sounds like something he would do. I’ve always taken this at face value; that Dean probably won the hearts of girls more easily than Sam and it wouldn’t have taken much for Sam’s dates to notice Dean – and maybe even show more interest in him than Sam.
Sam is so used to women taking notice of Dean before him that it truly does come as a surprise when Sarah gives Sam the eye instead of Dean.
Dean’s “model” good looks and smooth approach to women has somewhat shaped Sam’s opinion of himself. He would consider himself somewhat less desirable than Dean and would have no idea of his own sex appeal - (and that in itself is damn sexy!) I suspect he would never have made a move on a girl when Dean was around because he would have seen it has a lost cause. Sam may have often felt that some girls would be “out of his league”. Dean even says as much when he first meets Jessica.
I'm not sure that Sam has low self esteem in this area, I just think he lacks confidence because he has grown up around a very good looking, smooth talking, chick magnet of a brother. Sam just doesn’t see himself like that. It’s therefore particularly important that Dean is seen to be pushing Sam on to Sarah. He’s trying to give Sam the confidence he lacks. Maybe even trying to make up for years of being the one that the girls always fall for. This time it’s Sam turn.
It might also have been because of Dean’s “gentle persuasion” that Sam had the confidence to go back and give Sarah this kiss she was obviously hoping for.
We see a heartfelt kiss and it’s the first indication that Sam is probably quite a passionate lover. I’ve always found it interesting that Sam comes across as very shy around women, but once he’s actually with them he pretty full on and intense.
I love Dean’s "That's my boy." His matchmaking has paid off and I think he sees this as a genuine step forward for Sam. He’s proud of his little bro.
Season one allowed us to see Sam overcome his all-consuming grief and begin to take an interest in women once again. They were baby steps though, and it’s not until late in to season two that we get to see Sam actually have sex.
In episode 17 (Heart), we see that shy, awkward man we witnessed in season one:
This time Sam seems much more interested in "going further" and he more actively pursues Maddison. Dean assumes that he’ll be the one to stay with the “hot chick”, but Sam calls him on it. He wants a shot. It might even be the first time Sam has “fought” over a girl with Dean. We don’t know of course, but it’s the first time we’ve witnessed such a thing.
Sam’s in, but I think it’s important that we see Sam developing a rapport with Maddison first. He needs to know that she is as interested as he is and they take time to have a laugh and even a serious discussion.
The interest is mutual and then, for the first time, we get to see Sam have sex. And it’s pretty interesting. He may be shy in his approach but he seems to be quite the heated lover in bed. Biting, forceful and passionate.
It's possible that this is Sam's first full on sexual encounter since Jessica, which may explain his hungry passion. Though, we can only assume this as no reference is made to him having slept with anyone else. In fact, by the end of season two, Sam has only had this one sexual encounter. I think that in itself is quite telling. He’s not a man who overtly flirts or takes his relationships lightly.
It makes the fact that he has to kill the first woman he’s slept with since Jessica even more heartbreaking. The trauma of this was obviously very deep because it’s another season and half before that we see Sam have sex again.
We don’t see Sam take an interest in anyone during the whole of Season three. We do, however, get a glimpse into his dreams. *g*
I love that Sam dreams of himself as a stud, with Bela falling all over him. I think this is actually quite telling. We know now (after nearly 3 seasons) that Sam lacks confidence with women, he’s shy and probably doesn’t realize how damn hot he is - dreams can show us what we wish we were like. I think this is what Sam’s dream was meant to show us. He “dreams” he’s a chick magnet because he doesn’t believe he is (which bamboozles me completely because… HELLO! *g*)
This next sexual encounter is extraordinarily important in understanding Sam's desperation and self loathing at this point in his story. He’s lost his brother, he’s hasn’t been able to rescue him from hell and is at his absolute lowest point.
After initially resisting Ruby’s advances he gives in. The sex is urgent, needy and somewhat vicious.
We witness Sam “breaking” in order to have sex with Ruby. After this first encounter we have to assume he continued to have sex with her. When Season 4 opens the first time we see Ruby is when she opens the door, partially clothed. Her underwear is in the room and the inference is that they have shared a bed.
It would have been really interesting to have had some more information of what Sam’s sex with Ruby was like after his first time. It was filling a need but I suspect his self loathing would have been pretty strong throughout. But I can only speculate.
We also have to assume they had sex in When the Levee Breaks (4.21), after he drank her blood. (oh… Sammy….:( )
Sam has another sexual encounter in S4 and this one is probably my favourite of all his sex scenes (4.14 Sex and Violence). He's more relaxed and confident than we have seen him with women up until now. He strikes up a rapport with Dr. Roberts fairly quickly. We again witness how passionate he is during sex... still somewhat needy but clearly enjoying the fun side of it. He seems comfortable in his own body for the first time.
It's a wonderful contrast to the sex we see him have with Ruby in episode 4.09.
At this point in Sam’s journey we can see that he has grown up. He no longer walks in his brother’s shadow (which is part of his story arc in season five) and recognizes when a woman takes notice of him. He still has the gorgeous Sammy shyness but he is much more confident than the boy we saw in season one.
By the end of season 4 we have seen Sam desperate and using sex as a outlet for his despair, but we have also seen him come into his own, beginning to show more confidence even if it is still tinged with shyness.
Season Five is disappointingly devoid of any sexual encounters for Sam. The only time we see him even remotely interested in someone is with Lindsay, a waitress, in Free to Be You and Me. In the actual episode we see no more than her taking an interest is Sam but apparently there was a “deleted” sex scene after Sam rescues Lindsay from the hunters. (source) I can only speculate why this was deleted – my feeling was that it didn’t really add to the story. It has been suggested that it was why Sam wasn’t so shocked that “someone” was in bed with him at the end of the episode.
It would have been an interesting comment on Sam’s mental state if they had included this scene though. We may have been able to draw a link between Sam having sex without Dean being around as the “competition”. Or that he needed the extra emotional connection because Dean wasn’t around. Or perhaps because he was feeling confused and negative about himself, he needed a physical connection as a form of comfort.
We can’t draw conclusions because it didn’t happen. Fun to speculate though. ☺
This is where it starts to get really interesting and my main reason for recapping Sam’s sexual encounters up to now.
We know something is wrong with Sam pretty much as soon as he appears in episode one of season six. We’re not sure what’s wrong but he isn’t acting like himself. Aside from his lack of emotion, we see him in more sexual situations than at any other time during the entire show (3 in 5 whole seasons verses 3 in a mere 10 episodes, with mentions of more in his soulless year…)
He hires a hooker in episode 6.03 (The Third Man) , he picks up a waitress and is caught in bed with her when Dean returns from having disappeared in episode 6.09 (Clap Your Hands if You Believe) and during the flash backs in 6.13 (Unforgiven) we find out that he was quite the ladies man. We see him having sex with a woman in a bathroom and there are mentions of three other sexual encounters Sam had during his soulless time. (These women are dying – it seems Sam and his killer peen strike again!)
So what gives?
By showing Sam in these “uncharacteristic” sexual situations it gave us red flags that something just wasn’t right. For five seasons the show has given us a Sam who needs to strike a rapport with women he sleeps with. We saw that he is not one to pick up one-night stands and he doesn’t seem particularly driven or interested in seeking out sexual partners for the sake of it. He needs an emotional connection, not just a physical one.
The fact that we know all this about Sam is a great way to instantly alert us that something is wrong.
For me, the more interesting question is: what is it about Sam not having a soul that changed his sexual habits? What is it that allowed him to pick up one night stands and generally become the “stud” he dreamed about in “Dream a Little Dream of Me"?
There may be a few answers to this. Show never really gave us a definition of what the soul is. Though it seemed to indicate that it was a “moral compass” - something that allows us to have empathy and to feel emotion. By Sam lacking those qualities we got a good idea of what the soul is in the Supernatural universe.
He wasn’t encumbered by thoughts of relationships and how the other person may feel if it didn’t go any further. I’m not suggesting that his partners were ever unwilling participants – in fact, we saw very willing participants. It’s just that this Sam isn’t interested in building a rapport or making the emotional connections as soulful!Sam did. He could fulfill his desires without those pesky morals, emotions and even inhibitions getting in the way.
Soulless!Sam was confident and knew that women admired him. We can see in Clap Your Hands that it took a mere look to signal that he was interested in the bar maid. Something we never saw soulful!Sam do. He had no compunctions about hiring a hooker. He wanted sex and bought it. Again, something soulful!Sam would never even contemplate doing.
As with many of soulless!Sam’s actions, they are partially him. He didn’t “suddenly” become incredible in the sack (see prostitute’s reaction in Clap Your Hands...). He’s always been presented as being damn fine in that area (Heart and Sex and Violence are good examples). We can compare this to the way he hunted. He already had incredible hunting skills, it’s just that without a soul he was able to hunt more ruthlessly so without emotion he was able to have more sex regularly.
Supernatural isn’t a TV show that grounds itself in romance. The sexual encounters the boys have are usually there to give us more information about their characters and their emotional journey, not to provide us with a love story. Sex is also used to give us more information about the character’s situation or state of mind. By giving us so much more sex in Sam’s soulless story arc they gave us more information about Sam’s mental and emotional state. It was a clever (and ::koff:: aesthetically pleasing) way to show us just how different this Sam is.
It will be very interesting to see what shape Sam’s next sexual encounter takes. Will he be back to shy, lacking confidence Sam? Will he combine his soulless!Sam confidence with his soulful!Sam need for an emotional connection? (awww) Or will he just run a mile from sex altogether? After all, with his history of women dying that he’s had sex with, it’s likely poor Sammy may choose to be celibate from now on. (damn… I hope not…)
Note: Graphics: Please look, but don't take.
If you made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read. :)