Ever since the sex scene between Grey Worm (Raleigh Ritchie) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) aired in season 7 of HBO?s Game of Thrones, folks (especially cisgender/straight ones) have been asking: ?How did they have sex??, ?Wait, does he still have a penis??, ?So, can he just not come?? And despite my excitement at seing an intimate scene on mainstream TV that by most counts subverts heteronormative P-in-V intercourse, I was too demure pause my group viewing to further explain: ?In any number of ways, since sex and sexuality are different for everyone!? Here on the internet, I?ve decided to share my thoughts at length to hopefully lend some insight where a cis-centric and heteronormative perspective of sex is lacking.
The questions arise in part because most assume Grey Worm and Missandei?s sexual relationship is based on mutual orgasm, and it?s easier for the average viewer to hypothesize how Missandei would achieve hers. In fact, the show explicitly shows Grey Worm performing cunnilingus (to put it puritanically) on Missandei before cutting away?leaving viewers to wonder, there must have been more to it, right?
Well, maybe Grey Worm is simply an altruistic bedfellow, deriving emotional pleasure from giving pleasure to Missandei! Perhaps the pair are engaged in a sort of submissive/dominant sexual relationship (kinkier things have happened on HBO), and besides, with his dramatically low levels of sex hormone, the Worm might possess little sex drive in the first place! Setting aside all of these possibilities, the underlying question all you straights are really asking (in true patriarchal fashion) is, but how does the man come?
According to the books, the Unsullied are ?fully castrated? and deprived of their stones and spears, so to speak, while the show conveniently contends that an Unsullied might retain their penis but not their testicles. I use the gender neutral pronoun, they/them, here because it?s an unexamined assumption that all Unsullied would continue to identify as male. Of course, in our understanding of gender identity, one?s sense of self is not tied to the genitals they possess, so it is entirely fair to think many Unsullied, including Grey Worm, would continue to see themselves as men after castration. However, it is equally plausible that, absent their main source of testosterone production and masculine secondary sex characteristics from such a young age, they might possess some variance in their gender identity. Like I mentioned above, everyone?s different. Anyway, let?s dig into the manifold ways in which Grey Worm might orgasm!
If Grey Worm has his penis but no testes, the answer is kind of simple, considering that many men and trans women do not have testes after undergoing a surgical procedure known as an orchiectomy. Some men get orchis due to various medical conditions, like advanced prostate cancer, while trans women sometimes opt for this procedure to halt testosterone production due to gender dysphoria. Many AMAB (assigned male at birth) trans femmes do not get orchiectomies and many more choose hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which reduces testosterone production and/or reception in the body, among other things. In any case, some folks who have penises but not testes can achieve erection and even orgasm through standard-issue penetrative intercourse or penile stimulation, though it varies by person.
Oh my sweet summer child, what do you know about queer?
Even if Grey Worm doesn?t have a penis, we should remember a couple of things: that a large part of arousal is in the mind, that there are multiple erogenous zones, and that both facts are not essentially tied to genitalia. There?s plenty left to play with, and again, cis men and trans-women alike report being able to orgasm through some of the following: manual and oral stimulation of the nipples, prostate, anus (to quote Euron Greyjoy, ?a finger in the bum??), inguinal canals, and perineum, to name a few. It?s also worth noting that Grey Worm likely has some, if not plenty, of sensitive nerve endings remaining where his genitalia once were, though like a lot of gender variant people, I imagine he?d be pretty sensitive to how that area is to be handled. As with any set of people who are engaging in sex, the key is communication and figuring out what feels good for you and your partner(s) through consent and experimentation!
It goes without saying that sex education in America is severely inadequate in a way that is especially harmful to queer people, and it can be hard for people?cis, trans, straight, or queer?to imagine sex outside of penetrative intercourse that results in orgasm, especially for the male partner (consider, for example, how queer people might define the idea of virginity). Any sexpert would agree that every body is different, with different boundaries, definitions, and preferences, and there?s really no ?right? or ?wrong? way to have sex, as long as it?s consensual! Far be it to label Game of Thrones as radically queer media ? especially considering almost every major LGBTQI+ character on the show is currently dead, dying, or captured (SPOILERS: Renly Baratheon, Loras Tyrell, Oberyn Martell, Ellaria Sand, Yara Greyjoy) ? but it is admittedly refreshing to see at least a little alternative sex depicted on the small screen.