If one is just the faintest bit aware of the original “Star Trek,” they are probably familiar with the supposed sexual prowess of one Captain James Tiberius Kirk. He was handsome, daring, and at the center of most “The Original Series” episode plots. Thanks to this role and others, William Shatner became a heartthrob in the 1960s.
Since then, an interesting mythos built up over the years surrounding the Kirk character as a ladies’ man. In fact, many lists rank Kirk’s various girlfriends and lovers across the internet. But is this reputation well earned?
Some fans have put together comparisons between Kirk and another swashbuckling Starfleet officer, William T. Riker. Some fans assumed that actor Jonathan Frakes grew a beard so Riker did not resemble Kirk, a character many compared Riker to. This is not true, as Frakes grew a beard during a writer’s strike and Trek creator Gene Roddenberry told him to keep it.
That being said, much of this character comparison can be looked at by comparing their love lives. According to a fan count, Riker had 14 partners, while Kirk had just 11. This, of course, is a count of what happened or what was referenced on screen and does not take into account any comic books, novels, fanfiction, or video games. The creators of this post also noted that Riker had seven seasons of “The Next Generation” to accomplish this. In comparison, Kirk had just three seasons of TOS.
Captain Kirk and the Orion
So if Riker was the ultimate “ladies man” on “The Next Generation,” wouldn’t Kirk be the obvious choice on “The Original Series?” Not so, say quite a few fans, including the site ScreenRant. Thanks to writer Kristy Ambrose, who put together this fascinating list of Dr. McCoy’s love interests, fans now can compare apples to apples.
Actor DeForest Kelley was well-known as a classic southern gentleman and gentle and friendly person. He was married to his wife, Carolyn, for 53 years, and before “Star Trek,” he was known for his numerous roles in westerns.
McCoy was a contrast to Kirk. Whereas Kirk was smooth and calm, McCoy got hot under the collar and showed his emotion. Perhaps it was this contrast that gave McCoy many options of his own. As Ambrose wrote, McCoy was “the real honey dripper” on the Enterprise.
According to the list of lovely patients seen by the doctor created by Ambrose, McCoy had 10 relationships of interest while serving on the Enterprise. This is certainly not as numerous as his captain’s affairs.
Kelvin Kirk vs. Kelvin McCoy
While neither of the lists above count the dalliances of Kirk (Chris Pine) or McCoy (Karl Urban) in the Kelvin Series of Trek films, there is some data to be collected in that alternate timeline. In those movies, starting with “Star Trek (2009),” fans saw Kirk in bed with numerous aliens — including an Orion female, two Caitians, and chased after Uhura as well. While fans did not see McCoy in bed with any humans or aliens, there was evidence of his flirtatious behavior.
While working with Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) to disable a torpedo, he mentioned that he had “legendary hands.” This scene from “Star Trek Into Darkness” saw Kirk get a bit irritated with McCoy, which made sense because, in the Prime Universe, Marcus was the mother of Kirk’s son. And Kirk also had a “controversial” moment with Marcus earlier in the movie.
Kirk Got the Last Laugh
In the final appearance of these characters together (until the J.J. Abrams reboot in 2009), Kirk and McCoy found themselves stranded on a Klingon prison world. As luck would have it, Kirk found a love interest (Martia), who was played by international supermodel Iman. “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” was, in many ways, a love letter to those characters which fans had loved so much.
In a classic Kirk move, the captain smooched with Martia while McCoy grumbled in the next bed. Of course, Kirk’s love interest turned out to be a shape-shifter and double agent.
McCoy turned to Kirk and asked, “What is it with you anyway?”