Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
As a character, Kim is good at flattering and sucking up to people—men, women, young, and old—but we never see any kind of result from his flirtations. He never gets to first base; in fact, we never really see him going out onto the field. Kim is an all-work-and-no-play kind of guy, especially since his work often seems like a game in its own right. The one sign we get that Kim may want to change up his (apparently) sexless life in the near future takes place after he has spoken to the Woman of Shamlegh for the first time, when he says:
How can a man follow the Way or the Great Game when he is eternally pestered by women? There was that girl at Akrola by the Ford; and there was the scullion's wife behind the dovecot—not counting the others—and now comes this one. When I was a child it was well enough, but now I am a man and they will not regard me as a man. (14.60)
He sounds kind of annoyed, both at the fact that some people want to have sex with him ("eternally pestered by women," huh?) and at the fact that some of them don't ("I am a man and they will not regard me as a man"). Kim has classic teenage confused feelings, but if he acts on them either now or in the future, that information definitely does not make it into the novel.