Sam Smith graced the front cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly June issue which dropped today (1 May).
In the accompanying interview with British GQ’s news and features editor David Levesley, the singer described his first sexual experiences in his youth as ‘traumatic.’
He also revealed that, after coming out as non-binary earlier this year, that his preferred pronouns are he/him. Though, he asks to be ‘them/they’ to close friends.
What did he say?
Smith is one of the fashion publication’s five cover stars to mark their inaugural GQ Heroes event. GQ nominated Smith in the summit’s singer category.
Sitting down with Levesley, Smith spoke candidly about his first sexual experiences when moving to London. Since going into therapy, he has began to navigate them.
He said: ‘Those first experiences, they weren’t very kind. I wasn’t hurt, it wasn’t anything absolutely awful, but it was traumatic.
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‘It wasn’t a good welcoming into my sexual life and my life as a young man. I think it definitely stunted my belief in love at times.
‘That’s probably the first time I started to feel sadness. I’m making it sound like it was mental. It wasn’t orgies, it was just a very different life to the one I knew in the countryside.’
‘It was dark at times’
The Grammy award singer grew up in Bishop’s Stortford, a small market town in Hertfordshire, England. Moving to London in his youth and experiencing an urban queer scene proved seismic to Smith.
‘My first experiences with the gay community weren’t the greatest. It was quite violent and scary at times,’ he said.
‘I used to love the Vauxhall [a queer district in South London] scene, but everything is getting closed down, which I find really depressing.
‘I know it was dark at times, but it was thrilling and freeing. I miss that for sure. Now I don’t go out that much.’
On coming out as non-binary
In March, Smith came out as non-binary. The decision to come out was a huge and powerful admission for the 26-year-old.
‘Ever since I was a little boy, ever since I was a little human, I didn’t feel comfortable being a man really,’ he said, ‘I never really did.
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‘Some days I’ve got my manly side and some days I’ve got my womanly side, but it’s when I’m in the middle of that switch that I get really, really depressed and sad.
‘Because I don’t know who I am or where I am or what I’m doing, and I feel very misunderstood by myself. I realized that’s because I don’t fit into either.’
‘Torture going on in my mind’
Smith also discussed a heartwarming moment with his mother.
‘I was with my mum last night and she said something so beautiful.
‘“I’m so relieved that you and me and your whole family have a way to explain this, because it’s also been eating me up your whole life.”
‘Because my mum could see it and that it was a torture going on in my mind. But I’m also very scared, because I’ve lived my life as a minority and now it makes me scared because I’m trying to explain it to people around me and they don’t understand.
‘It feels like a new conversation, but I’m now learning it isn’t a new conversation and it’s been around for so long.’
See the full feature in the June issue of British GQ available on newsstands and digital download on 3 May. GQ Heroes in association with Flannels takes place 8-10 May at Soho Farmhouse, London.