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January 21, 2013 7:29 pm  #1


Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Sherlock’s sexuality is an object of keen interest to all fans and has been greatly contemplated and discussed. I would like to share my opinion on this matter by explaining my thoughts and analysis.

The very first time I watched Series One Episode One (A Study in Pink), I thought Sherlock openly announced that he was gay. I didn’t try to deduce anything or figure it out; Sherlock’s words and actions just seemed obvious. I am mostly referring to the restaurant scene where the topic of sexuality comes up during Sherlock and John’s conversation. Here are some examples of why I believed this:

-When John eludes that it would be quite alright it Sherlock was gay, Sherlock firmly agrees that he knows that already. The way he said it was very defensive so I just automatically assumed he was referring to himself.

- When Sherlock believes John is offering himself as a potential boyfriend to him, Sherlock replies with “I am flattered but I consider myself married to my work”. If Sherlock was straight, he would probably reply with “Sorry you’re not my type” or something similar explaining that he isn’t homosexual. Instead, his reason for not dating is that he is taken by his work already and not on the market, rather than the reason being he is straight.

Like I mentioned before, I didn’t try to shove my assumptions on Sherlock; I honestly believed it was the script writer’s intention to portray Sherlock as gay. Because John denies it so many times (always making clear that they are not a couple, that they are colleagues, that they need two beds, etc). I kept up this belief throughout all of Series One because Sherlock gave no signs of interest towards any women…. However, then Irene Adler came along.

Sherlock and Irene definitely had something. I am not quite sure what, but there was magic and chemistry and perhaps real romance/affection. I honestly believe it was not just curiosity or lust on both sides, I think these two really had something real. But anyways, that got me thinking: perhaps I misread the signs about Sherlock being gay? For the rest of Series Two, I remained open-minded about Sherlock’s sexuality. I no longer thought of him as homosexual, but he didn’t seem heterosexual either. The whole situation is very complex. For example, how can we explain his words/actions for Series One Episode One? Perhaps the reason he never fought and defended himself against the gay innuendos he and John always received is because he just didn’t care. He didn’t find it insulting and therefore did not bother to correct false assumptions. Likewise, when he believed John to asking him out, he politely declines with a work excuse rather than telling him he is not gay.

However, does this mean Sherlock is straight? I do not think so. I think that Sherlock is asexual; having no desire for either party. I think Sherlock’s personality reflects his sexuality; he does not really care for having friends because it is difficult for him to sustain deep emotion feelings. I feel he is so intellectual and task-driven always, that he doesn’t think about love, friendship, etc. Similarly, I don’t think he has sexual feelings for people. At least, not often. Whereas most people take what they can get or go looking for romantic partners, Sherlock doesn’t feel that urge. Thats not to say that he would deny a relationship if it were to present itself:

Take John for example: Sherlock wasn’t looking for friends, but he could not deny the force of nature and fate. They are a perfect duo and they will remain loyal to each other for life.

Take Irene for example: Sherlock did not want to develop feelings for her, or anyone for that matter, but he found himself hopelessly fascinated by her, miserable without her, and extremely loyal to saving her.

In conclusion, I will not label Sherlock as gay, straight, bi, or asexual because I do not know which category he falls under. I believe that Sherlock will only respond to someone who has a huge impact on his life (so far Irene and John both have). I do not think gender matters to him if he finds one he can truly rely on and love.

This entire post is my mere opinion. If you agree or disagree, please feel free to message me for further discussion and exploration I posted this on tumblr this morning and got a lot of good feedback, I'm curious to see what everyone has to add to this. I feel I barely scratched the surface.


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January 22, 2013 7:22 am  #2


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Love the post, really well thought out and sensitively discussed.http://images.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Which means it's going to be a tough act to follow.

I know what you mean with the restaurant scene. I had a bit of a blank moment where I could not for the life of me figure it out ('is he, isn't he?') Then as time wore on I realised that the ambiguity is entirely intentional because of how well it is written. It allows the audience to imagine whatever they want of Sherlock.

I have leant towards the idea of him being asexual (in my own head of course, not thinking for one moment that's what anyone else should think.) But he is certainly not aromantic in that case ('he's playing sad music...')

I have always seen the subject of emotion as being an issue for Sherlock for reasons the audience may never know (possibly famillial in origin as Mycroft seems to have a similar approach.) His approach towards people is very clinical in most cases. Clinical doesn't mean unfeeling. It's like he's watching his every move (unless he gets overexcited or annoyed then everyone's emotions are fair game when he verbally lashes out.)

I don't think he's either afraid of sex or sexuality either. I think he's just so wrapped up in his work that he just doesn't have time for sex or sexual relationships. When Sherlock says he's married to his work; he means it!

I think over the course of the six episodes we have that Sherlock comes to understand his need to be understood and have companionship in the form of John. This is a very unique relationship, but an entirely platonic one.


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January 22, 2013 8:06 am  #3


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Thank you very much for your insightful posts. I couldn't add anything at the moment without just repeating what you said before. The most important idea to me is that, yes, the ambiguity is intended. It's just another way of Moftiss playing with our minds. 


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January 22, 2013 12:56 pm  #4


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

I agree with the intentional ambiguity concept.  That's what makes it so intriguing and why so many of us dwell on this topic.  I've never been one to think he had any sexual or romantic attachment to Irene - just a fascination with her quick, ruthless mind - so I really don't think he cared about the feminine package it came wrapped in. When he deciphered the code so quickly, John was in the room also. Right from the start we have seen that he enjoys impressing John, who is also endlessly fascinated with Sherlock's brilliance.  Showing off for them both then, in that scene?
A definite co-dependency has been established in his relationship with John, which is quite fascinating.  It seems almost a step beyond friendship but at the same time rather self-serving on Sherlock's part.  So, will we ever know "what goes on in the funny old head"?  Nope, not in canon or in this show - and that's the fun of it.


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January 22, 2013 1:12 pm  #5


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

True. If they explained everything and there was no room for speculation, it would be quite boring. http://images.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


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"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

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January 22, 2013 1:30 pm  #6


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

SusiGo wrote:

True. If they explained everything and there was no room for speculation, it would be quite boring. http://images.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Agreed. 

I also like the idea of him needing someone to impress. It's like he validates his own existence by being clever in front of people. Genius needs an audience.

Friendship covers a broad spectrum of lifestyles and needs. What we see in John and Sherlock is not common. We all wish we had a John/Sherlock in our lives. We rarely find friends quite like this. There is love there, but not the kind that has people ripping their clothes off in darkened alleyways... Swimming pools maybe, but that was a different story.


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January 22, 2013 5:04 pm  #7


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Labels are so incredibly annoying. Having something of a complicated "sexuality" myself, when I was growing up, schoolfriends used to insist on asking me whether I was gay, straight, or bi, and the only way I could answer was to say, "I'm not any of those, I'm just myself", because I honestly don't feel I would be able to fit comfortably into any category.

It's never that black or white. People are complex and complicated and as a result, so are their emotions and relationships. Sherlock is no exception, in fact, I would say that Sherlock was even more complicated than most people.

But yeah, he's just Sherlock. I don't think he's incapable of falling in love, or having feelings, but he's never been interested in that side of things before because it would get in the way of his work, which is the most important thing to him. I don't feel like he particularly looks at people (male or female) and thinks "God they're attractive" or "I really fancy them" etc. He can recognise beauty or ugliness as a quality the same as anyone else can but it doesn't translate into any direct emotional response from him.

Assuming this is true, he would only ever be "attracted" to someone based on their personality (John) or intelligence (Irene, Moriarty). but this probably wouldn't show itself on a sexual level, just wanting to spend time with that person/get to know them better. That's not to say he would never have sex, but I imagine him to be the type to be in an extremely long term non-sexual relationship with someone before sex was even considered as something he might be interested in.


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January 22, 2013 6:26 pm  #8


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Sherlock Holmes wrote:

That's not to say he would never have sex, but I imagine him to be the type to be in an extremely long term non-sexual relationship with someone before sex was even considered as something he might be interested in.

Liked your whole quote on this topic Boss - and especially liked your last sentence because it makes sense to me.  Sherlock "might" consider having a sexual experience as "research"; but when it comes to a "relationship", that's a whole other ball game and might only occur once he starts to "slow down" in life.  And by then, probably only a long-term, comfortable companion would do - with 'companion' being the operative word more than anything else.


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January 22, 2013 11:12 pm  #9


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Such wonderful insights from everyone, I enjoyed reading all these response immensely. The bit I found the most interesting was the general agreement that Sherlock feels the need to impress people by his being clever. While this is certainly true and proved on many an occasion, I always wonder how much of it is real and how much is an act.....

What do I mean by this? I mean is Sherlock so aware who he is and how he comes across that he sometimes intentionally restrains emotions? I'm not saying its always an act, heavens no! Its clear that being logial rather than emotional is a natural part of his personality. But every once and a while I get the feeling that Sherlock is afraid of letting on how much he cares about people.

Mrs. Hudson is one example. He doesn't show her constant affection but gets extremely angry when Mycroft tells her to shut up and throws a man out a window when he lays a rough hand on her. John is a similar scenario; Sherlock may act like John's company is equal to is inanimate skull, but we all know how deep his loyalty is to John.

Just some things to ponder....


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January 23, 2013 2:24 am  #10


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Mnemosyne wrote:

I don't think he's either afraid of sex or sexuality either. I think he's just so wrapped up in his work that he just doesn't have time for sex or sexual relationships. When Sherlock says he's married to his work; he means it!

I think over the course of the six episodes we have that Sherlock comes to understand his need to be understood and have companionship in the form of John. This is a very unique relationship, but an entirely platonic one.

I agree.  I think many people are over-fascinated by all things sexual and read things into situations that are not there.


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January 23, 2013 7:10 am  #11


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

I think Sherlock is neither of those labels - he is simply lazy! Relationships mean work - the kind of work which is not related to his superiour intellect, but to the feelings he has a hard time dealing with. So he doesn't bother. Just look at the people who can be considered his friends - Lestrade is the guy who gives him cases, Mrs. Hudson the woman who gives him a special deal for the rent and puts up with his behaviour, and John doubles as assistant/milk buyer. They have certain qualities he values, but they are also useful at some level.
So why should he deal with a sexual relationship, with all the expectation involved in it?

 

January 23, 2013 11:59 am  #12


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Swanpride wrote:

I think Sherlock is neither of those labels - he is simply lazy! Relationships mean work - the kind of work which is not related to his superiour intellect, but to the feelings he has a hard time dealing with. So he doesn't bother. Just look at the people who can be considered his friends - Lestrade is the guy who gives him cases, Mrs. Hudson the woman who gives him a special deal for the rent and puts up with his behaviour, and John doubles as assistant/milk buyer. They have certain qualities he values, but they are also useful at some level.
So why should he deal with a sexual relationship, with all the expectation involved in it?

Everyone knows that any friendship or romance (or combo of both) very possibly will lead to some level of hurt, even heartbreak. If the hurt and heartbreak are bad enough, and especially if they happen more than once,  that alone could be enough reason for someone to decide that he's done with all that.

Also, Sherlock knows that while he's putting time and energy into a relationship-- wining, dining, bedding, batting eyelashes, whatever form(s) it takes, someone out there could be dying. He's convinced that London needs him-- he and he alone is all that stands between a serial killer and his next victim.  So who has time for a relationship, or even a close friendship, when he's needed elsewhere??  As he says, it's all about the work to him, and he's married to it.
 

 

January 23, 2013 12:24 pm  #13


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

ancientsgate wrote:

Also, Sherlock knows that while he's putting time and energy into a relationship-- wining, dining, bedding, batting eyelashes, whatever form(s) it takes, someone out there could be dying. He's convinced that London needs him-- he and he alone is all that stands between a serial killer and his next victim.  So who has time for a relationship, or even a close friendship, when he's needed elsewhere??  As he says, it's all about the work to him, and he's married to it. 

I love that idea so much. Like a superhero in a snazzy coat. I think the 'date' scene in S1EP1 shows this perfectly. now John at least claims to not be his date but the scene shows what a fiasco it would be even if he were. Imagine if a guy took you on a date to a restaurant staffed by known criminals who were on more than friendly terms with your man. He doesn't eat anything, he is tense and focused and gets impatient as the night wears on. The conversation is one sided and dry. He doesn't pay you any attention, in fact he seems preoccupied. He then gets up and dashes off with little or no warning. Leaving you to either hobble after him or find your own way home. Oh yeah and he gets you kidnapped or beaten on a regular basis... Not really a keeper in that respect.
 


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January 23, 2013 12:30 pm  #14


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Mnemosyne wrote:

I love that idea so much. Like a superhero in a snazzy coat. I think the 'date' scene in S1EP1 shows this perfectly. now John at least claims to not be his date but the scene shows what a fiasco it would be even if he were. Imagine if a guy took you on a date to a restaurant staffed by known criminals who were on more than friendly terms with your man. He doesn't eat anything, he is tense and focused and gets impatient as the night wears on. The conversation is one sided and dry. He doesn't pay you any attention, in fact he seems preoccupied. He then gets up and dashes off with little or no warning. Leaving you to either hobble after him or find your own way home. Oh yeah and he gets you kidnapped or beaten on a regular basis... Not really a keeper in that respect. 

Forget being a bad date, I think someone like that would be a bad friend! But John Watson is loyal to a fault, he believes in Sherlock and in the "work" (not only believes in, but is intrigued by, to say the least), but most of all, he's a guy! He wouldn't require the social niceties from another guy the way he might be expected to supply them spending time with a woman he ever wants to see again.

 

May 31, 2013 4:56 pm  #15


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

ancientsgate wrote:

Mnemosyne wrote:

I love that idea so much. Like a superhero in a snazzy coat. I think the 'date' scene in S1EP1 shows this perfectly. now John at least claims to not be his date but the scene shows what a fiasco it would be even if he were. Imagine if a guy took you on a date to a restaurant staffed by known criminals who were on more than friendly terms with your man. He doesn't eat anything, he is tense and focused and gets impatient as the night wears on. The conversation is one sided and dry. He doesn't pay you any attention, in fact he seems preoccupied. He then gets up and dashes off with little or no warning. Leaving you to either hobble after him or find your own way home. Oh yeah and he gets you kidnapped or beaten on a regular basis... Not really a keeper in that respect. 

Forget being a bad date, I think someone like that would be a bad friend! But John Watson is loyal to a fault, he believes in Sherlock and in the "work" (not only believes in, but is intrigued by, to say the least), but most of all, he's a guy! He wouldn't require the social niceties from another guy the way he might be expected to supply them spending time with a woman he ever wants to see again.

I agree, in most cases I think that Sherlock would get on a lot of people's nerves (as much as we all like him as a character and like to watch him go.) And John is loyal to a fault but sometimes, even despite being male (and all the social stereotyping that goes with it) Sherlock manages to get on his nerves too. But I think they'd both get on *everyone's* nerves if they were inhumanly patient with each other all the time. Sherlock would lose his humanity and John would lose his spine. I suppose in that respect they are made for each other do need each other in a sort of symbiotic way. What one of them lacks in their personality and tactics for interacting with the world the other makes up for; so in that respect it is completely and utterly a relationship (just not the kind that sets Tumblr on fire.)
 


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June 1, 2013 12:47 am  #16


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Just glanced over everything briefly, but thought I'd add my 2c:

I'm a straight female but should I be hit on by another female, I would most likely respond in kind to Sherlock, "I am flattered, but..." I'm just not interested - without mentioning anything about my own sexuality.
I don't think that it matters all too much, really, just a bit something for fans to spend time pondering over. "Hey, let's slip these hints in and let the fans go wild. 'Cause we can."

I personally like that Sherlock's sexuality is a mystery and doesn't seem either here nor there.


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June 1, 2013 7:29 am  #17


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Sampy Arctica wrote:

Just glanced over everything briefly, but thought I'd add my 2c:

I'm a straight female but should I be hit on by another female, I would most likely respond in kind to Sherlock, "I am flattered, but..." I'm just not interested - without mentioning anything about my own sexuality.
I don't think that it matters all too much, really, just a bit something for fans to spend time pondering over. "Hey, let's slip these hints in and let the fans go wild. 'Cause we can."

I personally like that Sherlock's sexuality is a mystery and doesn't seem either here nor there.

I like the fact it's not the main focus for the show. It never was in the canon so it makes sense for the show that way (especially considering we have two enormous fanboys writing it.) I also like how there is room for interpretation. I wouldn't be heartbroken if they spelled it out for the fans one day but I think it's fun to see how everyone else interprets it. I think the most fascinating aspect of the character is how he appears to abstain from a relationship with *anyone*. He treats himself like a machine. Romantic attachments are surplus to requirements with him. Sex doesn't frighten him he just doesn't see it as important to his life right now.

Right I've rambled I'm going away now.
 

Last edited by Mnemosyne (June 1, 2013 7:30 am)


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June 3, 2013 7:29 pm  #18


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

Sherlock Holmes wrote:

Labels are so incredibly annoying. Having something of a complicated "sexuality" myself, when I was growing up, schoolfriends used to insist on asking me whether I was gay, straight, or bi, and the only way I could answer was to say, "I'm not any of those, I'm just myself", because I honestly don't feel I would be able to fit comfortably into any category.

It's never that black or white. People are complex and complicated and as a result, so are their emotions and relationships. Sherlock is no exception, in fact, I would say that Sherlock was even more complicated than most people.

But yeah, he's just Sherlock. I don't think he's incapable of falling in love, or having feelings, but he's never been interested in that side of things before because it would get in the way of his work, which is the most important thing to him. I don't feel like he particularly looks at people (male or female) and thinks "God they're attractive" or "I really fancy them" etc. He can recognise beauty or ugliness as a quality the same as anyone else can but it doesn't translate into any direct emotional response from him.

Assuming this is true, he would only ever be "attracted" to someone based on their personality (John) or intelligence (Irene, Moriarty). but this probably wouldn't show itself on a sexual level, just wanting to spend time with that person/get to know them better. That's not to say he would never have sex, but I imagine him to be the type to be in an extremely long term non-sexual relationship with someone before sex was even considered as something he might be interested in.

Love this post! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/love.png
 Especially what you said about labels, you rock! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
 It's because of them I've only recently begun to embrace the fact that I don't fall under any label really, having felt somewhat influenced by the outside world that you're either one thing or you're another, really I'm just myself. I don't believe anything is ever truly black and white, especially people and feelings, like you said, people are complicated and I agree with what you say about Sherlock being especially complicated. After having seen all the episodes multiple times, I don't think Sherlock would be "attracted" to someone based on gender. And like others have said, I do enjoy the fact that there is enough ambiguity to keep us guessing, discussing, and simply just accepting that's the way he is. Given his nature, there are aspects to him that are somewhat ambiguious, and truly the writing is so excellent in the show that it does reflect that.
It's like you said here;

"Assuming this is true, he would only ever be "attracted" to someone based on their personality (John) or intelligence (Irene, Moriarty). but this probably wouldn't show itself on a sexual level, just wanting to spend time with that person/get to know them better."


I also don't think Sherlock is incapable of falling in love, or feeling any kind of love for that matter. He milks the sociopath thing a bit (and I can think of many reasons why). It is evident that he expresses true care and affection. Though not for many; John, Irene, Mrs Hudson...especially John, on multiple occasions. I don't think his feelings towards Irene were romantic, but he did care for her to an extent. As for John, well...I'm a bit of a "Johnlocker", but really I think anything romantic between them would be a side-effect. I don't mean to imply that that is somehow less important, I just think that the true incadescent bond is one of deep admiration, care and friendship. 
Long story short, I think Sherlock is just Sherlock and should he express sexual or romantic attraction I don't believe gender would be an aspect of the attraction. 
 

Last edited by SilverMoonDragonB (June 3, 2013 7:32 pm)


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June 8, 2013 7:42 pm  #19


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

I totally agree about the possibility of Sherlock being asexual and also the notion of him having a very, long term relationship before sex was brought into it. The show isn't bogged down by all this and the writers have made it clear to a reasonable point about where Sherlock stands on this. I do like it when we break through the cold, distant Sherlock like when he knew he'd upset Molly when she offered to do anything for him before muttering about buying crisps as she left the room. Sherlock is not a machine, afterall, as much as he'd like to pretend at times.


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June 8, 2013 7:47 pm  #20


Re: Sherlock’s Sexuality: An In-Depth Contemplation and Study

I don't actually think Sherlock upset Molly then at all.Molly  was embarassed at bearing her soul and she alao knew she'd put Shelock on the spot a bit.


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