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December 23, 2016 10:42 pm  #1


If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

We all know that Sherlock is mentally ill. He has self-esteem so low his soul-blood is hypo-tonic. He has clinical Depression up the wazoo. He's an addict to a life-threatening degree. He's a dick-and-a-half to everyone, including his BFF 5-ever, John. The man is damn loony.

However, if he's not actually Asexual, but heterosexual, then he is even more vulnerable.

First, I'll go over the reasons why the BBC version of Sherlock is probably straight rather than Ace. Then we can talk about how his illness is reflected in his sexuality.

S3E3: When Magnusson evaluates Sherlock thru his mental catalog, he puts "normal" under the category "Porn Preference". If "Normal" means "Average", then it probably means average for a man. In most studied countries, 90-96% of people claim heterosexuality, so the average porn preference for a man would probably feature women.

TAB: In Sherlock's mind, his bestie John confronts him about his secret affection for Irene Adler, and questions Sherlock embarrassingly on his "need to be alone". John claims he doesn't believe Sherlock honestly isn't attracted to women and romance. Obviously, this all takes place in Sherlock's brain, so Sherlock is questioning himself on these things.
Later, in the crypt with the secret society, Sherlock is explaining the "League of Furies" to John when he says "A league of furies awakened. The women I...We have lied to, betrayed." Sherlock is manifestly guilty about how he's treated women in his life (specifically Molly and Janine). He's guilty enough to dream about it while trying to solve a crime. Problem is, he's screwed over a lot of people in his life (Mycroft, John, Lestrade, his parents etc.), but why is he so concerned about the girls who loved him?

S2E1: Moriarty begins Sherlock's Fall by sending Adler to him. I'd like to think that Moriarty is particularly adept at reading Sherlock, and people's wants and needs in general (it's how he makes his living, much like Adler). However, what is the point in sending an overtly sexual women to an Asexual man? Moriarty knew Sherly never had relationships, nick-naming him "The Virgin". Why not send a purely intellectual foe? Why send a woman at all? Especially, why a dominatrix? She didn't win. Moriarty wasn't completely correct in his assessment of Sherlock's weaknesses. But she got really, really close. 

Adler: Brainy is the new sexy.

The eternally articulate Sherlock: ajldmflmg

So, if Sherlock is straight, what would all this imply?

Well, for one, that he's afraid of sex.

Mycroft taught him to abjure emotion ("crack in the lens"). In his mind, emotion would ruin the only thing Sherlock has to hold on to: his intellect. Sherlock is a graduate Chemist (S3E2). He knows that chemically, sex involves emotion (dopamine, oxytocin). Therefore, he avoids sex, and by extension, women. This is what Moriarty caught on to, and why he not only sent an intelligent woman to play Sherlock, but one who would have no problem making advances on him. Yet, Adler and Moriarty knew that Sherly Temple wasn't just going to fall for anyone who stripped in front of him. They needed to involve both his intellect (all the puzzles) and his emotions ("Damsel in distress...are you really so obvious? Because this was textbook")  simultaneously. Had Sherlock been more honest with himself about feelings, he probably wouldn't have let her get so far. But his self-esteem is so low, he couldn't figure out the pass-code for her phone. Until the last minute, he couldn't figure out that a women could have really fallen for him.

His horrible self-esteem is also why he didn't realize that Molly was actually into him, and not simply susceptible to flattery. It's why he couldn't deduce at Christmas that she'd dressed up for him, or that the present at the top of the pile was for him.
He thinks himself unlovable ("I never expected to be anybody's best friend"). He's constantly suspicious of people, that once they get to know the real Sherlock, they'll leave. That's why he had little problem tricking Janine. He knew it wouldn't work out anyway. She only liked him because he put on a different face.

He's slowly unlearning this mindset. John has spent every season proving Sherlock wrong about himself. 

I think some of this stuff will prove to be the final problem in the final season.


 

 

December 24, 2016 7:50 am  #2


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

I must admit that I read this post thrice and still don't quite know how to comment on it. Somehow it doesn't sit right with me. Let me just point out a few thoughts. I am sure that there will be more profound comments soon.

Thouturdofperdition wrote:

We all know that Sherlock is mentally ill. He has self-esteem so low his soul-blood is hypo-tonic. He has clinical Depression up the wazoo. He's an addict to a life-threatening degree. He's a dick-and-a-half to everyone, including his BFF 5-ever, John. The man is damn loony.

Sorry, "we all" don't know that. I mean: Seriously? Do you really watch the show thinking Sherlock is a clinically depressed man? Where exactly do you see the symptoms?

Low self-esteem is not an illness, and let's not forget that Sherlock's low self-esteem is only about human relationship. He is very sure about his abilities to solve crimes, for example.

Being addicted does not mean you are "a damn loony".



Thouturdofperdition wrote:

However, if he's not actually Asexual, but heterosexual, then he is even more vulnerable.

First, I'll go over the reasons why the BBC version of Sherlock is probably straight rather than Ace.

Quite mixing everything that is not straight here. First, you say, "if he is not asexual", then you (think you) proof he is not gay.
Looks a bit like people only have to kind of sexual orientations, "straight" and "not straight". That simply is not true, and not right on many levels.:-/

Thouturdofperdition wrote:

Then we can talk about how his illness is reflected in his sexuality.

This sounds like a nice scientific approach which I usually strongly support. But I think you did not at all prove Sherlock’s "illness", you just assumed it. I also don't see where you connected an "illness" to his sexuality. You just wrote that he is intimidated by sexual approaches and does not see Molly having a crush on him.



Sorry if I come across a bit harsh. I just wonder where your post is coming from and fail to see your reasoning.


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December 24, 2016 8:23 am  #3


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

I'm a bit confused as well, and unsure how to reply, so I'll just add this small point.

Janine liked Sherlock as 'himself' at the wedding, before he pretended to be into her. She seemed to enjoy his company and appreciated his talents. He didn't have to put on a different face for her to want to "keep him" and end up wishing he wasn't "...whatever you are."

But yeah, not sure where you're getting the loony stuff from. Have you been reading Paradox?


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December 24, 2016 8:41 am  #4


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

I think Sherlock's self-esteem is even more ambiguous than his sexuality.   He veers from self-doubt to arrogance.  I don't see it as mental illness, though.

I'd kind of agree that relationships with women seem to test him in some way, and that that's a big theme of TAB.  I don't know if TAB has set that to rest, or if there will be more to explore in S4.  I suspect there might be something about his choice to be alone, as it felt that conversation was not quite concluded.   I think what maybe needs to explore is how much that is Sherlock trying to put himself above these things for the sake of his intellect, and how much is fear of involvement and being hurt. 

However, by now, Sherlock knows that Molly has fallen for him in a big way, that Irene fell for him to the extent that she put her life at risk, that Janine was interested in him and wanted more - I think he must be pretty confident now that the evidence shows that women are attracted to him.    It's his choice not to pursue it. 

(Incidentally, I think that Sherlock talking to Molly at Christmas in ASIB is less about him not realising he's attractive, and more about him obsessing about Irene.  Irene has been flirting with him, and he's obviously intrigued - his comments to Molly about red lipstick compensating for small lips and breasts, could very easily apply to thin-lipped, small-breasted, red-lipsticked Irene.  I also think that he knows Irene is faking her death when he finds her phone and that he covers for her).

 

December 27, 2016 1:14 am  #5


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

Schmiezi wrote:

I must admit that I read this post thrice and still don't quite know how to comment on it. Somehow it doesn't sit right with me. Let me just point out a few thoughts. I am sure that there will be more profound comments soon.

Thouturdofperdition wrote:

We all know that Sherlock is mentally ill. He has self-esteem so low his soul-blood is hypo-tonic. He has clinical Depression up the wazoo. He's an addict to a life-threatening degree. He's a dick-and-a-half to everyone, including his BFF 5-ever, John. The man is damn loony.

Sorry, "we all" don't know that. I mean: Seriously? Do you really watch the show thinking Sherlock is a clinically depressed man? Where exactly do you see the symptoms?

Well, yeah, he seems like it: drastic mood swings, deep self-absorption, thrill-addiction, little regard for his own life (S1E1, Cabbie-psycho: "you'll do anything to stop being bored"), very deceptive behavior (TAB Mycroft-"No one deceives like an addict") etc.
TAB: Mycroft-"Because in your case Sherlock, solitary confinement is locking you up with your own worst enemy"

Or maybe I tend to see it in people even it's not there. I myself have been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety (voices, panic attacks, insomnia, compulsions, paranoia, the whole shebang), and have dealt with it on and off for a little more than a decade now. Sherlock looks like he has many of the subtle symptoms. His personality is strong enough to eclipse the disease, if it is there.

Low self-esteem is not an illness, and let's not forget that Sherlock's low self-esteem is only about human relationship. He is very sure about his abilities to solve crimes, for example.

Being addicted does not mean you are "a damn loony".

You're right that low self-esteem isn't an official mental illness itself, but it perpetuates and exacerbates most of them. It's kind of like weight-gain. Being overweight is not exactly an illness itself, but it can greatly predispose one to have metabolic problems that create illness.
Also, Sherlock has a lot of issues concerning his intelligence. He constantly feels inferior. Look in S3, E2 and 3. Mycroft in Sherlock's mind palace is constantly bigger than him or above him. S3E2 Mycroft is in the judge's seat in the mind-palace courtroom and Sherlock is on the floor, making it look like Sherlock was on trial instead of the case of the Mayfly Man. S3E3 When Sherlock was dying from Mary's bullet: Mycroft-"You're a very stupid little boy." Child Sherlock-"I'm not stupid."
TAB: People in Sherlock's mind palace are consistently insulting his intelligence. "Not him, the clever one"
"How does it feel to be the slow little brother?"
In the plane after he first "wakes up" from the OD: Mary-"You've been reading John's Blog, the story of how you met" Sherlock-"Helps me to see thru his eyes sometimes. I'm so much cleverer."
Also, Sherlock usually exudes arrogance. Arrogance is usually extreme behavior to compensate for pervasive self-doubt.

Thouturdofperdition wrote:

However, if he's not actually Asexual, but heterosexual, then he is even more vulnerable.

First, I'll go over the reasons why the BBC version of Sherlock is probably straight rather than Ace.

Quite mixing everything that is not straight here. First, you say, "if he is not asexual", then you (think you) proof he is not gay.
Looks a bit like people only have to kind of sexual orientations, "straight" and "not straight". That simply is not true, and not right on many levels.:-/


Well, I don't really think Sherlock is gay. I think Moriarty might've figured that out (he gave his number after all =P) before getting Adler to manipulate Sherly. I mean, Moriarty himself does a lot of stuff around Sherlock that looks sexual or flirtatious, but Sherlock doesn't react at all. However, when Moriarty's minion Adler did small things like implied she thought Sherlock sexy, he forgets how to talk for a second. S2E1 When upstairs in her room, Irene goes to inject Holmes with a sedative. All she has to do to distract him is run her hand along his arm.
Also in TAB: Moriarty-"Oh, why don't you two elope for God's sake?"
John-"Impertinent"
Sherlock-"Offensive"

Thouturdofperdition wrote:

Then we can talk about how his illness is reflected in his sexuality.

This sounds like a nice scientific approach which I usually strongly support. But I think you did not at all prove Sherlock’s "illness", you just assumed it. I also don't see where you connected an "illness" to his sexuality. You just wrote that he is intimidated by sexual approaches and does not see Molly having a crush on him.

Yeah, when I first wrote it, I kind of had an essay. I thought that too long for a forum, so I truncated it; a bit too severely it seems. =P

Sorry if I come across a bit harsh. I just wonder where your post is coming from and fail to see your reasoning.


 

     Thread Starter
 

April 18, 2017 10:29 pm  #6


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

I don't think that Sherlock is so mentally ill. If you take a look at his childhood it's pretty clear that it was tragic and I think that even though he can't remember euros and victor, he was still traumatized by the experience, so I think he's just damaged. He has said that love isn't real and I think he got that impression from his childhood. John is definitely helping him though.

 

April 19, 2017 5:39 am  #7


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

And in turn he helps Eurus.


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April 19, 2017 2:03 pm  #8


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

This is a very difficult topic because how do you define mental illness? Sherlock is an addict and seems to suffer from depression at times. As far as I know Canon Holmes has sometimes been described as being bipolar due to his vacillations between dark moods and manic enthusiasm. To ACD as well as Moftiss may have been alluding to or toying with elements of mental illness in creating their Holmeses. 

However, I do not think that this is the focus of either Canon or the show. These are character traits, not more. And in the show it is more or less explained why he is the way he is. I say more or less because for me there have not been enough answers - e.g. regarding his sexual abstinence - but this does not matter in this context. We are given explanations for most of his behaviour and the answer is not that he is mentally ill. 

 


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April 19, 2017 4:12 pm  #9


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

As a child he was traumatised to get emotionally involved with anyone, which is why he holds back in adult life.


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April 19, 2017 4:51 pm  #10


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

In BBC Sherlock, I don't see a mental illness, as in a mental diagnosis. Of course, he has his emotional issues, but I see that as something different than having a mental illness.


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April 19, 2017 4:52 pm  #11


Re: If Sherlock is straight, then he's really sick

I agree with you on that one.


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