Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Would Holmes and Watson have sex?

There seems to be a lot of people thinking about Holmes and Watson having sex, or not having sex, these days.

On the BBC Sherlock side, we have the mountain of Johnlock. On the CBS Elementary side, we have repeated assurances that the two leads will not sleep together. And in the Victorian originals, we have our two heroes continuing to go, "What? There is such a thing as sexual intercourse? Zounds!"

Well, maybe not that last part, but as there are no Canonical progeny to speak of, you really can't prove that Holmes and Watson weren't both possessed of "Ken doll" anatomies.

Yet with this question on so many minds, it makes one want to strip away all the Cumberbatch/Freeman ardor, all of the "it will ruin the show" Miller/Liu thought, and even pull a gender change on one of the pair just to ease any tensions in the homophobic, and once all that is done, actually ask and answer the basic question:

Would S. Holmes and J. Watson have sex?

Two such divergent personality types. One as completely career-focussed as a human being can be, the other a not-that-assertive sometime-homebody who gets flustered around the opposite sex. It's not hard to imagine these two, even if they were both as desirable as can be, still knocking about the same rooms for years without either one making a move.

There is admiration, yes, but there is also a measure of annoyance. And if one were to develop feelings that did not arise in the other simultaneously, it is easy to envision either of the pair being so noble (or simply practical) as not to take advantage of the situation. Love is a very curious alchemy and does not always spring up where one thinks or hopes it might, and would Watson's observation on Holmes that "as a lover, he would have place himself in a false position" be any less certain for the doctor, having developed feelings for Holmes. It might have been an even more solidly painful truth in such a case.

One looks to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully for some sign of how investigative partners who didn't come together via marriage might wind up, and despite one scene at the very last part of The X-Files, that show's creator, Chris Carter, claims they were always platonic. Many a fan, of course, hoped otherwise, as there is an instinct in all of us to want what we can't have.

These days, I would surely seem a mere infant at the study of a Holmes/Watson liason. The relationship between Holmes and Watson and every scenario that would lead to intimate connection, every reason for either of them to find a passionate need for the other, has surely been explored, reiterated, and played out in detail in a myriad of fan fiction and other discussions. There is no need to question if such a thing is possible, having been laid out for us so very many times. And yet . . .

And yet one still wonders if it could just come down to that classic line, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

And wonders if what drives the Holmes and Watson sex question so very, very hard, making it more of a force than with many another pairing is how much, deep down in our hearts, we know that these two are a truly hopeless pair for a full coupling. And if a true love could bring those two unlikely souls together, then there should surely be hope for the rest of us as well.

The sex question was never really about sex, of course. Anyone can put tab "A" into slot "B." And the pure pleasure part does not require a specific partner. It's what the act consummates that we're truly interested in.

And having Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson consummate after almost one hundred and thirty years of a relationship? It's no wonder the Sherlockian world can seem a bit mad for it these days.

But would they? Could they? Should they?

I don't know if I'll ever have an answer for that myself.


  1. I always wonder, 'WHY???'

    When I meet new people, be it fictional or real ones, I don't wonder about their sexual orientation or try to guess whether they're married and/or in whom they might be interested. It just doesn't occur to me until it becomes relevant.

    Want to invite real new person A to some event? Do I have to invite an SO as well?

    Fictional person B was murdered? Is there a spouse who'll profit from it?

    Other than that what do I care?

  2. There is no way that sort of affair would ever happen. They simply don't have that kind of relationship.

    There is, however, a curiosity out there: "The Secret of Harlot Hill," which is the only X-rated film I know of actually using the character of Sherlock Holmes. His partner is Emma Watson (really!), and, except for one scene, they maintain their platonic relationship. The filmmakers actually keep Holmes somewhat distant from the action most of the way through. While it has the production values and writing you'd expect for a film of this type, it could have been so much worse.

  3. Just accept the fact their (Holmes and Watson) companionship is one of loyal friendship, not sexual desire. That's it. Would the same discussion be had if they were two women?