The Homoerotic Undertones Of The PBS “Sherlock”


Did you watch this weekend’s premiere of Sherlock, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman? We don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet, but let’s just say Sherlock and Watson share a pretty steamy kiss. (LOL, JK, no, they don’t.)

Of course, Sherlock’s sexual orientation has been much discussed long before the latest BBC series arrived. But the show certainly isn’t reluctant about showing two men show share a close emotional bond, if Sherlock’s mechanisms can be described as “emotion.”

Is this show homoerotic? Well, it’s certainly pretty homo-ish, what with Cumberbatch and Freeman playing a pretty intense bromance. Show creator Steven Moffat once said of the pair, “They are just incredibly good friends. If Sherlock is gay, and who knows if he is, then I don’t think he fancies John,” although he’s certainly capable of jealous when his pal’s attention strays toward the opposite sex.

In other words, the “erotic” aspect may be in the eye of the beholder. So let’s behold!


Here’s what Martin Freeman had to say about their characters: “There are a lot of people hoping that our characters are rampantly at it. If you want to think that they are secretly at it, then you can, but we’ve never played anything like that.”

Okay, fine. It may not be intentionally there, but he just gave us all permission to insert our own subtext. And we do love a good insertion.

Remember when they were moving in and Mrs. Hudson was like “there’s another bedroom upstairs … if you’ll be needing two bedrooms.”

Wink, Wink.

And in Season 1 when Sherlock was “flattered” by what he perceived to be Watson’s “interest”?

Wink, Wink.

And then there was the time Watson got back from the gym, and he was all sweaty because he didn’t have time to shower, and Sherlock made some pithy remark that bothered Watson so he seized Sherlock and threw him over his knee and started spanking him, and Sherlock could only just squirm and whine and his butt got all red, and then Watson made Sherlock lick his pits? (That happens later in the new season. You haven’t seen it yet. Trust us.)

For reasons that are not entirely clear to us, fantasies involving Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have become strangely popular in China. Watson is known as “Peanut,” a pun on the phonetic quality of his name in Chinese, and Cumberbatch’s nickname is “Curly Fu.”

If you like, you can go waaaaaaay down the rabbit-hole of gay subtext with “Decoding the Subtext,” an unbelievably extensive analysis of queerness in the original books. A sample:

This is the second occasion we have had been witness to Holmes waking Watson; only this time he has not bothered to dress, something that, in Victorian times, would have been considered quite indecent.

cumberbatch-benedictOkay, this really seems like grasping at straws. Why not just put it all out in the open with some really raunchy slash?

Here’s some art, and here’s some fiction. A selection:

Shercock is a very short story regarding an unbearably horny Sherlock and Watson who find themselves unable to wait until after dinner to taste each other once more. Written by authentic Brit Alice Sanders, a new erotica author for the Kindle, who has previously had success in mainstream publishing – you can be assured that the writing will be of the utmost quality. With a focus on high-density erotic action, you’ll be aroused and impressed in equal measure. Reward yourself; isn’t a Shercock worth more than a pound?

And then there was the Guy Ritchie version of the Sherlock, which despite being one of the least watchable of the franchise is also one of the gayest. Here’s Guy Ritchie saying as much:

Sherlock and Watson dance together in this film, and also have a preoccupation that guns mirroring that of Zardoz.

sherlock and watsonPart of the franchise’s heteronormativity may be attributed to the rights holders, such as Andrew Plunkett, who said: “It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future. I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.”

But oh well, Sherlock is (mostly) in the public domain now! A judge just ruled that all of the pre-1922 content now belongs to the people, with the rest of it entering public domain over the next decade.

So fire up that slash fiction and your erotic imagination!