Sherlock: Your romantic inclinations are not a flaw to be corrected, they’re a trait to be accepted. I know you, Watson. I know you’ll never be happy within the confines of a quote-unquote “traditional relationship.” And I said what I said because it pains me to see you try to fit into one simply because it is the default mode of polite society.
Joan: Well, there’s no reason to feel pain, because I’m happy with Andrew.
Sherlock: But would you be happier without him? Alternatively, with him as an occasional sex partner and confidante. Or, with him when he’s in the States, and free to pursue other interests when he’s not. There are any number of possible arrangements. All you need to do is find one which is true to your nature.
- Elementary, 3x7
This scene is so wonderful.
First of all, we have Sherlock endorsing open relationships and potentially polyamory. And please note the use of the word “arrangement” - he is not suggesting Joan should cheat on Andrew. He’s talking about disregarding convention and tradition to find the ideal approach, not just for Joan but for all parties involved. And he’s not saying any particular way is the right one, he is offering up suggestions and encouraging experimentation to find what works best for them.
And this could be applied to any kind of relationship, regardless of sexuality or romantic orientation. Speaking as an aromantic asexual who’d still like to have a significant other in some form, I know how difficult it can be to have a relationship if you are not, as Sherlock says, true to your nature, or if you’re worrying too much about conforming to the rules of a traditional relationship.
When Sherlock says “romantic inclinations”, it could mean just about anything. And as long as the people involved are informed and consenting, you should feel free to do whatever makes you and your loved ones happy, regardless of what society thinks of it - including not being in a relationship at all. Because how you feel is not a problem, it is a part of what makes you who you are.
Your romantic inclinations are not a flaw to be corrected, they’re a trait to be accepted.