The Asexual Physicist Conundrum
It starts on a Wednesday, during Leonard's now weekly "how to pick up chicks" lesson with Penny.
"Honestly," she says, after he fails to grasp the difference between good and bad pickup lines, "I don't know why you don't just date Sheldon."
Leonard had never really felt the need to come up with a list of reasons why he didn't date Sheldon. He thought if anyone ever asked, he could bring Sheldon out, gesture to him, and say "ta-da!" But the way Penny was looking at him, he didn't think that would work.
"Why would I date Sheldon?" he asks.
"You two get along," says Penny. "He can live with you, and I don't know if he could live with anyone else. It just makes sense."
"So I should date Sheldon because he can't do any better."
Penny pats his hand. "Oh, honey. It's not just him."
Leonard lets that one go. "I don't think he even--you know, he's not really interested in--"
"Sheldon doesn't have sex," Penny supplies.
"But he could, right?"
"I assume he's physically capable of it, but I never really checked."
"I just think you should think about it," says Penny. "Because we've been doing this lesson thing for a while, and, as a friend? I don't know if girls are going to work out for you."
Leonard groans. "Thanks for the input."
"Does Sheldon have sex?" asks Leonard.
"Dude!" says Raj. "We're supposed to not talk about that! Don't you remember the pact?"
"I remember the pact, jeez. I'm just curious. Does he?"
"You live with him," says Wolowitz. "If anyone knows about his sex life, it's you."
That's a terrifying thought. "I try not to ask."
"So why are you asking now?" asks Raj.
Leonard doesn't want to admit he's thinking about taking Penny's advice. "I'm just curious," he repeats.
"Well," says Raj. "He did pick up that guy before."
"That was for Penny!"
"Maybe he just wanted us to think it was for Penny."
"I don't think Sheldon cares about our opinions on his sex life."
"Maybe he thinks Wolowitz is homophobic."
"Why am I homophobic?" asks Wolowitz.
"You're the most judgemental," says Raj.
"I am not! I am open to all kinds of love."
"Guys, we're getting away from the point," says Leonard.
"Of course we are," says Raj. "The point is Sheldon's sex life. I want to get as far away from that as possible. Don't you?"
Leonard swallows. He does, he really does. He never likes thinking about Sheldon and sex. Except--
It's Penny's fault. Penny brought it up. Penny's the one who was thinking about Sheldon's sex life. Leonard is an innocent victim.
"Sheldon, do you have sex?"
Sheldon glances up and cocks his head. Leonard already regrets this conversation. "With whom?"
"Just, you know, in general."
"In general none of us have sex," Sheldon points out.
"I know. But would you?"
"I have considered that it is criminal of me to not spread my seed back into the gene pool."
Leonard rubs his forehead. "Yeah, some lucky girl is really missing out," he mutters.
"No, that's why there are sperm banks."
"We're not going back to the sperm bank."
"Maybe you aren't. I consider it my duty to mankind."
Leonard sighs and hits his head lightly against the back of the couch.
"Was there a point to this line of inquiry?" Sheldon asks.
"No," says Leonard. "No, there wasn't."
The problem is, even after all his research, Leonard can't stop thinking about it. Not just Sheldon's sex life, but the hypothetical sex life that would exist between him and Sheldon. That shouldn't exist between him and Sheldon, for a reason that he has not yet determined.
It's not the guy thing--he doesn't like guys, exactly, but he has enough trouble with dating that he doesn't think he should rule out half the world just because they have penises. So that's no excuse.
He thinks Sheldon is a good reason not to date Sheldon, but they already live together and he doesn't drive Leonard totally insane all the time. Partially insane some of the time, sure, but it's not like he's living with Wolowitz.
Somewhere, there is a logical and rational explanation why he and Sheldon are not in a relationship.
He just can't put his finger on it at the moment.
It's driving him kind of nuts.
"How long are you planning to live with me?" asks Leonard.
"Indefinitely," says Sheldon. "Unless some kind of underground laboratory opens up that I could move to. Those are really the kinds of places where you have to live alone. Unless you wanted to be a henchman. Did you want to be a henchman?"
"No, Sheldon, I don't want to be your henchmen," says Leonard. Then, "What if I got married?"
"The chances of that are low enough that it's not worth thinking about."
Sheldon blinks. "I thought you were aware."
Leonard rubs his face. "What if you get married?"
"Why would I get married? I have you."
"Don't you ever...crave human companionship?"
"I have human companionship. You, Wolowitz, Koothrappali. Sometimes Penny."
"Sex, Sheldon. Don't you ever want sex?"
"No. But if you did, I could be persuaded."
Leonard does a doubletake. "Really?"
Sheldon shrugs. "I understand you're more of a slave to your genetic impulses than I am. It's not your fault. It's millions of years of inferior evolution."
"Thanks," says Leonard, carefully.
"Did you want to have sex now?"
Leonard chokes. "Now?"
"You've been mentioning it frequently. I assumed you were 'horny,'" he says, making air quotes with his fingers.
"No. I'm going to--I need to go see Penny."
"All right," says Sheldon easily. "But she's not going to have sex with you."
"Believe me, Sheldon, I know."
He immediately collapses onto Penny's couch. "I'm dating Sheldon," he says. "I can't believe I'm dating Sheldon."
Penny pats his shoulder consolingly. "I know you are, sweetie. I know you are."