|A Victorian Woman|
While Holmes values a woman's instinct and intuition, he has no intention of letting romance and marriage enter his life because he doesn't see emotion and reason as being compatible: "But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment" (The Sign of Four).
Holmes said of Mary, "I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. She had a decided genius that way, witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father" (The Sign of Four). The key word is "might have." She and Watson were in love, and therefore their reasoning was impaired according to Holmes, and she could no longer be of much use.
Yet, while this phrase communicates his disapproval of their marriage, it also expresses an appreciation for her faculties and that he thinks she possessed potential for being of assistance in crime solving. It is hard to reconcile this with Watson's report that Holmes had an "aversion to women" (The Greek Interpreter). In this situation it seems he is not averse to Mary, just to averse to her marriage to Watson since it will cloud their reasoning. So perhaps, his "aversion to women" was in a general sense: womankind as a whole, or specifically in regards to romance: he decided not to marry and so pulled back from women generally. It seems that while he was able to appreciate a woman's merits he never pursued a friendship with one beyond what was needed to solve a case.
Additionally, "Holmes had, when he liked, a peculiarly ingratiating way with women, and...he very readily established terms of confidence with them" (The Adventure of the Golden Pince-nez). Holmes could easily befriend women when he found it expedient, yet I don't recall any mention of his having a close or prolonged friendship with a woman in the canon and he certainly had no intention of falling in love.
|From Harper's Bazaar, May 14, 1898|
Many people like to toy with the idea of a romance between Holmes and Irene Adler. Holmes was not in love with Irene Adler. "It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler" (A Scandal in Bohemia).
It's interesting to note that many of the women Holmes encountered throughout his adventures were brave, spirited, independent, emotional, and loyal. Most of them weren't silly, although sometimes over-run by passions.
Therefore, from the canon, it seems that while he is decidedly against romantic attachments, he is generally kind to women and values woman's instincts.
The Sherlock Holmes stories were written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are many different editions and publications of these stories, and they are sometimes presented in part or as an entirety.
The first image is from Karen's Whimsy. Her website features collections of nicely sorted public domain images for free use.
The second is from Wikipedia. Due to its date, the image is no longer under copyright.