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‘Young Sheldon’ Solves Another Sheldon Cooper Mystery for ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Fans

'Young Sheldon' might be creating and solving mysteries about Sheldon Cooper at the same time. In a recent episode, fans learned why Sheldon calls sex coitus. In the same episode, young Sheldon shows far more empathy and understanding than his adult counterpart. It seems like a delicate game of give and take.

Sheldon Cooper’s quirks were a big part of what made The Big Bang Theory successful. Explaining where those quirks came from has become a huge part of Young Sheldon, the show’s spinoff prequel. A recent episode of the series finally explained why Sheldon never used the word sex in The Big Bang Theory. The explanation actually makes a lot of sense. 

Sheldon Cooper called sex ‘coitus’ on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ 

For the duration of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon seemed to avoid using the word “sex.” Instead, the physicist referred to the intimate act as “coitus.” The term, and Sheldon’s use of it, became a running joke on the series. In fact, most of his pals noted how uncomfortable the terminology made them at one time or another. 

For years, The Big Bang Theory fans assumed Sheldon’s use of the word “coitus” was linked to his own lack of sexual attraction to others. Instead of viewing sex as an intimate exchange, he seemed to consider it transactional, which would explain his use of a more scientific term. Sheldon never explicitly stated that, though, and apparently, fans were wrong. the prequel cleared that up. There is an entirely different reason Sheldon used the term. 

‘Young Sheldon’ gave a lengthy explanation for his choice of words

In the season 5 episode, “Money Laundering and a Cascade of Hormones,” adult Sheldon explains that his younger self recognized the discomfort that the topic of sex caused. He went on to explain how much chaos even just the word could cause. To deal with the havoc, he finds a different word that would describe the act but be deemed less offensive. The adult voiceover explains that Sheldon picked “coitus” for its “bland” and “clinical” nature. 

Georgie and Sheldon sit at the table with George Sr. in 'Young Sheldon'
Georgie, Sheldon and George Sr. | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

The episode might have explained why Sheldon used the term as an adult, but it accidentally introduced a plot hole. In the episode, he recognized the discomfort that the word caused people around him and quickly looked for a solution. The action seems socially adept and empathetic for a kid who would become an adult who did not recognize or seem to care about other people’s discomfort. It’s not the only plot hole that the prequel has created, either. 

The show has injected several plot holes into ‘The Big Bang Theory’ 

While Young Sheldon explained why Sheldon called sex “coitus” for the duration of The Big Bang Theory, the prequel has also injected a fair number of plot holes into the original series. Most notably, the spinoff completely confused fans when Sheldon requested to hear “Soft Kitty” when he was hurt. In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon said that “Soft Kitty” was only intended for sick people. The plot hole is connected to the fact that he did not consider injury to be a sickness. 


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The prequel spinoff also created plot holes regarding other aspects of the quirky sceintist’s life. For example, it introduced plots holes for the genius’s safety whistle, his childhood living situation, and his recollection of his father. In the spinoffGeorge Senior is portrayed as a mostly benign well-meaning family man. In The Big Bang Theory, he describes his father as a heavy drinker with anger issues.