Asexuality is defined as experiencing little to no sexual desire, but can manifest differently from person to person. Compared to other queer representation, asexuality is far less common in the media. According to GLAAD, on TV only 0.3% of all LGBTQ+ characters are asexual.
Representation is important because it can educate viewers on topics they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to, and help those who may be questioning their identity by providing them with a character they can relate to.
It is difficult to say what factors influence the prevalence of asexual stories on screen. However, it is incredibly hurtful for the asexual community when asexual identities are intentionally erased. Riverdale showrunners angered fans by erasing Jughead Jones’ asexuality when the comic book was adapted into a Netflix series.
With this article, we aim to celebrate the few positive examples of asexuality across tv, movies, and beyond.
Elijah in Big Mouth
Elijah was recently introduced in the show’s sixth season. Through meeting and dating another student, he discovers he doesn’t experience attraction in the same way as other teenagers. Ultimately, he manages to make sense of his feelings with the help of his aunt, who also identifies as asexual. The addition of an asexual storyline to a popular Netflix series is important, even more so as Big Mouth intends to capture the awkwardness of puberty, and through it, the diversity of sexual identities.
Todd Chavez in BoJack Horseman
Todd’s character is said to be the first asexual representation in the streaming landscape. His lack of sexual orientation is first introduced in season 3 of BoJack Horseman, and then further explored more explicitly in season 4, when Todd enters the world of asexual dating.
Florence in Sex Education
Like Big Mouth, Sex Education presents its viewers with complex topics such as sex & sexuality, dating & relationships, gender identity etc. In season 2, Florence seeks advice from the unofficial sex-ed counsellor on campus, who helps her discover that she is asexual.
Lord Varys in Game of Thrones
In season 4, Varys explains that from a young age he lacked any interest in boys and girls, and goes on to add that he sees it as a blessing to not be distracted by sexual desire: “When I see what desire does to people, what it’s done to this country, I am very glad to have no part in it.”
Valentina “Voodoo” Dunacci in Sirens
As a main character on the show, her connection with her colleague Brian is a major storyline. Their close bond develops as Brian falls in love with her, however, the show doesn’t attempt to define their relationship, respecting Val’s asexual identity.
While SpongeBob SquarePants never explicitly came out on the show, its creator confirmed that the character is inspired by real-life sea sponges, which reproduce asexually. In 2020, a Nickelodeon Twitter post led to further speculation.
Elsa in Frozen
There has been a lot of speculation regarding Elsa’s sexuality. Many believe that she is aromantic and asexual because of her continued disinterest in romance, arguably uncharacteristic of a Disney character.
Raphael Santiago in Shadowhunters
Raphael’s romantic connection to Isabelle captured the viewers’ hearts, while also educating them about asexuality. The intimacy they share is purely emotional, and not physical, with Raphael’s feelings towards sex being made explicitly clear.
Some of these characters are more explicitly asexual than others. Nonetheless, you may find their stories – or even characterisation – familiar and comforting. If you’re searching for more fleshed-out characters, BoJack Horseman, Sirens and Big Mouth will probably suit your needs.
Image by Vectonauta on Freepik