The media is slowly starting to pick up on asexuality and is writing and showing more about the (a)sexual orientation. However, we still have a long way to go. Below you’ll find lists of asexual representation in the media. This includes TV shows, YouTube videos, (online) articles and books.
Asexual representation in the media
Quickly browse to the specific media you want to look at, or take your time and scroll through it all. It’s up to you! Below you’ll find an overview. Here you can click on every specific type of media to jump straight to it.
- Asexual representation in TV shows
- Asexual representation in books
- Asexual representation in articles
- Asexual representation on YouTube
Asexual representation in TV shows
Asexual characters on the screen are still very rare. And if they are being portrayed as asexual, it’s hardly ever positive. Some shows and movies are the exception here and really approach asexuality with respect and kindness. The last video in this list however, is an example of how not to speak about the topic of asexuality in shows. Feel free to skip it, however for those who want to see it, it’s there (Dr. House on asexuality).
Florence in Sex Education
In the show Sex Education (2019) Florence says “I don’t want to have sex at all, ever, with anyone. I think I might be broken.” to Dr. Jean Milburn. A well-known sex therapist. When asked how Florence feels when thinking about having sex, she replies: “I don’t feel anything. I have no connection to it. It’s sort of like I’m surrounded by a huge feast with everything I could want to eat but I’m not hungry.” It’s at this point that Dr. Milburn asks about her knowledge on the topic of asexuality and explains that asexuality means someone has no sexual attraction to any sex or gender. When Florence mentions she still wants to fall in love, Dr. Milburn also explains that some asexual people still can and want romantic relationships. While they do not mention the terms specifically (romantic or aromantic asexuals), this scene is still one of the most respectful ones out there. In the end, Dr. Milburn reassures Florence there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her by stating: “Sex doesn’t make us whole. And so, how could you ever be broken?“
Liv Flaherty in Emmerdale
Back in 2019, Liv opened up to Aaron about being asexual in the show Emmerdale. Liv says: “I’ve done my research alright. I have been looking online because I knew that I couldn’t be the only person that felt different. I don’t have sexual feelings towards people. And that’s alright. You can still have romantic feelings. You can still be attracted to people. Just not physically.” Aaron respectfully and calmly responds by saying “okay” as Liv continues: “Jacob gets that. He gets me. He’s alright with it and so am I.” This was a good example on how we should normalize asexuality in shows.
Good to know: Emmerdale was the first soap opera in the UK to have an asexual in their storyline. The first ever asexual storyline was Shortland street. A soap opera from New Zealand. In July 2008 the episode about Gerald being asexual aired.)
Todd in BoJack Horseman
Todd opens up to BoJack in the show BoJack Horseman by saying: “I’m asexual, not sexual. I’m sure you think that’s weird.” BoJack’s response is one that made many happy. He replies: “Are you kidding? That is amazing! Sometimes I wish I was asexual.” As they shortly talk on about it, Todd mentions feeling good about finally being able to say it out loud and BoJack then replies that this is great. No judgement, he’s simply happy for Todd that he figured this out. Todd’s asexual orientation can be recognized in many different scenes throughout the show and was (mostly) positively received by it’s asexual viewers.
Dr. House in House, M.D.
While we want this list to be as positive as possible, it is also good to know how not to represent a sexual orientation. Disapproving asexuality, dismissive responses or making a joke out of asexuality all together, happens in multiple shows. An example of this, is when patients on the show ‘House’ mention being asexual. House’s opinion on asexuality is everything but positive. He refers to asexuals as “the giant pool of algae” and assumes they are ugly. When, later on in the show, a colleague says House should accept that the woman in fact does not want sex, he replies: “Lot’s of people don’t have sex. the only people that don’t want it are either sick, dead or lying.” While this fits his straight-forward, somewhat rough character, they could’ve been more careful around the subject, considering the way asexuality was hardly accepted back then, yet very valid.
David Jay, the founder of AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network), referred to the House episode by calling it “disturbing but not unexpected.” The asexual community also responds disappointed and frustrated. One of the comments under the video on YouTube: “This would’ve had so much more backlash if they were gay”.
Asexual representation in books
Where asexuality lacks attention on TV, it is making up for in books. There are quite a few books out there. Below you can find a list of highest reviewed and most popular books. More will be added regularly. You can find a list of books tagged ‘asexual’ on Goodreads, too.
by Angela Chen
In a world that seems obsessed with sexual attraction, Angela Chen explores what can be learned about desire and identity, by using an ace lens to see the world.
Angela Chen, an asexual person herself, uses her own journey of self-discovery to educate, and vulnerably connect with readers. Along with interviews, cultural criticism and memoir, this book invites its readers to consider big-picture issues through the lens of asexuality. Among those big-picture issues are many societal topics such as masculine gender roles, the rise of feminism and more.
When reading the reviews it quickly becomes clear this book moves the hearts of both asexuals as allosexuals. Chen certainly writes in an intelligent and yet understandable way that will speak to many and will make this book a pleasure to read for anyone interested in the topic.
The Invisible Orientation
by Julie Sondra Decker
In this book the writer: Julie Sondra Decker, outlines what asexuality is. Julie counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts the experiences of asexuals in context as they move through a sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships. Julie also offers tips and facts for allosexuals who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.
There are over 1100 ratings of this book with an average of 4 out of 5 stars and 245 reviews. One of them states: “This book is an accessible look at asexuality; the writing style is conversational and explains asexuality without getting too jargony or scientific. Additionally, the writer is compassionate to both sides and is able to “talk” to both asexuals and non-asexuals. It’s a great read for familiarizing yourself with the definition and challenges–as well as being affirming and compassionate. As a bonus, the author includes a large list of resources at the end! Recommended.” –Sinistmer
How to be Ace
by Rebecca Burgess
This book is a beautiful memoir by Rebecca Burgess about growing up as an asexual and the struggles that come along with this. Trying to fit in, understanding why you’re different, and more.
The asexual community welcomed this book with open arms as Twitter filled with positive tweets about the book. It’s a personal, relatable and supportive book for all those who identify as asexual but also a must-read for those who consider themselves to be an ally.
David Jay, founder of AVEN (the Asexual Visibility and Education Network) wrote: “Just got my copy of “How to be Ace” by @theoray, loving it so far!“
by Alice Oseman
This story is about Georgia and her journey towards finding her identity and self-acceptance. She enters university in a completely new town, together with her best friends Pip and Jason.
With an outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, she’s ready for her ‘teenage dream’. However, along the way she starts to question her struggles with love and relationships. She wonders why it seems so natural and easy to others, yet so complicated for her. During the course of her journey, Georgia and her friends discover that true love isn’t limited to romance.
While this book only tells the story of one specific (aromantic and asexual) orientation, it is nonetheless good to have books like this one, that other asexuals and aromantics may be able to relate too may be able to relate to.
by N.R. Walker
This book is mostly a romantic story about two asexual guys who fall in love: Hennessy and Jordan. the reader learns more about asexuality as they follow the love story of the two.
Hennessy had seen many of his romances end because of his asexuality, but stayed true to himself. He organizes a support group meeting for asexuals, and this is where he meets Jacob.
While the main story focuses on the two falling in love, the journey of Jordan accepting his asexual orientation also teaches the reader about asexuality along the way, as well as what it means to be asexual. For many asexual readers this was a part they could relate to well. Reviews from allosexuals also mentioned this was an interesting way to learn more about the (a)sexual orientation and while the facts did seem unnaturally sprinkled into the story at times, it was nonetheless helpful in creating a better understanding.
Asexual representation in articles
Compared to two decades ago when representation of asexuality in the media was incredibly limited, there is a lot more to find online now. More and more magazines, blogs and other websites are starting to write about asexuality in a positive way. Below you will find some of the better articles that may be worth your time. Click on the purple links to go to the articles.
“Asexuality meaning and how it affects sex and relationships” was written for Elle, by Becky Burgum. From the meaning of asexuality to the meaning of the flag and the effects on relationships: this article answers some of the most common questions about asexuality.
Written by Bella DePaulo, this article called “Next-level asexuality” is about asexuality in history, popular culture, psychiatry and everyday life. It explains how asexuality is in fact a real sexual orientation, as the American Psychiatric Association stopped categorizing asexuality as a mental disorder in 2013. And how asexuals are still struggling with a lot of stigma around their orientation.
Written by asexual activist Yasmin Benoit, the article “What is asexuality: myths and truths about being asexual” in Teen Vogue answers the question ‘What is asexuality’, and busts some common myths about what it means to be asexual. Yasmin starts of by sharing her own story and how she learned she was asexual. After this she talks about the myths that exist around asexuality, such as asexuality being a choice or an illness.
The article “How these asexual women knew they don’t experience sexual attraction‘ by Paisley Gilmour tells the story of 8 women who realized they were asexual and how they came to this conclusion.
Another article by Cosmopolitan is called “I’m the unlikely face of asexuality” and was written by Yasmin Benoit herself. This article tells the personal story of Yasmin who discovered her asexuality and her journey towards becoming a asexual activist.
This article is called “My label and me: I used to think asexual meant fancying yourself” tells the story of Sam Rendle. She’s a YouTuber who also makes ace content. You can find more about her channel in this article in which she shares her journey of realizing she’s asexual and the impact it had on her life. One of the things she mentions: “With the potential for awkward flirting or romantic advances off the table, I find myself more able to relax into conversation with people. The pressure of putting myself out there is off.”
Asexual representation on YouTube
More and more asexuals are starting to create content and share their stories. But not just asexuals: popular channels also talk about asexuality in a respectful and educated manner. Here’s a list of some of the best asexual videos that can be found on YouTube.
Psych2Go – What does it mean to be asexual
“Have you ever wondered whether or not you’re asexual? People who identify as asexual – or ace – are not typically sexually attracted to anyone. Asexuality is an extremely misunderstood sexual identity, so we would like to raise more awareness about this. Confused about what it means to be asexual? This video is for you!” – Psych2Go
Psych2Go – 7 Things asexual people want you to know
Asexuality is an extremely misunderstood sexual identity. Sexual intimacy is important for many of us. Because most of society deems sexual attraction important, asexuals are often ostracized – even pitied – for their sexual orientation. In this video, we cover some of the common misconceptions that asexual people want you to know. – Psych2Go
Tinder – 5 Asexual people explain what asexual means to them
“For most, physical and sexual attraction is an important part of choosing who to date or partner up with. Not so for asexual people, like the five featured in the video above, who can, if they don’t also identify as aromantic, be romantically attracted to people but don’t wish to have sex with them. Unsurprisingly, being asexual comes with its challenges: explaining yourself to friends and family, dating and finding a romantic partner, and feeling as if you fit in with your peers. But it’s hardly a hopeless situation, because as you hear, “You are not alone. There’s a lot of us, and we will definitely welcome you with open arms.” -Tinder
Side note: if you’re looking for asexuals (friends or perhaps more), then this article is for you: Dating apps for asexuals.
Sky News – life without sex: what is asexuality
It’s estimated 1% of the global population is asexual, but Sky News data shows they are deeply misunderstood by wider society. Do asexual people have a sex drive? Do they fall in love and marry? What is asexuality? Over 75% of people don’t know. Our reporter Charlie Bell speaks to four people who are redefining our misconceptions of this niche sexual orientation. – Sky News
What was very interesting in this video was the results of the Sky Data poll. People were asked if they could confidently define asexuality. 53% of the people said yes. But when put to the test, of these people 76% of this group were either wrong and/or didn’t know after all. This goes to show that we still have a long way to go and that more awareness is much needed.
More asexual representation online
Do you know of any other media coverage that we’ve missed and feel like it should be on this page? From TV shows to movies and music to comics and literature. Anything is welcome. Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter and let us know.
Would you like to join an asexual community and are you looking to make new friends or perhaps even more?