Well, it’s that horrible, horrible time of year again, when Lady Geek Girl forces all of us here to list our Top 10 fanon and canon pairings, successfully turning our blog and mission of equality into a giant shipping war for a day. This post, however, is not that list. You’ll get that later on today, but in the meantime, let’s talk about asexual characters. Asexuality is not well represented in popular culture, and when it is, it’s not represented very well. Unfortunately, this leaves me with very few characters I can related to sexually. Coming to my rescue, though, are headcanons. Headcanons are hardly the same thing as representation in the source material, but at least they’re something.
So without further ado, here are my Top 10 characters who I think could be asexual.
10. Sherlock Holmes (BBC Sherlock)
I’ve already talked about the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes and his potential asexuality in detail a while back. Though series creator Steven Moffat said Sherlock is in no way asexual because asexual people are “boring”—fuck you too, Moffat—I feel as though asexuality perfectly defines Sherlock’s character. Sherlock doesn’t show any outward interest in sex, never actively pursues any relationship for the sake of romance, and when he thinks someone is interested in him, he’s pretty quick to turn that person down. In “A Study in Pink”, while talking to Watson, Sherlock reveals that having a girlfriend is “not his area” and he also heavily implies that he’s not interested in men either. Earlier in the conversation, he tells Watson that he finds the whole relationship thing dull. So I don’t know what Moffat was talking about. Sherlock’s totally asexual.
9. Varys (A Song of Ice and Fire)
I’m not sure if this counts as a headcanon when the television show, Game of Thrones, all but admitted to us that Varys is asexual. Throughout the series, everyone always assumes that Varys likes men—sometimes they insinuate that he likes little boys—but these are things that Varys neither confirms nor denies. In fact, he never talks about his sexual preferences, at least until Oberyn Martell comes along. Varys admits to Oberyn that he likes neither men nor women—that he has never felt sexual attraction to another person.
I’ve seen people argue that this is because Varys was castrated pre-puberty, but that would have very little impact on whether or not he experiences sexual attraction. And hey, if Game of Thrones came out and all but said he’s ace, then that’s good enough for me. Here’s hoping that the books will confirm his asexuality as well.
8. Angela (The Inheritance Cycle)
Oh, The Inheritance Cycle, my favorite series ever. It has been too long since I’ve negatively critiqued this series, so let me fix that right now. Angela is both one of the best and one of the worst characters in the entire series. And considering how poorly some of the other characters are written, that’s saying something. Angela is always shrouded in mystery and no one ever knows what she’s thinking. She’s a powerful enough sorceress that the rules of magic don’t seem to apply to her, and it’s heavily implied that she’s one of the Grey Folk, a supposed extinct group of people who are responsible for the magical state in the land Alagaësia. The books build her character up, and then they provide no payoff whatsoever. We never learn who she really is.
Her character ended up being a huge letdown, but before the last book, she was awesome. Angela is quirky, fun, morally grey, and one of the few enjoyable characters in the series. I love her. I would love her even more if she was asexual, and she very well could be. Unlike the other characters, Angela is one of the few people to display no romantic or sexual interests. Instead, she is content spending her days debating the existence of frogs and toads and going on epic adventures with her werecat companion. How could I not headcanon her as asexual?
7. Asajj Ventress and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)
Look, I realize that, despite being on opposite sides of a war, Asajj Ventress and Obi-Wan Kenobi were made for each other, and I ship them too, but the existence of romantic interest doesn’t mean that they’re not asexual. I also realize that they were both raised as Jedi, which means that they were indoctrinated into not having romantic relationships with anyone, but heteromantic asexuality is still a possibility. Obi-Wan constantly calls Asajj “my dear” throughout the series, and she shows more interest in him during her quest to conquer the galaxy than she does any other Jedi. At one point in the fifth season of The Clone Wars, she even goes out of her way to save Obi-Wan’s life. She does the same for Ahsoka, but she doesn’t love Ahsoka. She loves Obi-Wan—you know it to be true—and someday I hope that both Asajj and Obi-Wan can get together to engage in some romantic, but totally not sexual, cuddling with each other.
Derek is one of the few characters on Teen Wolf defined solely by his relationships. Well then, you know what could only help redeem his story? Being asexual. It’s important to remember that asexuality doesn’t prevent a person from having relationships or sex, just from experiencing sexual attraction. An asexual Derek could still hook up with Braeden, and their relationship would open up a lot of important discussions within the show. For example, Derek, as a victim of abuse, could constantly be told that his asexuality is a result of that abuse. This is something that many asexual people deal with. People assume that some tragic past “made” us asexual, and that’s just not true. Watching Derek handle his trauma, be surrounded by misinformed assholes, and also explore his asexuality with Braeden could only improve his character at this point.
5. Jonathan Crane (DC Universe)
When I first got into Batman, I was never really super interested in Jonathan Crane’s character. At least that was the case until I read the Mad Friends series by Lauralot. I reviewed her story a while ago, but for those of you who missed it, Mad Friends gives us an asexual Jonathan, and it’s amazing. The series chronicles his friendship with Harley Quinn and his relationships to both the Joker and the Batman. Jonathan’s sexuality only helps to define who he is, and the issues he deals with because of it only makes him more interesting. Thanks to Mad Friends, I cannot view Jonathan as anything other than asexual. Even more interesting, Jonathan’s alter ego is not ace. Scarecrow totally experiences sexual attraction and that does create more layered issues for their characters. I loved every minute of that story, and as I said, it has irrevocably changed the way I perceive Jonathan’s character. Jonathan Crane was meant to be asexual, and I desperately wish that DC Comics would make this one canon.
4. Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)
A while back, many of us internet denizens were led to believe that Daryl Dixon could potentially be gay. The show writers certainly seem like they were considering it. So you know what I thought? I thought it would be awesome if he were ace instead. Daryl is another character who has never shown any romantic or sexual interest in anybody else, leading me to believe that he is an aromantic asexual. All of his relationships within the first five seasons thus far have been entirely platonic. Even when Beth (may she rest in peace) offers to have sex with him, he turns her down. All in all, I was left with the impression that he just isn’t interested in sex in general, and his lack in romance and sexual partners is certainly one of the reasons I love his character so much. Daryl is someone that I can easily headcanon as ace, which is important, because it means that even during a zombie apocalypse, I’ll have someone to relate to.
Remember in Frozen when Anna sang about finding a significant other because she was so isolated from the world that she had never experienced romance a day in her life? Now remember how Elsa, who was also completely isolated, never worried at all about finding a partner? I mean, I suppose we could say that Elsa had other issues to consider, but we could also say that she’s asexual. Anna had other things to worry about than getting married, too, but she still managed to find some romance for herself along the way. Elsa didn’t. I don’t even think the thought of a partner ever crossed Elsa’s mind. Did she ever worry about how she was going to get married and produce heirs during all her years in icy confinement? No, she didn’t. Even after learning how to control her powers, Elsa is perfectly happy just spending time with her sister and creating ice sculptures. She’s too busy having fun with her magical powers to have time for romance, sex, and continuing the family line. She is totally an aromantic asexual.
2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
If there’s one thing I hate about The Hunger Games, it’s the love triangle. Katniss and Peeta or Katniss and Gale? How about Katniss and Nobody instead? When we are first introduced to Katniss, she lets us know that she’s not interested in settling down with anyone. Sure, she doesn’t want to have kids of her own for obvious reasons, but she also doesn’t want a relationship either. And she certainly never saw either Gale or Peeta in a romantic light. While both boys are pining for her, Katniss is off making sure her mother and sister don’t starve to death. Relationships don’t even cross her mind until she finds out that Peeta likes her, and even then, theirs is not a romance she wants to engage in. She has to in order to survive. She sees Peeta as nothing more than a friend, and the same goes for Gale. Katniss Everdeen is yet another aromantic asexual and no one will convince me otherwise.
1. Anastasia Steele (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Wow, yeah, I know this one is really out there, and hey, I don’t even like Fifty Shades of Grey. I actively detest that series. I hate it from the depths of my miserable soul. To make an incredibly long story short, Anastasia Steele’s relationship with Christian Grey is centered on abuse and coercion. Numerous times throughout the series he rapes and victim-blames her, and I plan to talk about how harmful that is in significantly more detail at a later date. However, if for one moment we can take a step back and view the books for what they were meant to be, as opposed to what they are, we end up with a raunchy story about two consenting adults engaging in a BDSM relationship.
So why would I headcanon Anastasia Steele as asexual? Well, that’s because in many regards she comes across as an asexual character. It is true that Ana finds Christian attractive and fantasizes about him throughout the series, and I really wish she didn’t, because otherwise, she would have been written as an almost perfect example of an asexual character in a widely popular novel with a huge readership. What we know about Ana is that not only is she inexperienced, but that she is also completely out of touch with her own body. She has trouble recognizing what certain feelings are, let alone recognizing those feelings as being sexual. Also, until Christian came along, she never really found anyone attractive. I am sad to say that in some ways, my fifteen-year-old self would have found her very relatable.
Unfortunately, the books use her feelings and misunderstandings to show how naïve she is and not as a way to explore her sexuality. But how awesome would it be if Ana were ace (and consenting)? We would end up with a super popular story starring an asexual character in a BDSM relationship. Remember, just because someone is ace doesn’t mean that that someone will never engage in relationships or sex, or enjoy them. Hell, even I’ll admit that when I’m reading fanfiction, the only sex scenes I mildly enjoy are the ones that take place in BDSM relationships. And though I am a sex-repulsed ace myself, if I can ever get past that, I would totally be willing to try BDSM if my partner wanted to. So yeah, to me, a book series about an asexual woman exploring her relationship through BDSM would be pretty fucking awesome. But seriously though, Christian Grey is a rapist, we can’t have nice things, and please don’t support the movie.
These are hardly the only characters out there that could be asexual—I almost put Bella Swan and Black Widow on this list too—but for now, they’re my Top 10. And who knows, maybe someday in the future some of them will be outed by their perspective authors as asexual, though I doubt it for most of them. The day E. L. James says Anastasia was written ace will be a surprising day indeed. Like or dislike my list? Let me know why! And don’t forget to let me know which characters you would like to be asexual. And we here at LGG&F will be back later today with our Top 10 canon and fanon ships. Until then!
Follow Lady Geek Girl and Friends on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook!
Sherlock goes without saying and I definitely agree with you about Elsa and Katniss, but now that you mentioned black widow I really like her as asexual. I also quite fancy an ace brennan from bones and ace oz from buffy.
Brennan has, interestingly, been shown to be quite interested in sex, more like an aromantic heterosexual (allosexual) person than anything, perhaps. 😉 In my opinion. I think she has a lot in common with characters like Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds, who appear to maybe fall on the autism spectrum or to have Asperger Syndrome despite it never being confirmed in the show, but Reid I think is much more common to headcanon as ace because on the show we have never seen him caring about sex. He is pretty much confirmed on the show to still be a virgin right now (season 10) at the age of what, 33? and he doesn’t seem to be putting in any effort to change that. He was content with a romantic relationship with Maeve that consisted of never even seeing her in person, because being in love with someone who you only spoke on the phone with was already so intimate and exciting for him. I know a lot of people headcanon Reid as ace.
I have not watched Leverage yet, but female character Parker I think may also have a lot in common with Brennan’s social awkwardness, etc, but she is also much more commonly headcanoned as ace than Brennan. 😉
I like how in the Asajj Ventress and Obi-Wan Kenobi section you mention how experiencing romantic attraction doesn’t mean they can’t be ace, and how you specifically call Daryl Dixon, Elsa, and Katniss aromantic asexuals, but #10 with BBC’s version of Sherlock, the first thing people are going to read when they come to this page, seems lacking the “aromantic” qualifier which I think you need. You seem to use “never actively pursues any relationship for the sake of romance” and “Sherlock reveals that having a girlfriend is “not his area” and he also heavily implies that he’s not interested in men either… [and] he finds the whole relationship thing dull” as “proof” of his asexuality, when to me a lot of that is also “proof” of aromanticsm, just as much if not moreso. I feel like that’s an important distinction to make.
I also think there is a little bit of problematic stuff going on in your Derek Hale discussion, because you said explicitly, “For example, Derek, as a victim of abuse, could constantly be told that his asexuality is a result of that abuse. This is something that many asexual people deal with. People assume that some tragic past “made” us asexual, and that’s just not true.”
But… in the ace blogosphere lately, a lot of people have discussed that for SOME people, sexual assaults may have caused their asexuality. And that’s okay, their asexuality is still valid. https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/asexual-because-reasons/ This has been a discussion for years: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/challenges-faced-by-asexual-spectrum-survivors-of-sexual-violence-part-2/ and in general it is important to note that your “that’s just not true” is a kind of alienating statement to an ace for whom it might be true. If you feel asexual or ace-spectrum *now*, regardless of how you may have felt in the past before your assault(s) or if your childhood assault(s) had never happened), you’re still welcome to identify as asexual, and to be a part of the ace community. The “born this way” mentality is not universally accepted as the only narrative allowed for asexuals. While it’s not “a choice” like celibacy and some asexuals, like Ana in your hypothetical #1 headcanon here, certainly do choose to engage in consensual sexual activities, it doesn’t mean we all were exactly born ace either. Many of us might feel like we were, but not all of us.
Of course, a headcanon of the fictional character of Derek is 100% valid if he was asexual before Kate sexually assaulted him, and he’s also asexual now, but that’s just one of many options for how a person can experience asexuality in their lifetime. And I just wanted to clarify that. 😉
Sorry for my long comment! I love, so much, whenever this blog brings up asexuality. And I’m always passionate about headcanons of asexual characters.
Hey, thanks for pointing all that out to me. I wasn’t trying to alienate anyone, so I apologize. And yes, sexuality is fluid, so if someone identifies as ace now, it doesn’t mean that they will in the future.
Thanks for publishing my comment!
What about ace Sheldon Cooper from the BBT? I don’t think a very good one considering the ace phobic reactions of the rest of the cast, but he frequently says that he doesn’t experience sexual attraction. It’s never been directly confirmed in the show though.
I love asexual Black Widow! I can’t remember which fic I read, I think it was recommended here but that cemented it for me.
I could totally see Sheldon as being ace, but the show doesn’t seem to do a very good job handling it. Sheldon is also clearly autistic to me, and while he could definitely be both ace and autistic, I would worry that BBT would relate his asexuality to his autism. I don’t think the show does that great a job with his character all that much.
I tend get annoyed by people who talk about hating the Love Triangle in Hunger Games. It’s not even a standard triangle at all, the hate just seems to come from those who think an “Action” story shouldn’t be dragged down by Melodrama. Which is idiotic because we’d have no Genre fiction without Melodrama.
Holmes is Asexual in Doyle’s canon.
Sadly some of the problems Asexuals face come from Homosexual, I’ve seen Gay men on message boards insist anyone history has labeled Asexual was really Gay and Asexuality is a just a myth used as an excuse for admitting certain people are Gay.
For Bringing Batman villains into it, I’ve always seen The Joker as Asexual.
Ventress is an EU character so she doesn’t exist in my Headcanon.
I very much disagree with Katniss. She’s not asexual, or aromantic, she simply has different priorities and a warped emotional psyche due to her father’s death. She doesnt do attachment, she sees any relationship outside of family and a tight circle as a business arrangement based on a sense of honor and debt.
Also, there is no love triangle in the Hunger games. The media and fans always says there is, but there isn’t.
The choice isn’t about a partner, it’s philospohy. Peeta, forgiveness and moving forward. Gale, vengeance and hate.
Katniss isn’t very good for Peeta though. She herself even admits that. She’s closed off, mean spirited a lot, and very, very selfish. She needs to receive far more than she can give in a relationship.
Now, those are all good qualities to me, as it makes her a well rounded flawed character.
Sherlock and Katniss are pretty much canon aro aces, and I do think Varys’ asexuality is in fact canon. Elsa makes total sense. The others, I don’t know enough to have an opinion about, but any ace headcanon is a good headcanon. (And the really cool thing about fandom is that you can have several headcanons at once. Clint Barton, for instance, is sometimes written as ace and sometimes not, and I love both versions of him.)
I’d definitely agree that Sherlock and Katniss are “pretty much canon,” the trouble is that “pretty much” really doesn’t mean anything here. There are a bajillion characters in fiction who are uninterested in sex/romance, generally portrayed as “having other things to worry about.” As long as none of them are identified as ace, it won’t even occur to anyone in the mainstream community that they are, or that asexuality even exists!
(Super-duper yay on multiple headcanons! :D)
Oh yes, definitely. By “pretty much canon” I was trying to say that there are explicit canon clues of their potential ace aro-ness (Sherlock, like you pointed out, openly says datemates aren’t his area, and Katniss says repeatedly that love isn’t of her concern.) We can headcanon any character as ace, of course, but it’s more easily imagined for some of them, is what I’m saying. But naturally, as long as asexuality isn’t openly declared as a valid orientation, all the aro ace clues in the world won’t be enough.
Another aro ace character who is, I think, “pretty much canon” is Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece. There are several very explicit clues throughout the series towards his disinterest in both sex and romance. When he’s hit by a Gorgone beam (which turns people experiencing sexual arousal into stone) nothing happens to him. During a bath scene while he’s ogling the girls of the crew along with his male teammates, he’s shown stone-faced and a little perplexed while the others can barely contain themselves. (The author of the manga even said that in that scene, Luffy had just let the others drag him along, without seeing the appeal.) We even have the contrasting presence of Zoro Roronoa, another character who’s seemingly disinterested in sex and romance; but it’s made very clear that *his* stoicism stems from willpower and rigid values only (a character looking like his lost childhood sweetheart manages to fluster him, and he berates himself for it.) But Luffy is just totally uninterested by the whole thing. The most beautiful woman in the world falls desperately in love with him and offers him “whatever he wants”; he asks for meat ’cause he’s hungry. Throughout the series, he’s seen forming deep meangingful connections with a lot of characters, often saying that friendship and friends are the most important thing in the world and he’d die for them anytime. But love? Nah. So there’s a strong case to be made for him, even though his sexuality will probably never be openly discussed since shônens usually don’t do that.
VENTRESS AND KENOBI HELL YIEAH. I always shipped them (in a totally chaste sorta way.) Also, interesting that Derek Hale made the list. It’s definitely something to think about.
I enjoy the fact that I’ve seen 3 Harry Potter characters quite commonly headcanoned as asexual: Harry himself, Charlie Weasley, and Luna Lovegood. The later two are more specifically usually aromantic aces in people’s headcanons, and I’m not sure what romantic orientation people consider for Harry. Maybe heteroromantic, maybe aro, maybe even demiromantic. But either way, all 3 are quite often considered ace, and that makes me so happy.
Obi-Wan: Didn’t watched every episode of The Clone Wars, but Obi Wan had shown feelings to the one female mandalor leader (I forget her name), and said he loved her before she died. He only surpressed his feelings, cause jedis aren’t allowed to have sexuall relationships, afaik.
Daryl Dixon: Maybe he is asexuell, or he is interested in Sex, but only have some difficults to live it. Cause about his abusive childhood, or maybe he is gay.
Katniss Everdeen: Sorry, if I spoil it, but at the end, she have two children with Peeta, I don’t know if she can have two children, when she is asexuell. And the children are not adopted.
Anastasia Steele: Really?, well at least every other place had suit her better, or she should have been at something like Bonusplace.
But tha’s just only my opinion.
Hello and thank you for commenting.
This post is a list of headcanons of characters I think would be interesting asexual characters—headcanon means that it is not true for the actual canonical events. Being asexual also doesn’t mean that the characters would have no interest in sex, relationships, or having children. It simply means that they don’t experience sexual attraction. For instance, despite being asexual, I’ve been in a relationship for about eight years now. I also have an asexual coworker who has two children. Many of us do desire closeness with other people and want to start families. So Katniss could still be asexual, even if she has children, and Obi-Wan could also be asexual despite his feelings for Ventress and the Dutchess of Mandalore.
Pingback: Fanfiction Fridays: The Cat Problem by raven_jem | Lady Geek Girl and Friends
My view of The Joker is nuanced. A Batman character I see as a more standard type of Asexual is Cassandra Cain. Homoromantic since I ship her with Stephanie Brown, but I definitely could also see her as Asexual.
She briefly experiments with possibly dating Superboy but nothing came of that. And she suddenly wanted to be with TIm when she was temporarily evil (I don’t consider any of that garbage story-line canon). Overall she seems like an Asexual to me.
Fascinating! I’ve never thought of Elsa as asexual before, but I guess you’re right. Also, I’m working on a mystery comic with an asexual couple. I’m hoping that maybe it will help to end prejudice towards asexuals.
Pingback: Sexualized Saturdays: Teen Sex! Teen Sex? | Lady Geek Girl and Friends
How about Terra Branford of Final Fantasy VI?
I agree that Katniss is asexual cause I don’t recall anything about sexual attraction in the novels and it certainly wasn’t explored in the film. But I think she’s a demiromantic asexual because in the books she develops a romantic attraction to Peeta. And the whole of the last book was about her struggling to figure out who she loves (the whole annoying love triangle thing), among other things. So my head canon is that she’s a Demiromantic Asexual.
Interesting list. I kinda love the idea of Elsa as asexual, and I think it totally fits. I certainly hope they don’t address any sort of sexuality overtly in a Disney movie, but I’d like if the just portray her as asexual, since it’s certainly in keeping with the way she is in Frozen, and it’s nice for girls to see that being in a relationship is not necessary to be a happy, complete person, nor should one be made to feel as if something’s wrong with them if they don’t want such relationships.
As for Obi-wan, I could see him as asexual and would be totally fine if that was canon, but I’ve always seen him as a sort of space monk, like he’s straight but just has a really low sex drive, high self-control, and/or enough dedication to Jedi ways that he’s not all that tempted by such things (since it’s against Jedi rules). Though I should say that my knowledge of him comes from the movies, the book “Kenobi”, and maybe a few other things here and there, so there’s a lot of books/comics/etc. that I’m missing.
If you’re looking for cannon asexual characters you might want to read The Blue Codex. The main character, Trini Cortez, is asexual panromantic. It also has Queen Guinevere as asexual aromantic.