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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!