Cupids Health

The Rise of Asexual Representation

from jughead to spock, todd chavez to sheldon cooper – let’s talk about the history of ace representation on screen!

**content warnings: this video contains brief mentions of sex and child abuse**

Additional research and scriptwriting by Yaz Coonjah and Isabel Moncloa Daly


30 thoughts on “The Rise of Asexual Representation

  1. could video two also touch on the fact that all aroace characters that made it on to tv lost the aro part and were written as heteroromantic? and the way aro identities are chopped off ace ones to make them more palatable and understanding to the audience?

  2. Personally, I love Riz Gukgak, from Dimension 20's Fantasy High, being Acearo- Spoilers for senior year:

    He goes through an arc in senior year starting with him lying about having a "romance partner" named Baron from the Baronies which gets turned against him(not by any characters specifically, just like, being afraid to be different from his friends ends up pulling him into a mirror and trying to kill him???)

    I've seen plenty of people take it as Riz being gay, BUT! Riz doesn't refer to Baron as a girl!(Baron acts as "the thing he pretends to be attracted to") in fact Baron is, when introduced, referred to with they/them(when asked what gender Baron is Riz says"i don't know"), but Riz really guilty switches to calling Baron a boy and using he/him- so it's not that Riz is pretending to have a girlfriend, he's pretending to experience romantic and/or attraction to anyone!
    His dad assures Riz that while he might be a late bloomer, it's also totally fine if he isnt and just doesnt experiencethose feelings, there's nothing wrong with him and his parents love him-

    There's this whole thing where the characters have to face their biggest fears and Riz faces the fear that his friends will leave him or just don't care about him as much because they all have romantic or sexual relationships(the original lie about Baron was so he didn't feel left out of those discussions)- he even faces the fear that the fact he doesn't feel those things that he's somehow too different from his parents.

    Anyways, it's never actually stated in series(or out, far as I know) but Riz never has a love interest! (yes I think that matters)- To me Riz reads as Acearo all the way(and probably a bit sex-repulsed, or at least uncomfortable with it- he kinda forces the subject a bit in a weird attempt at seeming for comfortable but it doesn't really work)- regardless, he definitely isn't expressed clearly in Canon, I can't say that Brain Murphy portrayed him that way on purpose, but it's just short of it, at least in my opinion 😅

    Anyways, sorry for the(probably confusing) comment.
    I love Riz Gugak, 🦀🤴


  3. YES I am SO GLAD you mentioned Otis. I so enjoyed season 1 because I thought they were gonna do an asexual storyline with him…. and now he is just sex crazed and fallen into cliche tropes.

  4. Shout-out to Spanish sitcom show "La que se avecina" S10E02 (2017) for the worst representation of asexuality ever aired on TV!
    Dude pretends to be asexual to pick up at an ace meeting! The ace meeting is super depressing and displays posters and stuff plagiarized from a real Spanish ace organization! The episode ends with a sexual orgy because obviously everyone was just horny and repressed!
    Truly, what an outstanding work from one of the most watched sitcoms in Spain at the time.

  5. I've always felt like I was kinda asexual. It's always how I described myself. Because on one hand I really did not like guys who seemed to exude sexualness… Same with women. My friends found them hot and I just found them gross.

    I never described people as sexy or hot. I felt averse to anyone like that or even using the words. Rather I was always entranced by people who were pretty. Guys, women, nbs, agenders, I didn't care, I just thought they were pretty as fuck.

    At first I thought I was gay. But turns out I'm just bisexual. I also realized that I didn't have sexual attraction. But I did do stuff like watch porn and masturbate too. Sometimes I wondered what sex was like too. But I always felt apathetic to it. Like I didn't care about it but I still did things like touching myself a lot I guess. Because I was sexual in a way I always wondered if I was truly asexual. But I experienced aesthetic attraction and I also experienced strong romantic attraction, especially around women.

  6. I recently came out as aro, and now it's my personal campaign for Asexual representation in film and TV. One thing I'm super excited for is Yelena Belova's future in the MCU. The character is asexual in the comics and it'd be a major win if that carried over into the MCU

  7. Growing up in the 80's and 90's, my family didn't have access to the internet because of the rural area we lived in. So I never knew about asexuality. I spent almost 2 decades since pubertity, trying to figure out why I wasn't like my peers – as far as sexuality is concerned.

    I just had no interest in sex, but because I was brought up in a very heavy Christian community, I thought that was an indicator I might be gay – since I didn't really have an interest in the opposite sex. Thing was, most the girls I was around, I had no interest in either because they were mostly mean girls – or the rest were friends. All of which, I had no sexual interest in.

    It's taken me 2/3rds of my life to figure out, thanks to better internet and online resources, that I've finally been able to figure out and accept being Asexual. And seeing some of these characters you mentioned, coded or out, has defiantly helped me relax about who I am (because for many years, I had no name for what I identify as, and thought I was going crazy).

  8. Correct me if i’m wrong, but the term asexual was also used pretty early on when it was published in LaVey’s Satanic Bible in 1969. The book basically says that all sexualities should be seen as natural and therefore a-okay. I’m sure that the word is used in the book genuinely to refer to ace people. What I’m not sure of is whether it was only used in a newer edition?

  9. Just vending but I'm reallyyyy tired. I told someone close family about my asexuality and after a long conversation they still told me that it doesn't exist, I haven't fallen in love to get hurt and turn to sex? That I'm going to change my mind and it's bad for me to be so sure about my asexuality. HOW many times will we hear these things?? Like I just can't with humanity right now. I accept virtual hugs 😔❤️

  10. It took me 3 years of questioning if i'm aro/ace, and alot of what the holdup i had, was becuase of my own energy going on in my body, but i also still identify with bi, becuase i am in no way opposed to either, just don't expirence the attraction, the only attraction i feel is asthetic, and it took me less time to realize that, (like negative years to the aro/ace part)

  11. I feel like with the reference to them thinking Sheldon would one day eat so much he’d split into two sheldons is a super nerdy scientific way to say they thought he was asexual so….they kinda did say it in a sorta round about way I guess?

  12. Thank you so much for talking about Otis! I remember feeling really disappointed when he got over his not wanting to masturbate, and then I felt supremely guilty for being disappointed that he recovered from his trauma. Of course, I now know I had nothing to be guilty about. There didn't need to be trauma written in the story. Otis could have been asexual, and the show just chose to not go that route. It would have made an already great show that much more interesting!

  13. I've noticed there's a significant amount of aliens or robots that are both ace-coded and autistic-coded which I find very interesting

  14. I thought Otis was asexual at first and it would have been fascinating if an asexual was responsible for giving generally good sex and relationship advice to his peers. Not to be, I guess.

    I think Vulcans are often ace spike. 🤭

    I find that head canons sloppily confuse and conflate asexuality and autism for characters who are simply presented in a desexualized manner.

    (As an autistic asexual, I worry that I do nothing to help this stereotype.)

  15. spot on about Sex Education. I was glad to see it at least mentioned and for a character like Florence, but it was glossed over so quickly.
    And I had such high hopes that Otis would eventually claim the label ace or demisexual or some asexual label. I even still held out hopes during season 2 since my thought process was that he was just no longer repressing his libido/sexual desire, and his sexual encounters in that season still felt as though he was not explicitly feeling sexual attraction. But I lost hope for that in the beginning of season 3.

    It kind of bummed me out because he was pretty relatable in the 1st season: while sexy stuff involving him was stressful, he is still very knowledgeable on the topic and willing to help and hear other people's sexual stories and problems. I think a good amount of ace people are just generally fascinated by sex because it does not make full sense to us; and I think that sometimes manifests in learning extensively about the many different aspects of sex and sexuality.

    It's a shame. I feel like he could have been really nuanced and well-rounded ace representation that is very much needed. Like even making him demisexual or graysexual could have been really interesting.

  16. I must admit I had assumed everyone experienced sexual attraction in some form. If it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't have known about a lot of these variations of sexuality.

  17. It's almost impossible for me to avoid questions regarding masturbating, If I had/what an orgasm felt like or how my husband's able to cope with it. I'm glad there's beginning to be more representation because I shouldn't want to identify myself as hetero just to avoid the rabbit hole that answering one of those has
    Them: *asks question
    Me: *answers
    Them: Then how can you be asexual?

  18. Thanks for this video Rowan. It feels so so important. For me, asexuality feels grey. As I explained to my boyfriend recently, being ace means that I feel like sex is like a cherry on a cake. It's nice, it makes the cake look better, but my cake would taste as good without it. Nice, feels cool but is not the most important thing.

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