Read Part I HERE.
Depictions of asexuality seem to be more common in Great Britain than the United States, possibly reflecting real life demographics. One of the more famous English ace examples in fiction would be the titular character from television’s Doctor Who. The Doctor is a man who has shied away from sexual encounters over the course of his 900-plus years. Granted, he’s a time-traveling alien whose biology has not been fully explored, but he’s also shown to be a brilliant, passionate, deeply feeling individual rather than some emotionless automaton, so in terms of role models, the asexual community could do a lot worse.
The Doctor is considered a romantic asexual, although this can vary depending on the writer of the era and the actor portraying him. He experiences love, enjoys the occasional snog, and has even had a few relationships with historical figures. (These largely seem to be the result of humorous misunderstandings.) He also takes an interest in match-making, though the consequence of one match made seems to take him by surprise – he’s utterly dumbfounded when he discovers that his married traveling companions Rory and Amy conceived their baby aboard the TARDIS, especially since the rooms in the redesigned spaceship only come equipped with bunk beds.
When asked about the conception of this child, the Doctor gets defensive: “Well how would I know? That’s all human and private stuff. It just sort of goes on, they don’t put up a balloon or anything!” (6×07 “A Good Man Goes to War”)
And he’s adamant that there isn’t time for such things as it’s all, “running about, sexy fish vampires, blowing up stuff.”
While sex might not be his cup of tea – or even something he’s comfortable thinking about – he clearly displays signs of romantic attraction for at least one of his companions, Rose, but is shown to be unable to express himself as her needs demand. The extent of his relationship with River Song is still unclear, though there is always flirtatious banter and a few smooches whenever they get together. There’s no evidence, however, that their relationship has crossed into sexual territory, despite River’s overtures, and – in fact – their wedding ceremony in the sixth series finale seems more to do with necessity than romance.
Another fantastical asexual example would be J.K. Rowling’s Albus Dumbledore. Rowling stated in an interview after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that the Hogwarts Headmaster was gay and had been in love with his boyhood friend Gellert Grindelwald. As written in the books, however, Dumbledore comes across as asexual – so taking J.K. Rowling’s description of his youthful attraction into account would indicate homoromantic asexuality: romantic and/or physical attraction to the same gender, but lack of interest in sex.
While the creator’s word is Law, two of Dumbledore’s defining characteristics are his great intellect and belief in the power of familial love, nothing to do with his libido. There is nothing remotely sexual about Albus Dumbledore, and not enough evidence on the page to suggest that he is deliberately celibate, or even that he was sexually attracted to Grindelwald in his youth. Rather, Deathly Hallows implies that what most attracted Dumbledore to Grindelwald was his mind.
The importance of these two characters to the asexual community cannot be understated: they are deeply flawed, but still powerful heroes, each with a brilliant mind. They are emotional, feeling people, not robots, and live rich, full lives. No cardboard cut-outs here. They also have darker sides – these men are not pure. For a group that feels invisible or mis-categorized as solely virtuous, having these dynamic representations – who are already renowned and much beloved – is crucial.
Friday: Asexuals and the American Sitcom