Asexuality and Fandom

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"Ace" redirects here. You may be looking for Doctor Who companion Ace McShane.
Trope · Genre
Synonyms: ace
Related: asexuality
See Also: asexual_fandom
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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According to AVEN, "An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction,"[1] although asexuals may define asexuality differently.[2]

In fanworks, an asexual or "ace" character or relationship usually does not display much or any interest in sexual sensations. Fanworks that include asexuality range from rare to more prevalent depending on the fandom.

Fandoms With Ace Characters (Fanon or Canon)

Assassin's Creed: Many fans have expressed the headcanon that Ratonhnhaké:ton ("Connor") is on the asexual/aromantic spectrum.[3][4][5][6]

The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper is often cited as an example of a character who is asexual in canon.[7]

Bojack Horseman: Todd Chavez is an openly asexual character.[8]

Dishonored: Head writer Harvey Smith confirmed on Twitter that the assassin Daud (antagonist of the first game and protagonist of the DLCs) is asexual. An in-game book says that "sex had never interested him".[9]

Doctor Who: Especially fans of the classic series often viewed the Doctor as being asexual. Some fans were therefore dismayed by the 'shippy vibes included in the newer series.

Dreaming of Sunshine: The main character Nara Shikako is canonically aromantic and asexual, although the author, Silver Queen, has said she doesn't mind people shipping Shikako in their recursive fanfiction.[10]

Leverage: Some fans think that Parker is ace.

Mass Effect: The salarians in general are considered to be an asexual race,[11] but the most prominent example of the salarians' asexuality within fandom is the character of Mordin Solus. While he eventually sees Commander Shepard as a good friend, he politely turns down any notion of a relationship with them -if they are not in a romance with another character at the time-, but adds that if he were to "try human", he would "try" Shepard (interestingly enough, he says this to both male and female Shepards).[12]

Les Misérables: Enjolras is often interpreted as being asexual, due to Hugo's description of him in the Brick.[13] However, Enjolras's sexuality is not clearly defined in any canon and is mainly understood through interpreting Classical allusions, and is accordingly one of the most commonly debated issues in the Les Mis fandom.

One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy is sometimes thought to be asexual.

Sherlock Holmes fandoms: The character of Sherlock Holmes is sometimes seen as being asexual.[14]

Some writers like exploring what this means for his possible romance with Watson. Holmes/Watson or Sherlock/John fic where Holmes and Watson first get together and Holmes is asexual and Watson is not often has some element of angst as they negotiate their romantic relationship. John is often portrayed as missing sex and many stories end in a compromise where their relationship has some consensual sexual element. One common plot in Sherlock BBC fanwork ends with Sherlock convincing a reluctant John that he is comfortable participating in some sexual activity with John.

Sherlock Holmes's brother, Mycroft, is also sometimes characterized as asexual and other characters rarely.

Stargate Atlantis: In SGA fic, the character of John Sheppard has multiple times been written as asexual.[15] This may in part be due to the fanon trope that he is touch-averse.

Trigun: Vash the Stampede has romantic storylines in canon but is often perceived as asexual.

Communities & Resources

Meta & Discussion

Asexual Characters and Sex in Fanwork

Some fans have expressed concern over the prevalence of asexual characters, for whom sex is not a focus, being depicted having sex in fanwork. Dchan writes this is perhaps an effect of sexual people writing asexual characters as well as a problem with the constraints of the romance genre in general,

Well, seeing as how 99% of the population is sexual, that's their frame of reference and they may have a hard time breaking out of that. Sadly, gen fic is pretty rare, and I've noticed that there are certain tropes for fics that involve romantic relationships. Unfortunately all of these tropes assume that romance invariably leads to sex, even if said sex isn't shown in the fic. It becomes an expectation of the genre (if fanfic can be classified as a genre), and a lot of people can't figure out how to work around that expectation. It becomes easier to figure out a reason why the ace character has to have sex than to go against the archetype of how romantic relationships in fictions are Supposed to Be.[16]

The pattern of asexual characters altruistically entering into sexual relationships in fanwork is also criticized by other fans. Calvinahobbes writes,

. . . the narrative of "I'm not sexual, I just like giving you handjobs" is one I can't relate to. It tires me to read stories about "ace" characters without seeing evidence that their relationship to sex actually differs from sexual people. It's not unthinkable for me that some aces would want to have sex, for a host of reasons, but I'm tired of the "magic, selfless ace, who just wants to please" trope. I'd love to read the "magic, selfless sexual, who just wants to please" trope, now; I think it's time to write some of that.[17]

Hawkelf writes that depictions of asexuality can be idealistic when it comes to the willingness of all asexuals to engage in sexual activity,

Honestly, I think the balance of ase-in-porn!fic vs. ace-no-porn!fic should be considered on a character by character, fandom by fandom basis. In some, it will definitely be more probable than others due to canonical characterization…. At the same time, I also admit to concern that all of the sex fic and happy endings will create a misconception that all asexuals will always be able and willing to compromise and that doing so is no big deal.[18]

Ysabetwordsmith writes that overall there is a lack of variety in relationship patterns in fanwork, especially involving asexuals,

[The "magic self-less ace" trope] can create unrealistic expectations of relationship dynamics that are difficult to pursue in real life. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be written, but too much would be troublesome. Eh, what we really need is a good bouquet of different fic types, so they can be compared and contrasted for possible usefulness as role models.[19]

Example Fanworks

James Bond:



  • Rogers & Barnes: Partners by triedunture Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers, Steve and Bucky's friendship has been rocky ever since Bucky confessed his tender feelings and Steve left him out in the cold. Can asexual, completely-in-love-with-his-angry-best-friend Steve complete the mission and win Bucky's heart? (Yes)
  • The A in Team, Avengers OT6 with asexual Clint. Taking the OT6 from makeouts on the couch to the bedroom hits a snag when the team discovers that Clint is asexual and, while he's a big fan of all the kissing, he's really not interested in sleeping with anyone. The team are determined not to leave him out though - they just need to find something that works for everyone. (Incomplete, orphaned)

Teen Wolf:

BBC Sherlock:



  1. Asexual Information and Perspectives, 29 September 2010 (accessed 30 March 2011)
  2. This entry is brought to you by John Watson's healing cock by lavvyan, 30 October 2010 (accessed 30 March 2011)
  3. Asexual Connor, January 2014, asscreedkinkmeme
  4. Connor/any, asexual relationship, fluff, December 2014, asscreedkinkmeme
  5. Connor was, in my headcanons, grey-aromatic asexual., Oct 7 2015, Assassin's Creed Confessions
  6. Today’s Queer Headcanon of the Day is: Connor Kenway is asexual and aromantic., Sept 25 2016, Queer Headcanon of the Day
  7. At one point Penny asks Leonard "What is Sheldon's deal?" and clarifies that she means his sexuality; Leonard replies that as far as any of Sheldon's friends know, "he has no deal." A later episode has Sheldon declaring that he is "quite aware of the way humans usually reproduce" but if he and his friend Amy were ever to have children, it would happen "in a lab with petri dishes."
  8. Todd Chavez Is TV’s First Out-and-Proud Asexual Icon by Sammy Nickalls. Published on September 8, 2017. Accessed on July 24, 2018.
  9. Dishonored wikia
  10. Silver Queen, response to an anonymous ask on Posted 20 August 2016. (Accessed 27 July 2018.)
  11. "Due to their method of reproduction, salarians have no concept of romantic love, sexual attraction, or the biological impulses and social rituals that complicate other species' lives. Male-female relationships are rare (due to the scarcity of females) and more akin to human friendship. Sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction." - Mass Effect codex entry on salarians
  12. Female Shepard and Male Shepard conversations with Mordin.
  13. Enjolras’ sexuality in The Brick, one of the most clearly articulated interpretations of the canon that reaches the conclusion that Enjolras is asexual.
  14. For example, see BBC Sherlock's sexuality.
  15. For example, see Asexual_fandom's delicious tags for SGA (Accessed 31 March 2011)
  16. Comment to "Writing Asexuals in Sex Scenes" by Dchan
  17. Comment to "Writing Asexuals in Sex Scenes" by Calvinahobbes
  18. Comment to "Writing Asexuals in Sex Scenes" by Hawkelf
  19. "Thoughts," reply to Calvinahobbes's comment to "Writing Asexuals in Sex Scenes" by Ysabetwordsmith