Timeline of asexual history

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An asexual pride flag.

This is a timeline of asexual history worldwide. The briefness of this timeline can be attributed to the fact that acceptance of asexuality as a sexual orientation and field of scientific research is still relatively new.[1][2][3]

Several of these events refer to historical essays and studies on sexual behaviour. While modern asexual discourse focuses on lack of sexual attraction, rather than celibacy or sexual abstinence, the research on human sexuality and sexual orientation has only recently started making said distinction.[citation needed]

19th century[edit]


  • 1869: Karl-Maria Kertbeny, in the same pamphlets arguing against Prussian sodomy law where he coined the terms "homosexual" and "heterosexual", also used the word "monosexuals" to refer to people who only masturbate.[4]


  • 1896: German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld wrote the pamphlet Sappho und Sokrates, which mentions people without any sexual desire and links them to the concept of "anesthesia sexual".[4][5]

20th century[edit]


  • 1948: The Kinsey Scale included the category "X" for those who reported no socio-sexual contacts or reactions.[6] According to this study, 1.5% of adult male subjects fell into this category (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, 1948), while 19% of female interviewees did (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, 1953).[7]


  • 1969: Anton Szandor LaVey in his book The Satanic Bible references asexuals and asexuality, stating that "Satanism condones any type of sexual activity which properly satisfies your individual desires – be it heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or even asexual".[8]


  • 1973: Activists at Barnard College were pictured to include "asexual" on a board advocating to "choose your own label" and had their picture featured in Vol. 3, No. 6 of off our backs.[9] The picture was intended to be released in the previous article which described asexuality to be "an orientation that regards a partner as nonessential to sex, and sex as nonessential to a satisfying relationship."[10]
  • 1974: Singer and composer David Bowie discusses asexuality in the Rolling Stone in the article "David Bowie in conversation on sexuality with William S. Burroughs by Craig Copetas in the Rolling Stone February 28, 1974".
  • 1977: Myra Johnson wrote one of the first academic papers about asexuality as part of the book The Sexually Oppressed.[11] She described "asexuality" as a complete lack of sexual desire, while those who do experience sexual desire but have no wish to satisfy it with others were labeled as "autoerotic". Johnson focused on the problems experiences by such women, who she felt were often ignored by the sexual revolution and feminist movements of the time.
  • 1979: In a study published in Advances in the Study of Affect, Michael D. Storms reimagines the Kinsey Scale as a two-dimensional map which included asexuality, defined as exhibiting little to no homo-eroticism nor hetero-eroticism. This type of scale accounted for asexuality for the first time.[12] Storms conjectured that many researchers following Kinsey's model could be mis-categorizing asexual subjects as bisexual, because both were simply defined by a lack of preference for gender in sexual partners.[13][14]


  • 1983: The first study that gave empirical data about asexuals was published in 1983 by Paula Nurius, concerning the relationship between sexual orientation and mental health. The study used a variant of Kinsey's model, and scored participants according to sexual behaviour and desire for it.[15]
  • 1989: American talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael interviewed Toby (alias of Jim Sinclair), a then self-described androgynous and nonsexual person.[16]


  • 1993: The book Boston Marriages: Romantic but Asexual Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians by Esther D. Rothblum and Kathleen A. Brehony was released on November 17.
  • 1997: Activist Jim Sinclair posted in their website the essay Personal Definitions of Sexuality, originally written in response to a class assignment in 1987, where they define themself as asexual.[17]
  • 1997: Zoe O'Reilly published the article My life as an amoeba in the StarNet Dispatches webzine, a first-person exploration of asexuality that sparkled responses through the late 90s and early 2000s by people who identified with it.[18][19]

21st century[edit]


  • 2001: David Jay founded the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), which became the most prolific and well-known of the various asexual communities that started to form since the advent of the World Wide Web and social media.[20][21]
  • 2002: New York passes the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which is the first, and currently only piece of legislation that mentions asexuality in the world.[22]
  • 2004: Psychologist Anthony F. Bogaert publishes "Asexuality: prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample" in the Journal of Sex Research. According to this paper, 1% of a 1994 British probability sample indicated feeling no attraction for males nor females.[23]
  • 2004: The New Scientist dedicates an issue to asexuality in response to Bogaert's paper.[24]
  • 2004: Discovery dedicates an episode of The Sex Files to asexuality.
  • 2005: L'amour sans le faire by Geraldin Levi Rich Jones (Joosten van Vilsteren) is released. The first book on asexuality. Geraldin was at the head of the asexual movement, launching "The Official Asexual Society" in 2000 and performing asexual comedy shows. She also was a prominent face in the early '00's asexual media boom.
  • 2005: A common symbol for the asexual community is a black ring worn on the middle finger of the right hand. The material and exact design of the ring are not important as long as it is primarily black. This symbol started on AVEN in 2005.[25]
  • 2009: AVEN members participated in the first asexual entry into an American pride parade when they walked in the San Francisco Pride Parade.[26]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Katherine M. Helm (2015). Hooking Up: The Psychology of Sex and Dating. ABC-CLIO. p. 32. ISBN 978-1610699518. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. ^ Prause, Nicole; Cynthia A. Graham (August 2004). "Asexuality: Classification and Characterization" (PDF). Archives of Sexual Behavior. 36 (3): 341–356. doi:10.1007/s10508-006-9142-3. PMID 17345167. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  3. ^ Melby, Todd (November 2005). "Asexuality gets more attention, but is it a sexual orientation?" (PDF). Contemporary Sexuality. 39 (11): 1, 4–5. ISSN 1094-5725. Retrieved 27 May 2019  The journal currently does not have a website
  4. ^ a b "What is asexual history? Part Two: the 19th and 20th century". Acing History. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  5. ^ "(indirect) mentions of asexuality in Magnus Hirschfeld's books". Asexual Visibility and Education Network. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ "The Kinsey Scale". Kinsey Institute. 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  7. ^ Mackay, Brad (9 January 2013). "Asexuals, the group that Kinsey forgot". University Affairs. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Full text of 'The Satanic Bible'".
  9. ^ Pollner, Fran (1973). "off our backs Vol. 3, No. 6 (February/March 1973), p. 7". Off Our Backs. 3 (6): 7. JSTOR 25783532.
  10. ^ Chapman, Frances (1973). "off our backs Vol. 3, No. 5 (January 1973), p. 6". Off Our Backs. 3 (5): 6. JSTOR 25771710.
  11. ^ Johnson, Myra T. (1977). Asexual and Autoerotic Women: Two Invisible Groups. The Sexually Oppressed. Gochros, Harvey L., Gochros, Jean S. New York: Association Press. ISBN 978-0809619153. OCLC 2543043.
  12. ^ Owens, Ianna Hawkins (2014). On the Racialization of Asexuality. Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Routledge. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-134-69253-8. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  13. ^ Storms, Michael D. (1979), Pliner, Patricia; Blankstein, Kirk R.; Spigel, Irwin M. (eds.), "Sexual Orientation and Self-Perception", Perception of Emotion in Self and Others, Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect, Springer US, pp. 165–180, doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-3548-1_7, ISBN 9781468435481, retrieved 27 May 2019
  14. ^ Storms, Michael D. (1980). "Theories of Sexual Orientation" (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 38 (5): 783–792. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.38.5.783.
  15. ^ Elisabetta Ruspini; Megan Milks (2013). Diversity in family life. Policy Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1447300939. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  16. ^ BetamaxBooty (17 June 2012), Toby: neuter, genderless person pt1, retrieved 27 May 2019
  17. ^ Sinclair, Jim (1997). "Personal Definitions of Sexuality". Jim Sinclair's Web Site. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  18. ^ O'Reilly, Zoe (30 May 1997). "My life as an amoeba". StarNet Dispatches. Archived from the original on 10 February 2003. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  19. ^ O'Reilly, Zoe (30 May 1997). "Comments on My life as an amoeba". StarNet Dispatches. Archived from the original on 19 February 2002. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  20. ^ Marshall Cavendish, ed. (2010). "Asexuality". Sex and Society. 2. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-7614-7906-2. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  21. ^ Swash, Rosie (25 February 2012). "Among the asexuals". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  22. ^ "New York State Assembly | Bill Search and Legislative Information". assembly.state.ny.us. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  23. ^ Bogaert, Anthony F. (2004). "Asexuality: prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample". Journal of Sex Research. 41 (3): 279–287. doi:10.1080/00224490409552235. ISSN 0022-4499. PMID 15497056.
  24. ^ Westphal, Sylvia Pagan (14 October 2004). "Feature: Glad to be asexual". New Scientist. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  25. ^ "Black rings and other ways to show asexual pride". Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  26. ^ Anneli, Rufus (22 June 2009). "Stuck. Asexuals at the Pride Parade". Psychology Today. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  27. ^ Money & Politics (9 January 2012). "Asexuality – Redefining Love and Sexuality". recultured. Retrieved 7 August 2012.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  28. ^ Bilić, Bojan; Kajinić, Sanja (2016). Intersectionality and LGBT Activist Politics: Multiple Others in Croatia and Serbia. Springer. pp. 95–96.
  29. ^ Decker, Julie. The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Skyhorse.
  30. ^ "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual: Symbols". Old Dominion University.
  31. ^ "Asexual". UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource center.
  32. ^ "Kause". Asexual Awareness Week. 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  33. ^ "AAW - About Us". Asexual Awareness Week. 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  34. ^ Shira Tarrant (19 June 2015). Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century. Taylor & Francis. pp. 278–. ISBN 978-1-317-81475-7.
  35. ^ DSM-5 seishin shikkan no shindan tokei manyuaru. American Psychiatric Association., Takahashi, saburo., Ono, yutaka., Someya, toshiyuki., Kanba, shigenobu., Ozaki, norio. 医学書院. 2014. ISBN 9784260019071. OCLC 939462742.CS1 maint: others (link)
  36. ^ Eden, Nellie (15 February 2017). "What is it really like to date as an asexual?". Elle India. Retrieved 4 September 2017.