Timeline of asexual history

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The 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.[4]

19th century[edit]

1860s[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.[5]

1890s[edit]

  • 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".[6]
  • 1897: German sexual reformist Emma Trosse gave the first definition of asexuality in her work Ein Weib? Psychologisch-biographische: Studie über eine Konträrsexuelle (A woman? Psychological-biographical study of a contrary-sexual) under the term Sinnlichkeitslosigkeit (Asensuality) and counted herself as such, stating "Verfasser hat den Mut, sich zu jener Kategorie zu bekennen (Author has the courage to admit to this category)."[7]

20th century[edit]

1940s–1950s[edit]

  • 1948: The Kinsey Scale included the category "X" for males who reported no socio-sexual contacts or reactions; according to the research, 1.5% of adult male subjects fell into this category.[8][9]
  • 1953: The Kinsey Scale included the category "X" for females who reported no socio-sexual contacts or reactions; according to the research, 19% of female interviewees fell into this category.[8][10][11]

1960s[edit]

  • 1969: Anton Szandor LaVey in his book The Satanic Bible referenced 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".[12]

1970s[edit]

  • 1972: The Asexual Manifesto written by Lisa Orlando is published by the New York Radical Feminists and circulates within feminist circles.[13]
  • 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 February/March 1973 edition of off our backs.[14] 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."[15]
  • 1974: Singer and composer David Bowie discussed asexuality in Rolling Stone in the article "David Bowie in conversation on sexuality with William S. Burroughs.[16]
  • 1977: Myra Johnson wrote one of the first academic papers about asexuality as part of the book The Sexually Oppressed.[17] 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.[17]
  • 1979: In a study published in Advances in the Study of Affect, Michael D. Storms reimagined 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.[18] 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.[19][20]

1980s[edit]

  • 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.[21]
  • 1989: American talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael interviewed Toby (alias of Jim Sinclair), a then self-described androgynous and nonsexual person.[22]

1990s[edit]

  • 1993: The book Boston Marriages: Romantic but Asexual Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians by Esther D. Rothblum and Kathleen A. Brehony was released.[23]
  • 1994: Anthony Bogaert, conducted a study published in The Journal of Sex Research that concluded that 1 in 100 persons identified as asexual.[24]
  • 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 defined themself as asexual.[25]
  • 1997: Zoe O'Reilly published the article My life as an amoeba in the StarNet Dispatches webzine, a first-person exploration of asexuality that sparked responses through the late 90s and early 2000s by people who identified with it.[26][27]

21st century[edit]

2000s[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.[28][29]
  • 2002: New York passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which was the first, and is currently the only piece of legislation that mentions asexuality in the world.[30]
  • 2004: Psychologist Anthony F. Bogaert published "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.[31]
  • 2004: The New Scientist dedicated an issue to asexuality in response to Bogaert's paper.[32]
  • 2004: Discovery dedicated an episode of The Sex Files to asexuality.[33]
  • 2005: A common symbol for the asexual community is a black ring worn on the middle finger of the right hand.[34] The material and exact design of the ring are not important as long as it is primarily black.[34] This symbol started on AVEN in 2005.[34]
  • 2005: Stephen Hillenburg revealed that SpongeBob SquarePants is asexual.[35]
  • 2006: In January, David Jay appeared on ABC's The View and later in March of that year, he appeared on MSNBC's Tucker program, hosted by Tucker Carlson. On both programs he discussed asexuality.[36][37]
  • 2009: AVEN members participated in the first asexual entry into an American pride parade when they walked in the San Francisco Pride Parade.[38]

2010s[edit]

  • 2010: The asexual pride flag was introduced to the public.[39] The asexual pride flag consists of four horizontal stripes: black, grey, white, and purple from top to bottom.[39]
  • 2010: Asexual Awareness Week, now called Ace Week, was founded by Sara Beth Brooks in 2010.[40] It occurs in the later half of October, and was created to both celebrate asexual, aromantic, demisexual, and grey-asexual pride and promote awareness.[40]
  • 2012: The first International Asexual Conference was held at the 2012 World Pride in London.[41]
  • 2013: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition changed the diagnosis of hypoactive sexual desire disorder conditions to include an exception for people who self-identify as asexual.[42]
  • 2014: Dr. Pragati Singh, a gray asexual, launched a Facebook Group called "Indian Aces" for Indian asexuals.[43]
  • 2015: One of the earliest asexual YouTubers, AmeliaAce, launched her account in January.[44][45] Her last video, in which she announced she was also bi, was uploaded in June 2018.[46]
  • 2015: George Norman became Britain's first openly asexual local election candidate.[47]
  • 2015: Dr. Pragati Singh launched "Platonicity", an asexual dating platform.[48] The "site" used a Google Form which the user entered their information.[48] Singh would match respondents up "manually" with other users by their answers to questions on the form using an "excel sheet" and "template" she had created.[48] Ultimately, she closed the "site" in 2016 due to an overwhelming response saying "I [didn't] know how to handle so much data" and "as much as I love to do this, it drains me."[48]
  • 2016: Todd Chavez, a character on the Netflix series BoJack Horseman, came out as asexual in the show's Season 3 finale.[49][50]
  • 2016: Joe Parrish became the United States's first openly asexual state election candidate.[51]
  • 2017: Nabil Allal and Alaa Yasin launched the "Asexuality in Arabic" social media groups.[52]
  • 2017: The Podcast, "Sounds Fake But Okay" is launched, hosted by Sarah Costello and Kayla Kaszyca.[53] Costello "identifies as aro ace", while Kaszyca identifies as "demisexual and straight".[53]
  • 2018: YouTuber Samantha Rendle, known online as Samantha Aimee, relaunched her YouTube channel to focus on her then newly found asexuality, along with vegan and mental health information as well.[54][55]
  • 2018: An episode of the series The Sex Map of Britain on BBC Three was dedicated to asexuality, entitled I Don't Want Sex.[56]
  • 2019: Then 18-year-old Emi Salida, a British YouTuber who identifies as asexual, appeared in a Sky News documentary on asexuality, alongside Yasmin Benoit.[57][58] Salida's YouTube channel is focused on asexuality in the younger population.[59]
  • 2019: British soap opera Emmerdale featured its first asexual character when Liv Flaherty, played by actress Isobel Steele, came out as asexual.[60]
  • 2019: Bradford, England author Elizabeth Hopkinson, a romantic asexual, began rewriting classic fairy tales with asexual twists.[61]
  • 2019: Yasmin Benoit hosted the first asexual-themed bar at Pride in London in 2019.[62]
  • 2019: A second asexual-centric podcast, called "A-OK", was launched.[63] "A-OK" is hosted by Courtney Lang, who is aromantic and asexual.[53]
  • 2019: Michelle Lin, 林靖, organized on-campus events for Ace Awareness Week at the University of California at Berkeley.[64][65]
  • 2019: Ela Przybylo published "Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality".[66]
  • 2019: "Parvati Holcomb", an asexual character, was introduced in the action role-playing game The Outer Worlds by Obsidian Entertainment.[67]
  • 2019: In an issue of Attitude titled "The Activists", Yasmin Benoit became the first openly asexual woman to appear on the cover of a UK magazine.[68][69]
  • 2019: Washington became the first state in America to recognize Asexual Awareness Week, which it did through a ceremonial proclamation signed by governor Jay Inslee.[70][71]

2020s[edit]

  • 2020: In the fourth episode of the Netflix series Sex Education, Florence (played by actress Mirren Mack) realizes she is asexual after talking to Jean, a therapist. Florence tells her she "think[s] [she] might be broken" for not wanting to have sex. Jean tells asks her if she is aware of asexuality is, telling her "sex doesn’t make us whole. And so, how could you ever be broken?"[72][73]
  • 2020: Jaymee Mak (an allosexual woman), wrote, produced, and co-starred in the short film It's Not You. It's Not Me., which was inspired by her relationship with an asexual man.[74][75][76]
  • 2020: Peridot, a character on the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe Future, a continuation of Steven Universe, was confirmed to be asexual and aromantic by one of the show's storyboard artists.[77]
  • 2020: Indian actress Sriti Jha announced, in a poem at Spoken Fest Mumbai, that she was asexual.[78]
  • 2020: The first Virtual Asexual Pride took place from June 17 until June 30, hosted by Jaymie O'Leary Doyle.[79][80] The Virtual Asexual Pride was hosted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is intended to continue Asexual Pride every year throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland, and worldwide.[79][80]
  • 2020: Rick Riordan revealed on Twitter that Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano, character of The Heroes of Olympus and The Trials of Apollo, is a romantic asexual.[81]
  • 2020: Dove Cameron revealed on Twitter that Ruby Hale from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was asexual.[82]

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