Awareness of asexuality has been rising in recent years, but this sexual orientation is nothing new. Marked by a lack of sexual attraction, asexuality can be found throughout history. Asexual historical figures include philosophers, composers, artists, and writers. Famous asexual people in history often never married or had mostly sexless unions.
Even though these asexual figures may have lacked the modern language to describe their orientation, many indicated their preferences in a way that reflects how they identified. Authors, inventors, celebrities, and political figures - history proves asexual people have always been among the general population.
This list of historical asexual figures is a reminder that human sexuality is as diverse as any other aspect of humanity and obviously was no hindrance to the capabilities of those listed.
Emily Bronte was a very private person and as such it’s impossible to be entirely certain of her sexual orientation. Some Bronte scholars believe she perished a virgin, never having had physical relationships with men or women.
Most Bronte scholars think that the content of her novels suggests that while she may have been asexual, she was not aromantic.
J.M. Barrie, the man who wrote Peter Pan into existence, was reportedly asexual. His marriage was never consummated and ended in divorce when his wife cheated on him. Because of his relationship with his neighbors' children, and the subject matter of his books, some speculated Barrie was prone to pedophilia.
Those who knew him closely vehemently denied Barrie ever exhibited such behavior. Instead, his lack of sexual relationships was more likely due to his asexuality.
Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw was a man far more interested in intellect than sexuality. He never consummated his marriage (also at the request of his wife, Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend) and was a virgin until 29.
Shaw told friends he appreciated sexuality's ability to produce "a celestial flood of emotion and exaltation" but only as it compared to the "conscious intellectual activity" he strove for with his work.
Isaac Newton's supposed asexuality is based on his recorded behavior and lifestyle. He had strict religious views, never married, was obsessive in his scientific careers, and supposedly perished a virgin.
Whether he truly lacked sexual attraction or was simply too immersed in making massive scientific discoveries to explore his sexuality is unsure.