Everyone Deserves Their Love Story: Asexuality In Queer Romance by Victoria Zagar

My name is Victoria Zagar and I’m here today on Queer Romance Month to discuss the topic of asexuality in queer romance. As the author of asexual romance Wings Of Destruction, I was invited to share my thoughts on this subject, so here’s the tale of how I came to write an ace love story.

I once had an Internet friend, who for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll call C. We met through fandom, and she liked a lot of the same things I did. We became fast friends, talking about our personal lives, as well as the hobbies we were both passionate about.

C confided in me me one day that she didn’t like the thought of physical intimacy, sex, or kissing, and that she was exploring the prospect that she might be asexual. At the time, I was getting to grips with my own identity as a bisexual person, and I could appreciate the struggle it took to be honest with one’s self. So, I cheered her on. “Great!” I told her, with enthusiastic gusto.

“I don’t want to be alone forever!” she told me. It was a moment of brutal honesty that shocked me to the core. I hadn’t thought deeply enough about how sexual the world is, how peer pressure can force people to engage in acts they’re not comfortable with, and how society assumes romantic relationships must also be sexual ones. I tried to tell her that being asexual wasn’t so bad if that’s who she was, but as a sexual person, it was hard for me to tell her that everything would be all right. How could I promise her that she would find someone who would love her just the way she was?

I lost contact with her, and I never did find out if she accepted the asexual side of herself, or if she found someone who would love her without the need for physical intimacy. I thought about her over the years, and I hope she found a way to live the life that she needed.

It’s my belief that we all deserve to be loved, if we want to be. Even if we can’t find that special someone (or don’t want someone else in our lives), romance is about fulfilling our emotional needs, and feeling validated in our identities is an important part of that. There’s a lot of sexual romance out there, with a lot of emphasis placed on heat levels and kinks. That’s fantastic for those of us who are sexual, but for those who aren’t, it must be hard to find characters to relate to. When I looked around our little corner of the book market, it shocked me to see almost no stories with asexual-identified characters. It reinforced those words C said to me all those years ago, and that made me think. I don’t want her, or any asexual person, to feel unwelcome in the queer romance community, when the world itself can already be so isolating to those of us in a minority.

Love is a fantastic thing that knows no boundaries or borders, yet sometimes, people are sadly excluded because of a lack of diversity in the genre. I feel like we need to do better (myself included) to make sure there are love stories for everyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. So that nobody searches for books about themselves and comes up empty.

I want to live in a world where nobody has to believe that their identity is a punishment, a sentence to eternal loneliness. As writers, we can make that happen. All we have to do is pick up our pens and write. Put ourselves in someone else’s shoes (which is our job anyway), and take the chance on writing something that might not be a commercial hit, but which makes someone out there feel like they’re not alone.

Because everyone deserves their love story.

 About Victoria Zagar

Victoria was born in the United Kingdom but emigrated to the United States at age 21. She’s bisexual, genderqueer, happily married, and still shouts in a British accent. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania where she spends a lot of time playing and talking about video games, especially Japanese role-playing games.

Besides the Culture Wars series, she is the author of Wings of Destruction, an asexual m/m romance novella published by Less Than Three Press, The Miracle, an F/F short story published by Evernight Publishing, and the forthcoming m/m romances Reunited (Totally Bound Publishing), Nami (Wilde City Press),The Dragon’s Curse (Less Than Three Press), and The Forbidden Zone (Less Than Three Press). She loves to write about all colors of the rainbow and celebrate love wherever it may be found.

About Wings Of Destruction:

Society has wingscollapsed, driven to madness after a great economic crash. Gangs roam the streets, taking any man, woman or child without a Mate for their own.

Martin is on the brink of despair, an asexual man who cannot keep a Mate. Facing a life he cannot bear, he heads to Spire Rock to end it. But when he reaches it, he encounters Anael, an angel sent to assess the world for destruction—and the first to accept Martin exactly as he is.
Teaming up with former gang concubine Sarah, they journey to the Tower of Elysius to end the world. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and some angels have plans of their own…

Grab a copy on Amazon US
Or on Amazon UK

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “I want to live in a world where nobody has to believe that their identity is a punishment, a sentence to eternal loneliness.”

    This line really struck me personally. I’m probably not the only one who has felt this same way, either “sentenced” for being born ace or for just being different, and in a place where you feel so different, so “not normal,” that something like love is just out of reach, not something reserved for you.

    In that way, I appreciate the broad spectrum of queer romance novels, and their plethora (and varied) happy endings. It some ways I feel like it not only exposes us to all the many forms that love can take, but also helps reinforce a message that love *is* possible, even for those of us who feel that it’s beyond our grasp. It’s nice to have those words, and stories, on repeat, until we can speak them for ourselves.

    Thank you for a writing an ace romance story. I’m sure I’m not the only ace reader who appreciates the genre expanding to include us. :-)

  • This was a very important post. This quote struck home with me as well. “I want to live in a world where nobody has to believe that their identity is a punishment, a sentence to eternal loneliness.” I am not an ace person, but the feeling that sentence describes can be more universal & it echoes fears that haunted me, long ago. In time I learned it wasn’t true & found my own real life version of HEA, but it was a long time coming & in the meantime stories represented hope. Romance will always be important ways to remind us of the possibility of love he haven’t yet found & we need to find ourselves in those stories.

    “Wings of Destruction” sounds fascinating. I am quite interested to read a romance with asexual characters. After reading this post I did a quick internet search, & it doesn’t seem a very easy matter to find them, though admittedly I didn’t invest a lot of time in it. There were lists of books with fictional characters who are asexual or considered to be, Sherlock Holmes for example, but none of them were romances. As you say “everyone deserves their love story.”

  • Thank you for this! I am ace myself but when I was growing up there was no recognition that such a thing existed at all, and it’s still a mostly invisible orientation – so I didn’t even realize that was what I was until a few years ago. So many things in my life have made so much more sense since learning that asexuality exists. It’s great to have books that show us that we are not destined to be alone, but it’s also great to have books that just show us that we exist at all, because sometimes we don’t even know that.

  • Like several commenters the line,

    “I want to live in a world where nobody has to believe that their identity is a punishment, a sentence to eternal loneliness.”

    really resounded with me and I think this is a truly universal wish. The romance community should be able to give an example of an HEA to everyone regardless…full stop. If we could truly see love as love, and remove the sexual thoughts that society too often darkens love with, the Rainbow would have less haters and more love…ers.

    Wings of Destruction sounds like a really good story and will be going on my TBR list. Thank you for this post :)

  • “I hadn’t thought deeply enough about how sexual the world is, how peer pressure can force people to engage in acts they’re not comfortable with, and how society assumes romantic relationships must also be sexual ones.”

    This sentence says a lot. In all fairness, most people are not aware that this goes on and when they’re confronted with it, they do not like hearing or reading about it because it calls into question their assumptions about the world. Look into the comments on any article about asexuality and while there is are definitely people who are positive, willing to learn, or who are otherwise supremely supportive, they are balanced out by people who get offended that the author is waving their aceness in the readers’ faces. It’s kind of painful to read.

    It’s funny, I didn’t realize that I was asexual or unusual *until* I started reading romances at the age of 39. For the first time in my life, I was hit squarely in the face with the fact that what I did not want – marriage, romance, etc. – was not only highly unusual, but also very different from the overall majority (who, let’s face it, are sexual in their orientation and most of whom *do* want those things). I went looking for reasons why my responses to romantic scenarios were so different from people who enjoyed them and discovered I was a true outsider for yet another reason (nerd here). It would have been nice to encounter a character who felt the same way I did, and still do, at the time.

    Hopefully, in the future, we will start seeing more depictions of a wider range of asexual and sexual characters who cover the whole spectrum of life.

    Thank you for writing this article!

  • Thank you, Victoria. It’s wonderful that you took that time with C and not only became more thoughtful about asexuality but also gave the world another story. Purely selfish reasons for me, but I would love to read more books with asexual MC’s. Seeing different characters makes for a richer reading experience and having people see themselves in positive ways makes the world a better place.

    The only book that comes to mind with an asexual MC is Sam Burke’s City of Soldiers, which I loved. However, I am getting tired of only being able to point that one book out when the topic of asexuality in romance books comes up. (Now I can check out Wings of Destruction, too!) I was really glad to hear that Less Than Three Press is coming out with an asexual anthology some time and that Alex Beecroft has a story coming out next year. I think discussions like this and people saying, “yes, I’d read that” and “I WANT to read that” really help writers and publishers think about their story decisions.

    To bring it full circle, it’s why I love queer romance. It certainly has its issues, but I see more authors and publishers who are working towards inclusion, getting a spectrum of people’s stories told, and that’s a really great thing.

  • Thank you. There’s so much more I’d love to say, but… thank you. I wrote an enormous post in response to this that I’ll save for myself, but I’ll be looking into these books.

    And thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: