Op-Ed: No, Austin Armacost, It’s Not Cool to Claim Asexuality for Press Coverage
Last year, model Austin Armacost said he was asexual during promotion for his season of Celebrity Big Brother UK. Yesterday, though, in an interview with Gay Star News, he claimed it was all a misunderstanding. And, in fact, the original Austin Armacost asexual comment was “quite a misunderstanding.” Instead, now that he’s with his new boyfriend, he fucks all the time!
Back in 2017, Armacost told The Sun:
I am a very asexual person. I am probably in all honesty the least sexual person you will ever meet. As much as I love getting my kit off and showing my bum everywhere, I am like a nun in bed. I am not going to go out with someone and have sex with them. Even after a fourth or fifth date — that’s not what I want. I want a nice man! It has little to do with physicality.
Yesterday, though, he updated his stance. He said:
When asked, I was referring to the sexual relationship between [ex-husband] Jake and I. Sex was limited with us and because we were monogamous, I had all but dried up downstairs. However, when I met Darren, he unleashed my inner sex beast! I find sex a wonderful and empowering activity. It is also a great way to burn calories.
Now, of course Armacost has a right to self-identify however he wants. And sometimes your identity changes and evolves as a person evolves. We’re all on a journey of self-discovery, after all. But, as an actual asexual, I do object to his “just kidding LOL!” response.
The asexual community doesn’t have much representation. If you check Wikipedia, there are 18 celebrities (total!) who are listed as being out asexuals — and some of them aren’t exactly well-known. (Sorry, Emperor Muzong of Liao, ruler of China from 951-969 C.E.!)
Some of the individuals listed aren’t exactly great role models, either — like George Yury Right, an “anti-sexual activist” who wants to eradicate all sexuality. (And he’s a proud racist! Fun!) Or Mao Sugiyama, a performance artist who sliced off his genitals and served them at a banquet! And, well, apparently Caitlyn Jenner identifies as “asexual for now” too, so, uh, that’s nice.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad. We do have Tim Gunn, after all! Along with the brilliant scientist Temple Grandin! And, uh, Jughead … but not in Riverdale. In fact, the only asexual characters on television I can think of are Evan Waxman, the asexual magician in High Maintenance, and Todd Chavez from BoJack Horseman.
It’s this lack of representation that makes it hard for asexual people to come out. Not due to a lack of role models, but because so few people even know it’s an option. For example, growing up, I never realized asexual people existed, which gave me a weird relationship with sex. I was a very late bloomer — only losing my virginity in my late 20s / early 30s.
Yet, due to the culture that surrounds me, I thought sex was the pinnacle of human existence. I obsessed on it, and, quite frankly, I could be overly aggressive with potential partners — and I regret that with every ounce of my being.
And when I finally did have sex, I … didn’t particularly care for it. So I tried again and again — and each time, nothing. I usually ended up getting bored before completion, and lovemaking sessions usually ended up sputtering out as I lost my erection.
In my mid-30s, I found out about asexuality. I discovered it the same way a lot of people did — Tumblr. So, if you want to get all Tumblr about it, I identify as a heteroromantic grey asexual. Which means I want to have romantic relationships with women, and every so often I feel like having sex. (But when I do, I usually think, “Oh yeah, that’s why I don’t like this very much!”)
For what it’s worth, since I am heteroromantic — or I prefer not having sex with women to not having sex with men — I often joke that I’m queer on a technicality. It’s the ultimate passing privilege — I’m straight for all intents and purposes except for the actual deed. Knowing this, though, I don’t try to shoehorn myself into queer spaces. (Well, except for this one, I suppose.)
That’s what makes stories like the Austin Armacost asexual comment maddening. It feeds into the belief at large that asexuality isn’t real. Of course Armacost isn’t “ace”; he just needed a damn good rogering!
Well, I’m here to tell you: Asexuality is real. And, for the most part, we’re fine with our junk the way it is and we’re cool with all that sex you’re having. (We just don’t necessarily want to hear about it.) Oh yeah, and racism is trash, though you don’t have to be ace to know that one.