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The rise of the TikTok and Instagram asexuals

Surprise! Some of the sexiest tastemakers on TikTok and Instagram don’t actually have much of a taste for sex.

For a growing number of Gen Z social media influencers identifying as asexual, being hot isn’t about attracting the perfect mate. It’s about, well, being hot.

“My sex appeal has nothing to do with being attracted to [or attracting] another person,” Jaiye Pierre, a 20-something Manhattan beauty influencer told The Post.

The Big Apple bombshell, who boasts a TikTok fan base of more than 82,700 followers, identifies as an asexual or an “ace” — a person with little to no sexual attraction or interest in physical intimacy with other people. 

Pierre isn’t all that unusual among her peer group.

Pierre, a beauty influencer, is often questioned about her asexuality, owing to her alluring shape and form-fitting wardrobe.
Pierre, a beauty influencer, is often questioned about her asexuality, owing to her alluring shape and form-fitting wardrobe.
Courtesy of Jaiye Pierre

Despite relative mainstream obscurity, asexuality, which puts the “A” in LBGTQIA+, has gone wide on social media; on TikTok alone, the hashtags #Asexual and #AsexualPride have amassed more than 1.6 billion and 86.5 million virtual stamps, respectively.

For English rose Amie Butler, an actor and online influencer, sex always felt like a chore. Even when she landed her dream boyfriend at age 23, she didn’t want to sleep with him. Or anyone else.

“It was a huge thing for me to have this realization. For a long time, I didn’t want to accept it,” Butler, now 25 and from the United Kingdom, told The Post. “So I asked Google, ‘Why don’t I want to have sex?,’ which led me to asexuality. Before then, I just thought there was something wrong with me.”

With over 18,000 followers on TikTok, the spunky brunette recently went viral, scoring more than 763,000 views on a video explaining her asexual orientation. Butler identifies as both a demisexual, or a demi ace, as well as a gray asexual. Being a demi ace means she doesn’t experience any sexual attraction to others until an emotional bond is formed. Grays are not completely opposed to romantic interaction.

Social media critics often tell Butler that she's "so pretty," and shouldn't consider herself an asexual.
Social media critics often tell Butler that she’s “so pretty,” and shouldn’t consider herself an asexual.
Courtesy of Amie Butler

“A big misconception is that asexuals don’t have sex or that we have a low libido,” Butler said. “Ace people can have high libidos.”

She said commenters will sometimes tell her she’s not yet found the right person, or will reassure her that she’s pretty. Butler even recently spoofed the most outrageous responses in a TikTok post that has garnered a staggering 7.8 million views.

But they’ve got it all wrong, she said. Asexuality isn’t necessarily about a complete lack of sex drive or the inability to feel aroused. For her, it’s a matter of degree: She has a diminished sensation of sexual attraction to others and a disinterest in the physical act of sex. Still, that doesn’t have an impact on her desire to feel good about herself when she looks in the mirror.

“I’m not always pretty or sexy for other people — 99% of the time it’s not for anyone else but me,” she said.

Leorah Wood, a stand-up comic living in Flatbush, uses her humor as her weapon against trolls who question her asexuality — especially wannabe Romeos on dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, where she sporadically looks for companionship. 

Wood uses the inappropriate and rude comments that she gets from potential dating app suitors as comedy material for her standup routines.
Wood uses the inappropriate and rude comments that she gets from potential dating app suitors as comedy material for her standup routines.
Courtesy of Leorah Wood, capture

“Responses [to my asexuality] run the gambit, but I’ve gotten messages from guys like, ‘Oh you haven’t met me yet, I’ll fix that for you,’” said Wood, 23, who discloses her sexual identity up front.

“When I come across people like that, I usually mess with them by responding sarcastically like, ‘Really? You think you’re that good? So good, that you’re going to [change my sexual identity]?’” she laughed. 

“I don’t mind when guys come at me — it’s just fuel for my comedy routines,” she added.

From a young age, Wood, originally from Beverly, Massachusetts, identified as straight. But, unlike other girls in their early teens, she’d never develop crushes on boy band members or cute guys she’d pass on the street.

But in the fall of 2019, during her sophomore year as a drama student at NYU Tisch, she was relieved to discover the term for her sexuality. 

And now, as a professional jokester with thousands of followers on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube combined, Wood weaves silly asexual anecdotes into her online skits and live shows.   

“I love attention,” she told The Post, scoffing at detractors who might pigeonhole all aces as shy, demure or incapable of enjoying the spotlight. “For me it’s just knowing that I look great and I feel confident in myself and my ability to make people smile.”

Benoit uses her massive Instagram following to educate detractors about asexuality and its many branches.
Benoit uses her massive Instagram following to educate detractors about asexuality and its many branches.
WireImage

British lingerie model Yasmin Benoit, 26, wants to harness the attention she gets for her sexy photo shoots to make the world a safer, more understanding place for asexuals like herself.

“I try to use myself as an example of the diversity of the community — asexuality has nothing to do with appearance and we don’t all look the same,” she told The Post.

Benoit says she has never even desired to kiss another person, and identifies as an aromantic ace, which means she doesn’t experience the desire for romantic relationships.

She recently launched the first asexual rights initiative, in partnership with Stonewall, Europe’s largest LBGTQIA+ organization. She’s currently drafting protective legislation and plans to present to her government in the coming months.

“At the end of the day, we’re just normal people who happen to experience sexuality differently,” she said.

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