Asexuality has been around as long as sexuality itself, with some of the most notable asexuals being famous or well-known people. Isaac Newton is one of the most notable asexual people, as his laws of motion and gravity definitely put him on the map. Other notable asexual individuals are Glenn Gould, a Canadian pianist, and John Ruskin - an author, poet, and social critic.
Asexuality is hard to really define or even point out because most people who are asexual are often believed to be homosexual or even bisexual or just strange by the outsiders. Because many asexuals do not follow gender roles or have a clear-cut gender identity it can be confusing for those on the outside looking in. Gender identity often defines who we are socially, so you can bet the friends of Isaac Newton, Glenn Gould, and John Ruskin put a lot of thought into the sexual orientation of their friends!
Many friends of Isaac Newton believed he was just too into his work to notice women, or even men for that matter. Isaac Newton was such an accomplished person in every respect that it was just assumed that maybe he couldn't make time for romance. But, those who were closest to him realized that he seemed to lack sexual attraction or even a desire for sex. Close friends and family knew that Isaac Newton just wasn't quite like everyone else, but in 1727 when he died there wasn't much data about asexuality so he sort of died as a sexual and social mystery in many people's minds.
John Ruskin is a little bit more of a clear-cut picture of asexuality. John Ruskin was a famous poet, author, and social critic living from 1819-1900. John Ruskin was actually married to a woman named Ellie, but several years later the couple divorced for non-consummation of vows. According to socialites of the time, the rumor was that he refused any physical contact with his wife, and lacked any physical attraction to her. Years later John Ruskin fell in love with a nine-year-old girl and asked her to marry him; some say he was attracted to her because as a young girl she also lacked sexuality. The young girl rejected him, and he never did marry or have any known romantic relations.
In addition to Isaac Newton and John Ruskin is Glenn Gould. Glenn Gould was a Canadian pianist that seemed a bit odd to all that came in contact with him. He was not social, and preferred to do all the communication through letters. Gould never married, and had a strong aversion to being touched. A preoccupation with his health and safety of his hands was notable, as was an addiction to prescription drugs. Like Isaac Newton, he never showed any interest in women, and seemed to lack physical attraction to others or desire to have sex or sexual contact.
Not much research has been done on asexuality. Some believe the asexuality of Isaac Newton and others is a rare sexual orientation, others believe it may be a dysfunction or even a sexual aversion disorder. Asexuality seems to vary from person to person, from a disinterest in human contact to a full-fledged aversion to other people. There were surely others before Isaac Newton, and there will surely be more people similar to him in the future.