My book was the subject of an in-depth discussion on the Friday Night Lip Service podcast. Friday Night Lip Service is described as “An amazing group of talented queer women who are driven to make the world a better, happier and more peaceful place via the magic of radio.” Sometimes they discuss books, and mine was their selection for this episode.
This was recorded some time back but was only recently made available in this format.
Asexual host Daria as well as non-asexual hosts Nicky and Nida primarily focus on the chapter of my book that covers non-asexual allies. It was a lovely, positive discussion with some humor and plenty of personal experience sharing.
I received a top rating of “five teacups” (or if you have bad eyes like me, they kinda look like pies, which I would also happily accept), and the reviewer said some very nice things about the book. A short excerpt (though you should read the whole thing, really):
Aside from being an amazing resource that gives clarity to many issues (“If someone has sex can they still call themselves asexual?” “What if I still have sexual attraction to people but it’s really low and not that important?”), this book gave me words to properly describe so many things that I’ve felt but didn’t have any idea how to express. I’ve known I’m asexual for some time, but how do I defend that against people who can rightly say, “Your experiences with sex weren’t that great, and your hormones were messed up at a key time of your development, and you did experience abuse as a child,” and that all leads them to the ‘reason’ I’m asexual. Those statements may all be true, and I can’t deny them, but every time someone brought that up, I didn’t have the right words to say why that all felt wrong, that they didn’t cause my orientation any more than an overbearing mother caused a man to be gay. I’d get frustrated and angry at my inability to express what I felt. Now, I have the words to say it all, and there is no end to the amount that I’m grateful for that.
It’s a lovely little piece without the usual naysaying that so many journalists feel is necessary for “balance,” and there are several other asexual voices mixed in so it isn’t entirely a piece about me or my book. I’m quite pleased with it. Please read!
This weekend I was invited on an Australian morning news program called Weekend Sunrise. Happily, I did not have to travel to another continent for a less-than-five-minute interview. They piped me in from a TV studio in Tampa.
An interview with me in Salon was posted today in Q&A format. It was an excellent chance to discuss some of the political aims of the asexual community (which we almost never get to talk about!), as well as my own experience discovering asexuality for myself and the best and worst things about it.
For me, the worst thing about being asexual is other people trying to fix me all the time. They develop this completely inappropriate obsession with my sexual and romantic life, which can manifest as anything from aggressively propositioning me for sex to searching for what’s “really” wrong with me through invasive questions. Some of them maintain that these attempted interventions are about my health and happiness, apparently unaware that they’re compromising both by refusing to respect my identity.
Unfortunately the comments are full of invalidation, as they generally always are on articles about asexuality published in mainstream media. This one has everything from “this isn’t SCIENTIFIC” to “asexual people are heartless and cruel if they date anyone but other asexual people,” ignoring that actually people can agree to date on any grounds they like and nobody’s the arbiter of what amounts of sex must be promised before dating is fair.
I’ve also been assigned mental illness and misanthrope status, and it’s only been up for a couple hours as I post this! Doing great.
I think there’s a book some girl wrote that these people might benefit from reading. Don’t remember, though . . . what was it called?
Decker, Julie Sondra. The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Carrel: Skyhorse. 2014. 240p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781631440021. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631440175. PSYCH
This is the first substantial book for the nonprofessional to emerge from the small but growing community of individuals who identify themselves as “asexual”—i.e., not sexually attracted to anyone; a portion of the population quoted as being approximately one in 100 people. Decker (contributor, Huffington Post; Salon), who writes in the introduction about her own asexuality, emphasizes that this is an orientation that has to do with feelings, not actions. The author stresses fluidity and inclusiveness: asexuality may change over time; some asexual people enjoy romantic relationships while others have no interest; libido may be high or low; and some are happy in partnered relationships while others enjoy the single life. The language and concepts are clearly modeled on those of the LGBTQ community, with an emphasis on asexuality being a healthy orientation, rather than the result of a mental or physical illness. The final chapter addresses friends and family members of asexual people.
This title is an important resource for readers of any age who are struggling to understand their sexual orientation, or those who would like to better understand asexuality.—Mary Ann Hughes, Shelton, WA
I’ll link it to their site once it’s posted. This is great for me and my publisher!
Kendra Holliday of The Beautiful Kind has posted a sensitive and personalized review and reflection of my book The Invisible Orientation. I especially love her discussion of diversity within the community, and how she seemed excited about the new terminology, not overwhelmed by it.
My biggest takeaway reading this book is that we shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone’s orientation. Be understanding and appreciate diversity. If you find out something you weren’t expecting, don’t blurt out something stupid and insensitive. Instead, nod and process.
Marieke of DiversifYA was kind enough to accept a guest post from me in honor of my book’s publication. I wrote a short essay discussing the importance of inclusive literature—including for asexual people—and spotlighted my experience of never finding myself in a book.