Article: “Asexuality and the Health Professional”

I published my first blog in Psychology Today, where I’m now installed as a blogger. (See my profile there if you like!)

Because of the nature of the magazine, I decided to tackle health professionals’ responsibility to asexual clients and how they should be educated on this subject if they’re going to treat us.

Please read “Asexuality and the Health Professional.”

Interview: Yorokobu

A Spanish magazine called Yorokobu interviewed me for an article called “Los asexuales reivindican su hueco” (“The Asexuals Claim Their Space”).

Jaled Abdelrahim sent me a list of interview questions in English, which I also answered in English, and then the translated version was published on the site.

You can read it here.

My friend Claudia took a crack at a more accurate translation than Google Translate can provide, which you can read below the cut.

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Interview: Maclean’s

I have a short interview in the December 22, 2014 issue of Maclean’s, a Canadian national weekly news magazine. The article about me is on page 75 of the issue, under “Help,” and its title is “No sex please—it’s boring.” (Not sure who titles these things! I wouldn’t know if sex is boring, though I guess conflating “boring” with “not interesting to me” isn’t that far off.)

macleans

The limited preview on the Maclean’s site

The interview is in the print magazine–which is only sold in Canada–and you can buy the digital edition through the newsstand online here. An online version was later posted here.

The article is pretty super basic with one page of content. It has some nice little tidbits and didn’t sensationalize asexuality or make fun of me or anything. But as is almost always the case with media articles that do not let me check them before they print/post, there are little things I would have preferred to be presented differently, most notably the sentence “Just as some people are born gay, straight or bisexual, Decker says she was born without the desire to have sex.” I do not in fact say that. Because I hate the “born this way” narrative for many reasons, so I’m not keen on being represented as making that claim as if those are the words I’d use or the sentiment I’d express.

There’s also a place where it quotes me as saying some asexual people do decide to have sex and then they finish the sentence for me by claiming it’s “to please a partner,” and I think that is misleading, though of course it’s sometimes true. It also kinda oversimplifies the whole “asexuality is not trauma, it’s not hormones,” etc., but that’s not surprising given the space allotted.

They also made reference to the Apositive site and a post on it, but misspelled its URL as “appositive.org.” It’s supposed to have one P, not two. Maybe spellcheck decided to hit it and no one caught it. The print version has this issue but the online version does not.

My own book is secretly in the photograph, sitting on my desk in the background under some papers. That’s kind of meta.

Review (An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge): The Invisible Orientation

A lovely post about asexuality books by a blogger named Alison has been posted. Alison lists three books on asexuality and discusses their contents briefly, naming mine the favorite. I’m so flattered!

Read the compare and contrast:

Three Books on Asexuality: An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

Of the three books on Asexuality that I’ve read this year, this one was my favorite. It’s written in very clear, accessible language. It covers a variety of topics and issues. It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to learn more about asexuality.

The book covers Asexuality 101, asexual experiences (this section is very inclusive), myths of asexuality, a section specifically for asexual people (and any questioning people), and friends/family/acquaintances of asexual people. And I haven’t checked them all out yet, but the resources at the end of the book look great.

Review (Ace, Ace, Baby): The Invisible Orientation

One of the bloggers who received a review copy of my book from my publisher decided to share some thoughts on it, and they’re lovely. A full enthusiastic review is posted here on the Ace, Ace, Baby Tumblr.

An excerpt:

I honestly could not think of a better person to write this book and I’m so glad something like this exists. The book covers historical studies, and the differences between things you might not even realize should be separated. Decker’s skills as a writer also show when it comes to how well versed and organized this book is.

🙂

Review (Review Fix): The Invisible Orientation

A nice review of The Invisible Orientation has appeared on the eclectic site Review Fix, where I had an interview posted previously. Rocco Sansone offers his recommendation of the book and discusses its content.

Read the review here!

The point of the book, according to Decker in the book’s introduction, is to talk about asexuality in layman’s terms. Decker accomplishes this feat perfectly. The book is written in a way that is concise, informative and easy to understand. There are some vocabulary words that she does introduce (aromantic, polyamory) but she manages to explain them in full detail without sounding like the typical boring scientist or confusing you.

 

Review (Bibliotropic): The Invisible Orientation

I got a lovely review from Ria at the book review site Bibliotropic.

Read it here:

The Invisible Orientation, by Julie Sondra Decker

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.

Featured and Quoted: Washington Post

The Washington Post had a lovely people-centered piece about asexuality this week, and I was one of the folks they spoke to for the feature. I only have a short quote and a book plug, but it’s a very nice humanizing piece about asexual people discovering identity.

Please read it here:

Asexuals seek to raise awareness of the ‘invisible orientation’

Interview: Marie Claire UK

Marie Claire UK did an interview with me and a few other asexual people for its December 2014 issue. You can choose your platform and download it for a small fee here (make sure to get December 2014).

theasexualsBecause it is a for-sale magazine and there is no online companion, I can’t show you the whole thing, but here is my quote:

marieclaireukI was interviewed through e-mail, so I was surprised that several of my quotes didn’t get what I said correct.

Their version:

Describing herself as aromantic, Julie was 15 when she realized she was asexual. ‘There was no asexual community at the time, but I knew sex was interesting to everyone but me. When AVEN was established, I began using the term asexual instead to connect myself to a community.’

This quote implies that I used to call myself “aromantic” BUT HAVE NOW “switched” to using “asexual” because of AVEN. That’s incredibly misleading because I use both terms NOW and did not claim to use “aromantic” as a teen. Asexuality and aromanticism are not necessarily related. When I described using the word  “asexual” instead, was describing my switch from the word “nonsexual,” which I always used before there was a community that preferred “asexual.”

Here is my original statement:

I identify as an asexual aromantic woman—”aromantic” meaning I also don’t feel romantic attraction. Romantic orientation is separate from sexual orientation for a great many asexual people, and some do want romantic relationships even if sexual attraction doesn’t develop for them.

This is the only place I mention “aromantic” in my set of answers, so how it got conflated for the term I switched to “instead” is beyond me.

My original response, on using “nonsexual” as a term:

I was about fifteen years old when I started calling myself “nonsexual.” There was no asexual community at the time, but I knew sex was very interesting to everyone but me, and it seemed like enough of a difference to have to call it something. When the Asexual Visibility and Education Network was established by David Jay in the early 2000s, I began using the term “asexual” instead to connect myself to the community and visibility efforts.

So you see how that really was not unclear. I don’t know how it became so in the article.

Also, they tweaked my words at one point. The interviewer asked me about dating and dating sites for asexual people. I discussed mixed-orientation dating a bit after explaining why it’s rare for asexual people to be able to date other asexual people. I wrote this:

There are resources for these mixed-orientation relationships, but every partnership is different. Even in non-asexual couples, there’s usually a difference of desire and opinion on how often and in what ways to have sex, so asexual people aren’t honestly that different, and some may be okay with having sex even if they don’t have the usual accompanying sexual attraction. Some relationships that include an asexual person have special arrangements in which they emphasize other forms of intimacy, or they may have a non-monogamous relationship, like an open marriage or a polyamorous group situation.

That was rewritten to this in the magazine:

As Julie explains, ‘Every partnership is different. Even among sexual couples, there’s usually a difference of desire, and some asexuals can be OK with having sex, even if they don’t desire to. Other relationships that include an asexual person have special arrangements in which there are other forms of intimacy, or they may choose to have a non-monogamous relationship.’

I don’t think this is necessarily a poor choice for simplifying, shortening, and summing up my response (though it lacks some nuance), but for the record, I didn’t call any couples “sexual couples.”

This is not incredibly egregious, considering how wrong many journalists have gotten it over the years, but it does really irk me that “aromantic” is represented as something I used to call myself before I found the word “asexual.” Many aromantic people are very much NOT fans of having our romantic and sexual orientations conflated. I was also assigned words I never said a couple times wherein I referred to asexual people as “asexuals,” and while I don’t object to this language, I prefer not to use it as a noun form, though I do use “aces.”

Still, I appreciated that in a popular, mainstream magazine, the article didn’t drag in some “sexpert” for “balance” to ramble about how we’re probably just refusing to face our sicknesses and trying to make an orientation out of our fear.

Note: There are also some statements in the article that could be taken as sex-shaming or promiscuity-shaming.