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’

No longer yours

This is far from a new idea–I’ve seen it expressed several times–but now I’m experiencing it myself and I’m going to reflect on it.

When you write a book, get it published, and release it into the wild, it becomes no longer yours.

That may sound like an obvious statement, but the nuances are a little more complex. You know when your work is published that people you don’t know and will never meet are now hearing your words in their heads. You know you’ve made them think about things they wouldn’t have thought if you hadn’t thought them first and written them down. You know your work gets its wings and flies to places you’ve never been, carrying ideas in its wake, spreading messages far and wide.

But what’s really interesting about it is seeing people treating it like it’s . . . well, something other than your weird little baby. Reacting to it like it’s public property–because it is. Reviewing it positively and discussing its potential influence on academic mattersPosting quotes from it that they found inspirational and getting hundreds of people to share them with others. Getting excited because their copy arrived and taking pictures of it to blog and tweet. Seeing it criticized and seeing others get my backRecommending it to people to help understand themselves and each other. Telling personal stories about why my book is important to them.

It’s mine, but it’s not just mine anymore.

The book has become part of the conversation. Part of the world. Part of the fabric of existence as we go on from here. It’s something others can access to inform their lives, and it’s something that is now being casually recommended to strangers by other strangers so they can understand an experience we’ve all had. These people have oftentimes paid money for the privilege of letting me “talk” to them for an appreciable length of time. My words were taken seriously, digested, enjoyed, passed on. They are being read now. They will continue to be in the future.

And for many of the people who read it, who I am as a person isn’t actually important. So many readers absorb the content of a book without even thinking about the person who wrote it, without thinking about why they wrote it, without trying to connect to that person (even though they’ve done so in a pretty intimate way if you ask us). The way they think of us sometimes, if they don’t know us in person or online, is just as content generators–a disembodied set of words and opinions that made a thing and sold the thing.

I like that.

No, not because I like being dehumanized or separated from my content, or because I don’t like when people DO try to connect personally (because I do like that), but because now they don’t have to know me to hear my words. They don’t have to be part of my world for me to be part of theirs.

It’s a good feeling.