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.
I would love for folks to order it to their libraries or check into whether their schools can get it for sexuality and psychology resources. If you’d like an easy-to-print flier to give to someone who can order books for your library or institution, I have the DOC or the PDF available for you!
I hope everyone likes it as much as I liked writing it. 🙂
Today an interview-like blog post I prepared with SL Huang has gone live. They’re really thought-provoking questions and I really enjoyed responding!
[A]sexual people and their loved ones go to the bookstore, look for books about this topic, find a whole lot of nothing, and conclude that they’re alone or asexuality isn’t real. There’s a ton of power in a book being there for those people. I wanted it to exist, so I wrote it.
Sciatrix reviewed my book for The Asexual Agenda, arguably the most popular asexual-themed 201-and-up blog out there. Several of The Asexual Agenda‘s contributors have quotes in my book and were involved in helping me prepare the content of the book.
Overall, this is an excellent resource and introduction to asexuality. I’m really excited about seeing it used in the future, and I would recommend it to anyone who finds they want to introduce people to asexuality without having to personally do 101 for them.
Asexual community superstar, early reader and contributor, and awesome blogger Queenie has laid down a really comprehensive, mostly glowing, and occasionally critical review for me at Concept Awesome.
Overall, this book is excellent. It is pretty much everything you could want from a 101 asexuality book. It’s easy to read, it’s well-organized, it has so much information, and it would be equally appropriate to hand to your professor, your partner, your parent, and your questioning best friend.