Question of the Week: March 10, 2015

Has anyone read any literature substantively discussing asexuality, scientific or otherwise? I’m afraid I don’t know of much, but I realize I have read almost none of it; would you recommend The Invisible Orientation or perhaps Bogaert’s Understanding Asexuality? Are there any other books besides those two focused on, or even tangentially exploring, the implications of asexuality and giving an overview, from either a scientific or social perspective?

What sorts of books have been written about asexuality? Do you recommend reading them?

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8 Responses to Question of the Week: March 10, 2015

  1. Sciatrix says:

    Now would be a great time to bring up the Agenda’s old journal club, which was organized to take peer reviewed papers and talk about them. 🙂 The transcripts are actually pretty interesting reading!

    Regarding the literature: I’m pretty sure it’s those two and the Asexuality Archive’s book. I’ve only read that and The Invisible Orientation, but they’re both pretty good 101 resources. That said, they’re not particularly interesting if you’ve been around a while.

  2. There are also a pair of academic (and academically priced…) books that are collections of essays or papers on asexuality. I haven’t read either one.

    Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives by Cerankowski and Milks
    Asexuality and Sexual Normativity by Carrigan, et al.

  3. Victrix says:

    I’ve read (and own) both Understanding Asexuality and The Invisible Orientation. The former is alright but not great beyond about the first half, probably good for older readers but it does come across as a bit of a middle-aged academic ramble.
    The Invisible Orientation I found had some moments where I thought I was on Tumblr which I didn’t consider good. If you were providing it to someone I would recommend just getting them to read sections of it relevant to them and probably not in the chapter order.
    Other than that I don’t know of any others.

  4. elainexe says:

    I read Understanding Asexuality and it was okay. I don’t think it really had much more than Bogaert’s studies on asexuality, for actual real content on asexuality? But there were some interesting things because he talks a lot about sexology in general and how it might relate to sexuality. The biggest failing of this book, though, would be that much of it is made up of him speculating, even a couple chapters solely of speculation, that make it painfully obvious he’s never looked into the asexual community. Some of the stuff fairly common once you get past the 101 stuff.
    I also came across a book once called Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life, by Benjamin Kahan, which has some content related to asexuality. I haven’t read it, though, so I can’t say if it’s any good.

    • Ace in Translation says:

      That second one is on my to-read list too. I read the intro and it seems to have some interesting stuff on asexuality and 20th century history. I’m not sure how well it connects to ace discourse, though.

    • Yeah, Bogaert’s book really felt like he got kicked off of AVEN a couple of chapters in and couldn’t figure out where else to find any asexuals to talk to. (I mean, that chapter on the joke, seriously? Couldn’t find even one ace to tell that joke to and see what they thought?) I also got the sense that some of the chapters were papers he’d already written about sexology in general, but that he wasn’t able to or didn’t want to get published in a journal, so he wrote in a sentence or two about asexuality and crammed them in the book.

      There’s also a book called “Boston Marriages”. It’s a collection of stories about women in “romantic but asexual” lesbian relationships. It’s from the early 90’s. From what I recall of what I skimmed, although it uses the word “asexual” in its subtitle, it’s being used in the “without sex” meaning, and not the current meaning. However, it is very likely that at least some of the people it talks about are homoromantic ace women.

  5. Ace in Translation says:

    I’ve got a French book on asexuality published way back in 2010: No Sex, avoir envie de ne pas faire l’amour by Peggy Sastre (title roughly translates as: No sex, to have the urge to not make love). She’s a journalist who interviewed a lot of aces and lets them speak for most of the book to explain our identity. I’ve started reading it and so far it’s pretty good, though some of the things seem outdated (then again, it was back in 2009/2010 she would have interviewed those aces)
    It’s rather strange that the English language community doesn’t speak about this book at all – as if it doesn’t exist once something is published in another language.

  6. If you’re looking for papers not just books, there’s a bibliography of papers on asexuality, which you might be able to access through an academic library:

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