October 23-29, 2016, is Asexual Awareness Week, and to mark it the MA Library has pulled together a list of resources on asexuality (ace), aromanticism (aro), and related yet often misunderstood sexual identities.
For those who don’t know, the short and sweet is that people who identify as asexual don’t experience sexual attraction, but it’s important to remember that asexuality is more of an umbrella term or spectrum rather than a strict label. Some aces do experience sexual attraction to only certain people with whom they already share a deep personal or romantic connection (demisexual) and some feel their sexual identity is more fluid and falls somewhere between asexuality and sexuality (gray ace or gray-a).
Aces often make explicit the division between sexual and romantic orientation. An ace person can be romantically attracted to people of the opposite sex (heteromantic), same sex (homoromantic), demiromantic (only experiences romantic feeling after a strong emotional connection has formed), and myriad others. A person’s sexual and romantic attractions may not match up, meaning a person who identifies as ace may also identify as biromantic.
To learn more, check out the links below or stop by the library and talk to Alex.
Definitions and Descriptions
- Webcomic by Tumblr user adriofthedead debunking some of the myths and misconceptions of asexuality.
- “Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation”: An article from the LGBTQ Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill defining in clear, concise language asexuality, types of attraction, and romantic orientations (including aromantic).
- “Asexuality: The ‘X’ In A Sexual World”: a 6-part series about the ace/aro spectrum.
- “Asexuality: A Minority in Need of Understanding” by Kirstin Kelley: a young woman’s journey to discovering she’s ace.
- “Not Broken: Julie Daly talks asexual representation in YA” by Julie Daly: a personal essay about feeling like a “broken straight girl” until she discovered she was demisexual.
- “Being Asexual: Sexual Attraction Is Like a Language I Can’t Speak” by Lydia Smith: a man named Michael Doré explains asexuality and his experiences as an ace man.
- “I Am Asexual (And It’s Awesome!)” by s.e. Smith: what it’s like to be ace/aro and in a polyamorous relationship.
- The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker (in the MA Library): outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.
- Understanding Asexuality by Anthony F. Bogaert (in the MA Library): written by an expert in the field who has conducted studies on asexuality and who has provided important contributions to understanding asexuality. This timely resource will be one of the first books written on the topic for general readers, and the first to look at the historical, biological, and social aspects of asexuality. It includes firsthand accounts throughout from people who identify as asexual. The study of asexuality, as it contrasts so clearly with sexuality, also holds up a lens and reveals clues to the mystery of sexuality.
- Tumblr user agentaletha reviews books featuring ace/aro characters.
- This tagpacker for books featuring characters who are on the ace/aro spectrum.