Asexual Book Review: Understanding Asexuality

Asexuality can be defined as an enduring lack of sexual attraction. Thus, asexual individuals do not find (and perhaps never have) others sexually appealing. Some consider “asexuality” as a fourth category of sexual orientation, distinct from heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. However, there is also recent evidence that the label “asexual” may be used in a broader way than merely as “a lack of sexual attraction.” People who say they have sexual attraction to others, but indicate little or no desire for sexual activity are also self-identifying as asexual. Distinct from celibacy, which refers to sexual abstinence by choice where sexual attraction and desire may still be present, asexuality is experienced by those having a lack or sexual attraction or a lack of sexual desire.

Regardless of your opinion, you have to admit that Anthony Bogaert’s work has been incredibly influential in regards to asexuality.

“Understanding Asexuality” was the first major book on the topic, having been published in 2012. Since then, it has inspired a myriad of research on asexuality as a whole.

It is well researched with the odd bit of humour added in which keeps the audience engaged. Despite the academic quality, it was a reasonably quick and easy read.

However, there is one thing you should bear in mind, which is that it was not written for asexual people. The book was designed to help allosexual people understand asexuality.

For that reason, it is more focused on sexuality as a whole. It explains the science behind sexual attraction in great detail, and how that may or may not relate to asexuality (usually ending with “inconclusive results”).

If you are reading this book from an asexual perspective, then you might be slightly offended by the lack of detail which almost makes it seem like an afterthought in a book that’s supposed to be dedicated to the topic.

There are some parts of it which seem completely irrelevant to the topic itself. It quickly becomes clear that the author isn’t asexual, and in that way can find it difficult to relate to asexual readers.

Even so, it might still be of interest to the asexual community, just not in the way you might expect. If we renamed the book “Understanding Sexuality”, it might make more sense.

For asexual people, it can provide a valuable insight into sexuality as a whole; how it arises, what motivates people to pursue it, and how it impacts their daily lives. But do not expect to learn anything about your own sexuality by reading it.

Bearing that in mind, if you are interested in learning about sexuality from an allosexual perspective, then you might still be able to get some useful information from it.

Otherwise, I would probably recommend The Invisible Orientation, which I will be reviewing next month. Feel free to read along with us or join in the discussion on 1st April!


Asexual Book Review: A Brief Introduction

Sometimes called “A Fourth Orientation”, asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction toward any gender. This book explores love, sex, and life, from the asexual point of view. This book is for anyone, regardless of orientation. Whether you’re asexual, think you might be, know…

Keep reading…

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