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Understanding Asexuality

author: Anthony F. Bogaert (2012)
date read: 31 March 2017
rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

I really wanted to like this book, but I found it hard-going.

Ostensibly this is a book about asexuality, but it spends an awful lot of time discussing allosexual behaviour, particularly gay men. It feels quite clinical and detached – more like an academic paper than a book.

The author seems keen to pin down and explain where asexuality comes from, trying to reduce it to a biological condition. Some of the conclusions are bizarre: I don’t see the connection the author draws between being asexual and gender non-conforming, or being left-handed (yes, that really is a connection that’s given several paragraphs of discussion).

There’s not much discussion of the social side: potential social causes of asexuality, or what it’s like being asexual. There’s a lot of stigma around being asexual – whether it’s a disorder, a result of childhood abuse, or like being a vegetable – and that’s barely addressed. No discussion of the

I get the sense that the author is allosexual (a word which, by the way, I’m pretty sure doesn’t appear in the book), and this reads like somebody writing about asexuals from a distance. “Maybe they feel this… maybe they feel that… perhaps an asexual might do the other thing.” Felt more like asexuals were the subject of a scientific experiment, rather than real living people.

I’d much rather read a book about asexuality by somebody who is asexual. There’s a good book to be written on the topic, but this isn’t it.

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