Happy Book Birthday To… (#54)

Happy Book Birthday To...

“Happy Book Birthday To…” is a feature I created in April 2015 to showcase books that have just been released. The purpose of the posts is to celebrate book releases and share my excitement for them. These posts won’t be made on a regular schedule (like once a week, once a month, etc). Instead, they will be made whenever a lot of books on my TBR are being released on one day and/or when a highly anticipated book from my TBR is released. To find the links to my previous Book Birthday posts, go here.


The City of Brass

The City of Brass

Author: S.A. Chakraborty

Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 528

Synopsis: Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Runebinder

Runebinder

Author: Alex R. Kahler

Series: The Runebinder Chronicles #1

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 400

Synopsis: When magic returned to the world, it could have saved humanity, but greed and thirst for power caused mankind’s downfall instead. Now once-human monsters called Howls prowl abandoned streets, their hunger guided by corrupt necromancers and the all-powerful Kin. Only Hunters have the power to fight back in the unending war, using the same magic that ended civilization in the first place.

But they are losing.

Tenn is a Hunter, resigned to fight even though hope is nearly lost. When he is singled out by a seductive Kin named Tomás and the enigmatic Hunter Jarrett, Tenn realizes he’s become a pawn in a bigger game. One that could turn the tides of war. But if his mutinous magic and wayward heart get in the way, his power might not be used in favor of mankind.

If Tenn fails to play his part, it could cost him his friends, his life…and the entire world.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Are either of these books on your TBR? If yes, which one are you most excited about? Let me know down in the comments!

Advertisements

Happy Book Birthday To… (#53)

Happy Book Birthday To...

“Happy Book Birthday To…” is a feature I created in April 2015 to showcase books that have just been released. The purpose of the posts is to celebrate book releases and share my excitement for them. These posts won’t be made on a regular schedule (like once a week, once a month, etc). Instead, they will be made whenever a lot of books on my TBR are being released on one day and/or when a highly anticipated book from my TBR is released. To find the links to my previous Book Birthday posts, go here.


Renegades

Renegades

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Renegades #1

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 576

Synopsis: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Rosemarked

Rosemarked

Author: Livia Blackburne

Series: N/A

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 400

Synopsis: A healer who cannot be healed…

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war…

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Are either of these books on your TBR? If yes, which one are you most excited about? Let me know down in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday #18

waiting-on-wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where you share your most anticipated releases, one book at a time. I’m here today to share with you another book on my never-ending TBR list!


A Reaper at the Gates

A Reaper at the Gates

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Series: An Ember in the Ashes #3

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger. 

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight. 

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion—even at the cost of his humanity. 

Add to Goodreads button

Preorder links: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


Why I’m Excited for This Book:

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the third book! It’s been hard waiting this long for A Reaper at the Gates and unfortunately, we still have a long way to go until its publication date. April, come sooner!!

Is A Reaper at the Gates on your TBR? Are you as excited as I am for the book’s release in April? Let me know down in the comments!

October Wrap Up

October Wrap Up 2017

Hi everyone and Happy Halloween! Here we are at the end of another month and for some reason, this month seemed like it went by both fast and slow. How is that even possible? Anyway, October was an amazing reading month for me! I ended up finishing 11 books and a total of 3,596 pages (which includes the pages I read of the book I put on hold). I can’t believe I was able to read that many books this month!! It’s the most I’ve read all year! I’m so proud of myself. It also helps that 9 out of the 11 books I read were contemporary which are always quick reads for me.


Books Read in October

Last 3 reads (180)

Last 3 reads (183)

Last 3 reads (186)

Untitled1

Book I Put On Hold in October

Invictus

  • Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Put on hold at 135 pages

I decided to put this book on hold because (as you can see) I was really in the mood for contemporary books this month. I definitely want to pick Invictus back up once I’m in the mood for it!


Reading Challenge Progress

This year I’m participating in 5 reading challenges! To track my progress, I have a page on my blog but I would also like to share my progress with you all. That being said, my monthly wrap ups will all include updates on my progress. For more information on the reading challenges mentioned below, click here.

1. Goodreads Reading Challenge

goodreads-small-2

My Goal: Read 70 books (lowered from original goal of 75)

Completed in October: 11 books

Completed in 2017: 68 books

 

2. Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge

beat-the-backlist-small2

My Goal: Read 25 backlist books

Completed in October: 4 books

Completed in 2017: 20 books

 

 

3. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge

flights-of-fantasy-small

My Goal: Read 25 fantasy books (COMPLETED!)

Completed in October: 2 books

Completed in 2017: 32 books

 

4. Library Love Challenge

2017-library-love-challenge-small

My Goal: Read 12 library books (COMPLETED!)

Completed in October: 8 books

Completed in 2017: 36 books

 

 

5. Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

alphabet-soup-small

Goal: Read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet (“The” and “A” can be skipped; the first word after that will be counted)

Completed in October: 1 letter

Completed in 2017: 22 letters


Was October a good reading month for you? How many books were you able to complete? Let me know in the comments and/or link me to your monthly wrap up. I would love to see what you read this past month!

Down the TBR Hole #6

Down the TBR Hole

When working on scheduling posts, I realized I had an open spot on Mondays. Since I would like to have a recurring type of post every Monday, I decided to start participating in a new (to me) meme! Down the TBR Hole was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story and here’s how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This meme will not only provide a different kind of content on my blog, but it will also hopefully help me reduce the size of my TBR! Each book cover links to Goodreads. Let’s get started!


The Books:

1. The Cursed Heir by Morgan Rhodes

The Cursed Heir (Fake Cover)

This book had no official cover when I added it to my TBR back in 2015 and it still doesn’t have a cover today. So, I improvised (aka spent 2 seconds on Paint) and made a fake cover to use as a stand-in. Hopefully the real one will be revealed soon! I believe this book was supposed to come out in summer of 2017 but it has been pushed back to August of 2018. I’m definitely still interested in reading this book because it’s the third book in a trilogy and I must see how it ends!

Verdict: Staying

2. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed

I read and loved two of Khaled Hosseini’s other books back in 2015 and for some reason have not gotten around to reading this one. I’m definitely still interested in reading it though! The next time I’m in the mood for an adult historical fiction novel, I’ll check out And the Mountains Echoed from the library.

Verdict: Staying

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy

Another book I’m still interested in reading! I actually read the first few pages of this book a couple months ago, but decided to put it down for the moment because I wasn’t in the mood for it. I definitely hope to get to this book in the near future because it sounds really interesting!

Verdict: Staying

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted

I’m definitely going to keep this book on my TBR as well! I’ve heard great things about Uprooted and I seriously don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. I’m still kicking myself over not buying the beautiful UK edition (pictured above) when I had the chance before it went out of print.

Verdict: Staying

5. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Shade Me

I almost completely forgot about this book until I saw it on my TBR. I checked the Goodreads page and saw that a lot of my Goodreads friends rated it 2-3 stars and that really sealed the deal for me. If I’m not really interested in the book anymore and it doesn’t seem like the book is that great then why should I keep it on my TBR?

Verdict: Going


I’m managing to lower my TBR – even if it’s only one book at a time! Do you participate in Down the TBR Hole? Leave a link to your post for this week in the comments if you’d like!

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 5: Resources, A Poem, & Closing Thoughts

Day 5 Header

Hello everyone and welcome to the fifth and final day of Let’s Talk About Asexuality – my five day blog series surrounding the topic of asexuality! I’ve had such a great time sharing these blog posts with you all throughout the week. If you missed the past posts, here are the links so you can go check them out: Day 1’s post | Day 2’s post | Day 3’s post | Day 4’s post

On this last day of my blog series, I wanted to wrap it up by sharing some asexuality-related resources with you all! These resources include websites, book character lists, videos, and more. This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you know of any resources that helped you or someone you know, let me know what they are in the comments and I’ll add them to the post! Following the resources, I’m going to be sharing a wonderful poem called “Ace of Spades” written by (and sent to me by) Abby Pickus. Lastly, I’ll share my closing thoughts for the blog series.


Resources

Websites:

Lists:

Youtube Videos:

Twitter Threads:

Miscellaneous:


Ace of Spades

Ace of Hearts 1

Ace of Hearts 1.1

Ace of Hearts 1.2

Ace of Hearts 1.3


Closing Thoughts

Thank you all so much for joining me this week to help raise awareness of asexuality, support those on the ace-spectrum, and hear about all the diverse experiences ace-spec people have. I hope that this blog series was able to help at least one person – even more would be icing on the cake!

If you have any further questions that my blog series didn’t answer or that you couldn’t discover by browsing the above resources, feel free to ask me! You can comment below, use my contact form, or DM me on Twitter (@brookesbookss). I’m always happy to talk!

If you learned something from this blog series and/or enjoyed it and would like to support me, please consider “buying me a coffee” via Ko-fi by clicking on the image below. 

Ko-fi

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 4: Q&A with Authors on the Ace Spectrum

Day 4 Header

Hello everyone and welcome to Day 4 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality – my five day blog series surrounding the topic of asexuality! If you missed day 1’s post, titled Introduction & Ace 101, click here. If you missed day 2’s post, titled My Personal Experience, click here. If you missed day 3’s post, titled Diverse Ace Experiences, click here.

Today’s post is pretty similar to yesterday’s post except I’m going to be interviewing authors instead! All 6 of these authors fall somewhere on the ace spectrum so I wanted to include their different voices to my blog series as well. Make sure to check out all these author’s books, social media links, etc. and give them lots of support!


Meet the Authors:

A.B. Rutledge

A.B. Rutledge’s Links: Twitter | Website | MAFY’s Goodreads Page

Sarah Viehmann

Sarah Viehmann’s Links: Tumblr | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Ko-fi

Kathryn Ormsbee

Kathryn Ormsbee’s Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Erica Cameron

Erica Cameron’s Links: Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Claudie Arseneault

Claudie Arseneault’s Links: Website | Twitter

Destiny Soria

Destiny Soria’s Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads


Questions & Answers

1. Introduce yourself! Tell us a bit about yourself, what you write, and how you’re involved in the book community.

A.B. Rutledge: I’m A.B. Rutledge and I write books about queer kids finding each other and loving each other and healing each other. My debut Miles Away from You will be published by HMH on March 20, 2018.

Sarah Viehmann: Hello! I’m Sarah Viehmann. I got my start writing YA/NA fanfiction, but my debut novel, Unrooted, releases with REUTS Publications in Winter 2018. It is a diverse retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” with asexual protagonists.

Kathryn Ormsbee: Hello! My name is Kathryn Ormsbee, and I write Young Adult contemporary and Middle Grade fantasy (as K.E. Ormsbee). My most recent novel, Tash Hearts Tolstoy, came out from Simon & Schuster in June 2017.

Erica Cameron: Hello! I’m Erica Cameron, and I’m an author of young adult fiction. Currently, I’m in the middle of publishing a fantasy series called The Ryogan Chronicles with Entangled Teen. It’s a sprawling epic with immortals, magic, conspiracies, sibling bonds, and a society where bisexuality is the most common orientation, but all others—including asexuality—is not only present but openly accepted. Book one, Island of Exiles, released in February of 2017, and book two, Sea of Strangers, will be out in December. I’m working on the first draft of book three now, which will close out that series, and then I’ll be starting up a sci-fi trilogy that I am very excited about.

Claudie Arseneault: Hi, my name is Claudie and I am bilingual (French) writer from Québec. I’m also arospec and asexual, I have an immunology degree, and I am well known for my love of squids. I am a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I publish novels that have 1) ace and aro heroes, 2) center non romantic relationships, 3) are awesome. I’m part of the Kraken Collective, a small alliance of queer self-publishers who write queer SFF. While I do review the books I read, especially for ace and aro rep I’m not really a book blogger. My biggest contribution to the community is without a doubt the ever-growing Database of Aro and Ace Characters. 🙂

Destiny Soria: Hola! My name is Destiny Soria, and I write YA, primarily in the fantasy genre. My debut novel Iron Cast was released in 2016 by Abrams/Amulet. It’s a historical fantasy about magic, mobsters, and two best friends kicking ass in 1920s Boston. My upcoming novel Beneath the Citadel is a high fantasy about a city ruled by seers and prophecies. Four teens who are the remnants of a failed rebellion must uncover a secret prophecy to save their home and themselves.

2. Where do you fall on the asexual spectrum?

A.B. Rutledge: I’m probably somewhere between demisexual and gray, but I prefer to call myself demi.

Sarah Viehmann: I identify as asexual, greyromantic.

Kathryn Ormsbee: I identify as demisexual.

Erica Cameron: Although it has shifted across the spectrum over the years, I now identify as asexual, and I don’t see it changing again. At least not any time soon.

Claudie Arseneault: I’m asexual–not just the umbrella term, but the specific ID too. I don’t experience sexual attraction under any circumstances. Even aesthetic attraction is pretty foreign to me.

Destiny Soria: I identify as gray-romantic asexual.

3. How old were you when you discovered that you were this identity? How did you figure it out? Did you ever think you were a different identity in the past?

A.B. Rutledge: It’s been a few years since I first saw the term “demisexual” online and thought it fit. I was probably in my late 20s/early 30s. I never thought of myself as having a different identity before then. I just thought there was something wrong with me. It was such a relief to see that there was a term for it and that I wasn’t alone.

Sarah Viehmann: I was twenty years old when I first realized that the term ‘asexual’ fit me. I was taking a transgender literature class and the topic of sexual attraction came up. I realized that I had no idea what that was. I did lots of research online and found the ace community on tumblr, but it took a few months before I really got comfortable with it. Before that, I assumed I was straight, but in hindsight I can see that I never was.

Erica Cameron: I absolutely thought I was something else once, namely cishet and allosexual. In my early 20s, I even married the guy I’d been dating since high school. That was a very bad idea. A few years after we got married, we got divorced, and sex was one of the major factors in that incredibly messy and painful breakup. It wasn’t until several years after the divorce was finalized—and after months of therapy—that I even heard about asexuality. I was 29. Now, I only regret that I wasn’t able to learn about the orientation a decade or two sooner.

Claudie Arseneault: I was 100% convinced I was straight until … 24? When I ran into the term on tumblr. I got pretty excited at first, except the more I read, the less I felt like it fit! Looking back, I had a lot of impostor syndrome over not being queer enough, and already being in a relationship. Took me about eight months to fully embrace it. Much less than the two years it took for aromanticism!

Destiny Soria: -cue dramatic documentary music- From an early age, I always felt different from my peers. While everyone was experiencing first crushes and first kisses and first “other things” (I’m from small-town Alabama—you don’t talk about sex where I was raised), I never had any real interest. Sometimes I faked crushes so I wouldn’t feel left out, but secretly I couldn’t understand why anyone liked kissing. It’s just two people mashing their faces together! It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned more about the asexual and aromantic spectrums and began to realize that there was an identity that fit me.

4. Do you identify as anything else LGBTQIA+ related? If yes, when did you discover those parts of your identity? Was it before or after you figured out your asexuality?

Sarah Viehmann: I do know that I’m greyromantic, but anything more specific than that is difficult to pin down. I was comfortable with the asexual label before the question of my romantic orientation really occurred to me.

Erica Cameron: My romantic orientation is still a bit in flux. Right now, I’m leaning toward demiromantic, and the gender part of that orientation is a big question mark. For me, a lot of my realizations have come from different experiences and my relationships (romantic and platonic) with various people. I’ve only had one romantic relationship since my divorce, and that occurred during a time when I was pretty emotionally unstable. Without another experience to judge from, it’s hard for me to feel confident of this half of my orientation.

Claudie Arseneault: Aromantic. Some weird arospecness that falls between demi and lithromantic. I definitely figured that one out after, and through much unlearning and questioning and doubts.

5. What is the first book you read that you felt truly represented your asexuality? If you haven’t found this book yet, tell us about a book that had an ace-spec character and why you liked or disliked it.

A.B. Rutledge: I have yet to see a demi main character in a book (other than my own) but I did like the way asexuality was at least mentioned in a few books recently. I loved Every Heart a Doorway, though the ace rep was a bit brief. I also liked seeing the main character in Tash Hearts Tolstoy explain her identity to her friends.

Sarah Viehmann: The first was the audiobook for Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I was convinced I didn’t care about asexuality representation that much, but when Nancy explicitly said she was asexual, I teared up and realized that I cared about representation way more than I’d thought. The most thorough representation was definitely Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and I related to that book very much.

Kathryn Ormsbee: I had a friend recently recommend Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith, and I really enjoyed Smith’s exploration of sexuality and identity in a fantasy setting. The protagonist, Emras, identifies as elor, or asexual, and I found her to be a compelling and relatable character.

Claudie Arseneault: FOURTH WORLD, from Lyssa Chiavari. It has two acespec protagonists which HI YES HELLO. Isaak is demisexual, and Nadin is asexual and sex-repulsed. She goes through some shit with respect to being ace in a relationship with an allo partner that was almost word for word my experience. I had to put down the book from how much that hit home.

Destiny Soria: A couple years ago I was living with fellow YA author Kathryn Ormsbee (Hi Puffin!), and she let me read the manuscript of Tash Hearts Tolstoy. I knew it was about an asexual girl, but otherwise I wasn’t sure what to expect. Spoiler: I loved it. For the first time, I was reading about a character who felt the same way I did about sex. I never realized before how much I needed that connection. (I may or may not have sobbed through the last thirty pages.) I had convinced myself that sex was just a normal part of life, and there was no reason to expect that anyone would ever want to write or read about characters who weren’t interested in it. Tash showed me how wrong I was and how incredibly important representation is across all spectrums of identities.

6. Have you had any ace-spec characters in your book(s)? If yes, tell us a little about your character and your process in deciding to make the character ace-spec.

A.B. Rutledge: The main character in Miles Away from You is a sex positive demisexual. I knew going in that I wanted to have an on-the-page demi, but Miles is also someone who’s trying to figure out what that means for him. Content warning for Aces who don’t like to read about sex: there is a fair amount of sex in this book. Miles thinks that maybe having the right kind of sex with the right person will fix everything that’s troubling him, without realizing at first that that’s not actually what he needs or wants from a relationship.

Sarah Viehmann: Yes! My two main protagonists are ace-spec, but in different ways. My Snow White character, Nevea, is asexual and on the aromantic spectrum, and she’s also sex-repulsed. I decided to make her ace because I was interested in earlier versions of the fairy tale wherein the prince displays really creepy behavior, and I also thought that Nevea’s motivations for wanting to be with him had to be something other than romance. I also wanted to subvert the very sexual imagery in the Snow White fairy tale and make her asexual. My other protagonist, Pomona, is grey-sexual and grey-heteromantic. Due to a deadly curse that forbids her from touching anyone if she knows their name, she’s had a fairly secluded upbringing. So, the “reason” for her asexuality is different (though still valid!). She’s more interested in romance than Nevea, but doesn’t think it’s a possibility for her. There are other ace- and aro-spec characters throughout the series, but it’s most obvious in my two protagonists.

Kathryn Ormsbee: I have! Tash Zelenka, the protagonist of Tash Hearts Tolstoy, identifies as heteromantic asexual. I knew from the start that Tash was going to be asexual; she’s one of the few characters I’ve written who came to me fully-formed. I identify as demi, but I don’t share Tash’s identity, and it was so important to me to get the rep right. I researched as much as possible, I worked with a sensitivity reader who identifies like Tash, and I gave the book to other asexual readers for their input. Even then, I realize that every single person’s experience is different. I hope many ace readers will see themselves in Tash’s story, but I know there are plenty of others who will not. That’s why we need more ace rep in YA in general! I’m also writing other ace-spec characters into future works, and I’m excited to share those stories when the time comes.

Erica Cameron: Absolutely! Part of how I discovered asexuality actually involves my books and one of my characters. At 29, I was in the process of writing Deadly Sweet Lies, the sequel to my debut novel, and one of my narrators was causing some trouble. More than one of my readers wanted me to up the sexual tension between him and one of the other characters, but every time I tried to do that, everything felt wrong. Then a friend of mine said, “Well, right now it kind of reads like he’s asexual.” A light went on for me, and I realized they were right. I started doing a lot of research, and so much of what I found was like reading about my own life. It was my experiences and my relationships laid out for me on someone else’s website. I included a lot of that information and those realizations in Deadly, and ever since then I’ve promised myself I’d include at least one asexual-spectrum character in each series I write. It’s a promise I’ve kept, even if—like in the Laguna Tides series—the on-page confirmation of the character’s ID hasn’t happened yet.

Claudie Arseneault: *nervous laughter* I have a lot of them. Let’s see…

Henry Schmitt is the MC of Viral Airwaves, and kind of the Bilbo Baggins of his universe. He loves to stay home and safe, to eat his instant noodles and dream of better days for his tiny town and of hot air balloon flights. Henry is kind, a bit naive, and the kind of person who never loves things halfway (whether it’s his friends or food or hobbies).

Nevian is part of City of Strife’s main cast. He’s an apprentice to a rather abusive master. He’s dedicated (read stubborn) and blunt, and under all his hard layers there’s a teenager who really just wants a safe space to learn cool magic. He is also asexual, touch-averse, and sex-repulsed. These are all very clear identities for him, and in the second novel (City of Betrayal, out Oct. 22) I got a chance to explore how these combined with romantic attraction, and the slow build of a hurt/comfort relationship that didn’t involve tons of touching, hugging, squeezing, etc. As someone who prefers not to be hugged when I feel like shit, that was very validating and interesting to explore.

Cal is also part of City of Strife, and the aromantic and asexual cinnamon roll. He is a priest from Ren, Master of Luck, and someone aptly describes him as “the luckiest and most generous person in the city”. Cal is everybody’s friend, and in many ways he is my answer to the idea aromantic asexual people are cold, heartless loners.

There are others, both in City of Strife and scattered throughout my other stories (my next novel, Baker Thief, has a demisexual MC). One is in my Circuits & Slippers, an anthology of sci-fi retellings in which I have a story. It has an ace girl, Céline, and that story was a conduit for me to talk about sexual pressure and how it’s framed as obligatory to healthy relationships.

Most of the time, the process is not so much about making them ace-spec as deciding what part of the experience I want to represent. Are there tropes I want to answer to? Specific events or parts of the spectrum I want to shine a light on? And since I’m usually not writing about aceness as much as with aceness, how do I integrate these things into the story? It’s also important for me to keep up with more literary analysis of how aceness is used in fiction, because I find even ownvoices writers can easily reproduce structural narratives about aceness.

Destiny Soria: Alys, one of the main characters in Beneath the Citadel, is asexual, though it’s not a major plot point. Honestly, I put a lot of myself into Alys—way more than I intended while I was writing—and her asexuality just kind of happened as a natural part of her character.

7. If you haven’t written a book with an ace-spec character already, do you want to in the future? What would the character be like?

Sarah Viehmann: Well, I know I want to continue writing ace characters in the future, because there are so many different ways to be ace that I’d love to write more characters like that.

Claudie Arseneault: See previous answer. I’ll add, my current project, Baker Thief, has a demisexual woman as one of the two MC, and a lot of other aces. One of her police partner is a trans man who is also autochorissexual and who will have his own mini-series, and I’m looking forward to writing that. Plus the third tome in the City of Spires trilogy has some new exploration of Larryn’s gray-asexuality and the kind of shock it can be to suddenly experience attraction. I … have a lot of projects.

8. What is one misconception about asexuality that you can’t stand to hear?

A.B. Rutledge: I generally get pretty annoyed at the policing that happens within the queer community. It takes a lot of guts to be open about your sexuality, and it kills me when anyone’s voice gets silenced for not being ___enough.

Sarah Viehmann: I don’t like it when people confuse it for celibacy or something that I chose. I definitely didn’t choose to be ace, but there’s also nothing wrong with me for being ace.

Kathryn Ormsbee: The idea that being asexual means you are frigid or somehow emotionally deficient. Aro ace individuals especially have to contend with this stereotype, and it’s a perception that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve also seen that misconception seep into certain kinds of storytelling, where the one ace character is invariably a cold, calculating villain. Ace individuals deserve better representation than that.

Erica Cameron: Only one? There are a lot, but some of my least favorite are that asexuals are unemotional prudes, that we’re doomed to be alone forever, that we can’t possibly live happy and fulfilled lives without sex, that meeting the “right person” will suddenly make us see “what we’ve been missing”…

Claudie Arseneault: That it means not wanting sex. Look, a ton of ace people don’t want sex, that’s true! But that isn’t what asexuality is about, and saying so erases a whole subset of aces. Furthermore, it ties our orientation to our behaviour, and that’s how you get assholes saying aces are basically straight people who don’t want sex, and that we shouldn’t be part of the queer community.

Destiny Soria: That aces don’t find other people attractive. Every asexual person is different, obviously, but I for one take great pleasure in the aesthetic beauty of certain humans (young Harrison Ford stole my heart at an early age and never lost it).

9. What do you wish all people could understand about asexuality?

A.B. Rutledge: We’re not cold, heartless robots and we’re not broken.

Sarah Viehmann: It’s 100% possible for people to be happy without sex and/or romance! I don’t appreciate it when people talk to aces and aros like we should be pitied. Most of us are quite happy how we are!

Kathryn Ormsbee: I think the more we talk about sexuality in terms of a spectrum, the better understanding we can achieve. If all aspects of sexuality, from orientation to expression to attraction, exist on a spectrum, then the ace spec makes perfect sense. I think a big issue is that there simply isn’t enough asexual education or representation out there.

Erica Cameron: There isn’t one way people experience asexuality, so making assumptions based on pretty much anything you think you know about the orientation is a bad idea. We all have different comfort levels with sex (both talking about it and participating in it), and different perceptions of it. Asking, if you’re comfortable enough with someone who’s on the asexual spectrum to do so, is the only way to know anything for sure.

Claudie Arseneault: Not experiencing attraction has deep ripples in my life. It’s a core element of who I am and, again, I’m not “just straight minus the sex”. This affected how I related to other beings, how I approached potential romantic relationships, how I interacted with clearly allosexual friends in my teens (I felt off and different and weird), etc. I don’t think people understand how deeply being an asexual person evolving in an allonormative world changes you.

Destiny Soria: That it’s not a deficit. We’re not “missing” anything. The way some people act, you’d think sex was as vital as oxygen or water. -insert eye roll emoji here-

10. Have you come out to anyone (either online or in real life)? What was your experience(s) like?

A.B. Rutledge: I don’t talk about it much in real life, but I do mention it on Twitter fairly often. One of the things I love is that literally every time I post something that gives a clear definition of demisexuality, a new person will randomly message me and go, “Whoa, thank you for posting that. It sounds just like me.”

Sarah Viehmann: I came out online first, and that’s been a fairly good experience so far. I’m out to my brother, a cousin, and my colleagues in real life, and though I’m trying to be more open about it as a rule, I’m still selective about who I’m out to. I’ve had bad experiences of coming out to coworkers in the past who then looked at me like I had six heads, but thankfully my current work environment is a positive one.

Erica Cameron: I’ve been coming out over and over again for the last three years, and each reaction is different. I’ve gotten incredulity from some people (“But, like, are you sure? Weren’t you married?”). Others have been more worried (“Aren’t you afraid you’ll be alone? A relationship without sex won’t be the same.”). Most of the support I’ve gotten has come from online friends and the YA community, and I’m incredibly grateful for everyone I’ve met there. In the real world, it’s much riskier to talk about. I always brace myself for an argument or to at least to spend the entire conversation justifying my identity, orientation, and—sometimes—my intelligence and self-awareness.

Destiny Soria: I’ve come out to a few friends “irl”, and they were extremely supportive. I don’t even think any of them were surprised. Apparently they were tipped off by my repeated demands over the years for someone to explain to me what was so great about kissing—you know, for science. (Still haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer. @ me.)

11. Do you have any advice for people who are questioning whether or not they’re on the ace spectrum?

A.B. Rutledge: Labels are great if you want them, but you’re not required to have them or keep them forever if they don’t suit you.

Sarah Viehmann: For one thing, it’s okay not to be totally sure! The labels are for your use only, and you don’t have to feel bad if nothing fits you exactly. You’re still valid! It’s also okay if you change labels over time; that doesn’t mean you were lying or wrong, just that you were still growing and figuring things out. Also, don’t confuse discomfort with affection for asexuality—they might be connected, but the only criteria for being ace is a lack of sexual attraction. We’re a friendly community! If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Kathryn Ormsbee: You can take your time and figure out things at your own pace, for however long you need. You’re not alone, and you can find great resources and communities online; I’d recommend starting with AVEN (asexuality.org). No matter what conclusions you reach or where this journey takes you, remember that your experience is valid, and you are infinitely valuable.

Erica Cameron: Take your time, and accept that your identity may change. Outside influences may impact your life and your personality in a huge way in some years. Other times, it’s simply your understanding of yourself that changes. Either way, it’s fine. When I first identified on the asexuality spectrum, I leaned toward demisexual. After a year, my understanding had adjusted, and graysexual began to feel more accurate. Another year, and I’ve embraced the ID of asexual. Change is a part of life, and this applies even when we’re talking about orientation.

Claudie Arseneault: Take your time. You do not have to figure it now. You may not even need a precise word! If you’re unsure, follow ace-spec people who talk about it regularly, seek out those who enjoy sharing their experiences. I’m a lurker by nature, so often I just find an array of different voices and listen until I know if it fits me or not.

Destiny Soria: Don’t feel pressured to label yourself if you don’t want to. And if you identified as ace in the past but don’t think you are anymore (or vice versa), that’s totally fine! It doesn’t mean you were wrong or lying before. Humans are complex and ever-changing. You’re valid and amazing just the way you are. ❤

12. Do you have any advice for writers who are considering writing about ace-spec characters?

A.B. Rutledge: Same as with any marginalized character: use sensitivity readers and don’t make their marginalization the reason they do questionable things.

Sarah Viehmann: If you are not ace yourself, you should talk to ace people and get ace sensitivity readers. People assume ace characters are easy to write because they “just don’t like sex,” but that isn’t always true, and this mentality can make it easy to trip into some hurtful stereotypes, such as the awkward robot, the frigid plant, or the social recluse. Asexual and aromantic people aren’t sociopathic or sick or villains, so stop trying to present us that way. If you approach the character with good intentions and an open mind, however, you’ll be off to a much better start.

Kathryn Ormsbee: I believe that good writing in general begins with empathy. You cannot create multi-dimensional, well-developed characters unless you research thoroughly and put yourselves in their shoes. When it comes to writing ace-spec characters, I think it’s vital to research the history of asexuality as an identity, to familiarize yourself with different asexual experiences, to read other published ace narratives, and to consult with ace individuals—especially readers. Also, recognize your limits. Asexuality covers a broad range of personalities and experiences, and not every ace reader will identify with your particular story. What’s most important is that you write your ace-spec characters—whether they be primary, secondary, or tertiary—from a well-informed and deeply empathetic place.

Erica Cameron: Please do not use sex as a fix, and please don’t make the physical consummation of a romantic relationship the pinnacle of their bond. Asexual characters can absolutely be involved in a sexual relationship, but it should be only a small element of how two people are bound together, not the whole of it. Also, ask questions and do your research. Use resources online (like the Coming Up Aces column I run on Queership), and make sure you get multiple ace-spec readers before the book is published. One person’s opinion definitely isn’t enough, because what one person views as offensive or hurtful might exactly match another person’s experience. It’s incredibly important to understand the potential pitfalls and problem areas of a story before it’s thrown out into the world. It’s also crucial that you remember something else—there aren’t so many examples of asexual characters in fiction that we can afford to have even a handful of harmful representation. The damage it could do is incalculable.

Claudie Arseneault: More than can reasonably fit in an interview, haha. Research. A ton. Research the tropes (no villains, no robots, no aliens), research the narratives (the exile, the death, the allo saviour). And read books by ace-spec authors writing ace-spec characters. Not only will it give you insight in how we do it–in how unique our voices are–but it will also give you people to promote and support alongside your own work.

Destiny Soria: Doooo it. The more the merrier! But do your research and strongly consider hiring some sensitivity readers, especially if you’re writing outside your lane.


Stay tuned for Day 5 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality where I’ll be wrapping up the blog series by sharing resources, a poem written by an ace-spec person about asexuality, and my closing thoughts!

If you enjoyed this post – or any others from this blog series – please consider supporting me by “buying me coffee” through Ko-fi by clicking the image below!

Ko-fi

 

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 3: Diverse Ace Experiences

Day 3 Header

Hello everyone and welcome to Day 3 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality – my five day blog series about asexuality! If you missed the previous posts, click here for Day 1’s post and click here for Day 2’s post.

Today, I’m very excited to welcome 10 members of the book community that identify somewhere on the asexual spectrum! Since not every person experiences asexuality the same way, I thought it was important to include as many different ace-spec voices as possible.


The Guests:

Before we get into the question and answer portion of this post, let me introduce you to my guests. Don’t forget to support them by checking out their blogs, booktube channels, and other links!

Abby

Abby’s Links: Twitter Tumblr Website

Leah Karge

Leah’s Links: Blog Twitter | Ko-fi | Paypal

Kav

Kav’s Links: Booktube | Twitter | Instagram

Shenwei

Shenwei’s Links: Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Liv

Liv’s Links: Main Blog | Second Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Ko-fi

Jill

Jill’s Links: Blog Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr

Kaeley

Kaeley’s Links: Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Taylor

Taylor’s Links: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

Julie

Julie’s Links: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Patreon | Ko-fi | QuietYA | Blogbound Con | Pique Beyond | YA Interrobang

Mikayla

Mikayla’s Links: Blog | Twitter | Podcast | Ko-fi


Questions & Answers

1. Introduce yourself! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you’re involved in the book community.

Abby: Hi there. I’m Abby, and I’ve loved books my whole life. I’m an aspiring author and I’ve gotten more active in the book community on Twitter and tumblr in the past few years. I’ve tried my hand at book blogging/book reviewing, but I haven’t been able to keep up with it. College and now a full time job kind of messed that up. But I support all writers when and where I can.

Leah: Hi, my name is Leah and I use they/them pronouns! I run the blog Small Queer, Big Opinions, where I review books of all genres and age groups. Occasionally, I’ll put together recommendation lists or participate in blog memes. I’m also active on twitter at @nickyoflaherty! I love being able to interact with people from within the book community on there, whether it’s sharing recs, discussing rep, gushing about books we loved, and so much more. I’ve met some amazing friends there! Also, I am a beta reader and CP for a few different authors, some of whom I met through the twitter book community.

Kav: Hi! I’m Kav, a 16-year old booktuber and co-host of Prideathon who has been part of the book community for about a year and a half now. My channel primarily focuses on book hauls, tags, reviews, and diversity discussions. I’m also pretty active on both book twitter and bookstagram and I just generally love interacting with fellow book lovers.

Shenwei: Hi, my name is Shenwei (they/them pronouns) and I’m an avid reader of middle grade and young adults books. I blog at readingasiam.wordpress.com, using my degree in Asian American studies and background in queer communities of color to critically analyze issues of representation in fiction. I also post bookstagram pictures at Instagram.com/theshenners.

Liv: Hello there! My name is Liv, and I’m a 16 year old book blogger at curlyhairbibliophile.wordpress.com. I’m also a co-blogger at arcticbooks.wordpress.com. Besides books, I’m also involved in theatre both in and out of school. If you can’t tell, I love to stay busy.

Jill: Hiii I’m Jill! I’m 17 years old, I live in the United States, and I’ve been blogging for over 3 years now! I began on Instagram, and gradually began to spend more time on Twitter and make my own blog! (abooknerdreads.wordpress.com) These days I’m really for advocating diverse books across all platforms of blogging, I love getting the word out how important it is to promote diverse perspectives ❤

Kaeley: Hello all! I’m Kaeley from Spoilers May Apply. I also have an Instagram and a Twitter. I love to connect with fellow booklovers who want to discuss endlessly so hmu I’ll respond for sure!

Taylor: Hello! My name is Taylor Tracy and I am a blogger at Stay on the Page (stayonthepage.wordpress.com)! I also pair books with LUSH bath bombs every Friday which you can find on my Twitter (@tayberryjelly) and my Instagram @taysbathsandbooks. I am also a writer currently querying my YA contemporary novel.

Julie: I’m Julie and I have hands in a lot of YA pies! I started as a book blogger and things quickly spiraled out of control – I created #quietYA, co-founded Blogbound Con, write at YA Interrobang, write at Pique Beyond, work as a freelance editor and publicist, and I’m getting pretty into the bookstagram community…so basically books are my everything. I still blog for fun sometimes, I’m a little obsessed with my cats, and I’m a complete bullet journal convert.

Mikayla: I’m Mikayla. I’m currently working on my master’s degree in aerospace engineering. In my (extremely limited) free time I live-tweet reading speculative fiction books for ace and aro representation, and discuss how representation can be improved.

2. Where do you fall on the asexual spectrum?

Abby: Pretty sure I’m solid ace. I don’t know if I’m gray-a. I guess I’m ace until proven demi?

Leah: I identify as demisexual! Which, for me, and many others, means that I need to form some kind of close, emotional attachment to a person before I am attracted to them at all. So I tend to fall for my (best) friends.

Kav: I’m pretty much as ace as one can get. I identify as asexual and am not interested in sex at all.

Shenwei: I am gray ace/demisexual.

Liv: On the asexual spectrum, I identify closely with demisexual. Most of the time I use the umbrella term of ‘ace’ just because it’s easy to say for others.

Jill: As for the asexual spectrum, I fall right on asexual! I believe sexuality is fluid, so I say I’m ace, but in the future I could be demisexual, or even sexual, who knows!

Kaeley: I’m a biromantic grey ace.

Taylor: I am demibiromantic asexual, so I identify as aro-spec as well as ace-spec.

Julie: I’m demisexual and questionably-heteroromantic, maybe biromantic? Jury’s still out on that one.

Mikayla: I have never experienced sexual attraction.

3. How old were you when you discovered that you were this identity? How did you figure it out? Did you ever think you were a different identity in the past?

Abby: Well. When I was in middle school, I called myself an “intellexual,” because I didn’t understand the appeal of sex. Come high school, I still didn’t understand it. When I finally found a word for it, I realized I wasn’t a freak or broken. I was just ace. I mean, I guess I thought I was heterosexual because I was interested in guys and all people are supposed to want sex, right?

Leah: I was about 22 when I first started figuring it out—I’m 24 right now—but I was 23 when I finally realized that demi was the best fit for me. The idea that I might be ace spec first started percolating in my brain when I was reading a draft of 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright, which I’ve done several beta reads for, as there’s an asexual character—Braeden. I didn’t realize what was happening at first, but I just knew Braeden was one of my favorites from the very beginning. It still didn’t quite click in my head yet, until I did beta reading on PART & PARCEL for Abigail Roux and then did another read of 27 HOURS. Finally, it clicked in my head that maybe I felt these ace spec characters were personally relatable because I might be ace spec too. I’d been on tumblr for a few years at this point, so I knew of other resources where I could do research and figure myself out. Summer of 2016 is when I finally settled on demisexual, and as someone who loves having labels for their identity, it was an absolute relief to finally have a word for my feelings.

Kav: I can’t pinpoint exactly when I figured out my identity, but I do know it was during the end of my freshman year/beginning of my sophomore year of high school, so I was either 14 or 15. I never particularly identified as something different, when I was first introduced to LGBTQIAP+ community I identified as panromantic, but I never identified with a different sexual orientation.

Shenwei: It took me until I was about 22 or 23 to figure out my ace identity. I didn’t have the language and the awareness of asexuality as a teen, and for a long time I identified as straight (as well as cisgender).

Liv: I started identifying as demisexual around 14 years old. In fifth grade, I remember my friends all being boy-obsessed. I didn’t understand why they were obsessed with these guys so much; they all told me that it was impossible that I didn’t have a crush. In my head, I always just thought that I wasn’t ‘normal’. I started watching the youtuber Evan Edinger in early 9th grade. He made a video about his demisexuality and described almost exactly what I felt. I began to do my research about it, and that is how I came to identify as demisexual! 🙂

Jill: I was 16 when I discovered my identity from Twitter, where I found a wonderful community. I took a few quizzes (oops) and used Tumblr posts to determine my sexuality. When I found the term “aromantic asexual” everything just. . .clicked. I knew I was different my whole life, as I shrugged off crushes, flirting, dating—I didn’t have interest in it. Now I call myself aro/ace and I feel so happy.

Kaeley: I was 23. Basically I started seeing the word asexual on my timeline a lot, and I didn’t know what it was. So I looked it up and read about it and realized it was a good explanation for a lot of my behavior in the past. I didn’t have much interest in sex, but I loved holding hands and hugging and cuddling and dating and being in a relationship. I just thought I was hetero in the past.

Taylor: I figured out I was ace when I was 20. I had thought I was bisexual since I was 12, mostly because I was ignorant to the other possibilities that were out there. I knew there was gay, straight and bisexual, but I didn’t know about anything else. So I was unhappy with labeling myself as bi, but didn’t really feel like I had a choice. That all changed in June 2015 when I was at a book panel for a bunch of queer authors in New Jersey. One of them started talking about how her feelings had started changing when she was a teenager in terms of like finding them sexually attractive. I don’t know what it was, but a bell went off in my head. I remember looking around and feeling like everyone else was in on some joke that I was missing. I realized that I didn’t have those feelings and started to panic, thinking there was something wrong with me. I went home that night and googled “not wanting to have sex” which brought me to the Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN). I scrolled around on their site for a bit and came to the conclusion, that yeah, this term “asexual,” it really fit me. I never turned back.

Julie: I knew vaguely about asexuality when I was in high school, but didn’t feel like that really fit me. I didn’t hear about demisexuality until I was 19 or 20 and reading that things just…clicked. The only crushes I had were guys I was friendly with and even then it was sort of a take it or leave it situation, but I wasn’t uninterested in sex. I’d thought I was just a weird straight person but demisexuality has always just felt right.

Mikayla: I figured out that being ace was a thing I could be when I was 19. I know I was insisting that I wasn’t interested as early at 10, but for the longest time I didn’t know there was a name for what I was, or that it was a thing I could be.

4. Do you identify as anything else LGBTQIA+ related? If yes, when did you discover those parts of your identity? Was it before or after you figured out your asexuality?

Abby: I’m heteroromantic-borderline-biromantic. But in reality, I’m a paranoid-romantic. As in, I want a romantic partner but I’m too afraid to actually pursue one/get involved in the off chance someone is interested. I figured that part out pretty recently actually.

Leah: Along with demisexual/demiromantic, I also identify as bisexual/biromantic and demigirl (they/them). I realized I’m bisexual when I was 19 (thank you, Rosario Dawson in RENT), and it was probably about a year or so ago (22 or 23?) when I realized that, for me, that means all-around attraction to women and enbies, and aesthetic attraction to men. For demigirl, it was earlier this year–April 2017 and 24 years old—that I realized demigirl fits best for my gender identity, though I’d been wondering for a while previously whether I was Cis or Not™.

Kav: Yes I do! I identify as biromantic and non-binary/gender-fluid as well. As I stated in the first question, I originally identified as panromantic, but earlier this year learned that I feel more comfortable with the biromantic label. So technically I identified as asexual first, but I knew I liked multiple genders romantically before that. I also identified as non-binary/gender-fluid before identifying as asexual. I figured out my gender during mid-freshman year, so it wasn’t too soon before figuring out my asexuality, but I did fall into my gender identity first.

Shenwei: I’m non-binary/genderqueer/genderfluid, bi/pan and demiromantic/gray aromantic. I first figured out that I was non-binary, and then rest came later. Exploring my gender definitely opened me up to exploring other aspects of myself.

Liv: No, I’m only hetero-romantic demisexual.

Jill: I also identify as aromantic, meaning I experience no romantic attraction in addition to no sexual attraction.

Kaeley: Nope. I always assumed I was hetero.

Taylor: I also still identify pretty strongly as bi, but instead of bisexual it’s now biromantic. I discovered that way earlier, beginning when I was around 12. I’m also demiromantic, which means I’m not romantically attracted to people until I have an emotional connection to them.

Julie: As I mentioned, I considered myself straight before I knew about demisexuality, and that’s still where I fall. For simplicity, sometimes I’ll just call myself ace and I do sometimes refer to myself as queer, but generally only when I’m trying to remind people that aces are queer, otherwise I don’t really feel personally comfortable with it yet.

Mikayla: I am aromantic, which I figured out at the same time I figured out I was asexual. I am also non-binary, which I just figured out this year.

5. What is the first book you read that you felt truly represented your asexuality? If you haven’t found this book yet, tell us about a book that had an ace-spec character and why you liked or disliked it.

Abby: Haven’t found it yet. But I am 98% sure Felicity from Mackenzi Lee’s GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is ace. And she’s an intellectual badass and snark master. You don’t need to be hypersexual to be awesome.

Leah: As I mentioned in a previous answer, the first books I read in which I felt represented were 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright and PART & PARCEL by Abigail Roux. Neither of them fit perfectly—they’re more like an oversized, comfy sweater that I like to wear because it makes me feel good, but it doesn’t fit correctly. The book where I actually felt the best represented was FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… by Anne Tenino and E.J. Russell, where the main character is grey-asexual. The novel starts out a little rough with some amisic language, but the rep of the ace spec character was really spot on to me, and the development of the feelings and romance was something that I could personally relate to.

Kav: This is a tough question because I’ve read so few books with asexual main characters. In all honesty, I have to say that Braeden from 27 Hours is the asexual character I most identify with. I understand that many don’t agree with that as he tends to fit into the ace stereotype and that is valid, but I also tend to fit into some ace stereotypes – I make jokes about being ace/sex, etc. I completely respect the people that don’t identify with him and don’t find his representation to be ideal, but his character came to me in a time where I needed it and I have held him close to my heart since. I can also say that an upcoming release I am beyond excited for is Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kahn. This YA novel features a biromantic asexual main character which I am, so I have high hopes that I might find my ideal representation in that one.

Shenwei: I haven’t found a book that strongly resonates with my experience, partially because there isn’t a lot of ace rep to begin with and also because most of the stories I’ve come across feature white protagonists. My experiences as an Asian/Asian American color my experience as an ace person. Intersectional identities have their own nuances, and I haven’t read a book with those nuances yet. My most recent read featuring an asexual main character is Tash Hearts Tolstoy. I enjoyed the cast of characters and their dynamic. I thought the ace rep was handled well except for some issues with the terminology, with romantic being used instead of alloromantic to describe Tash.

Liv: I have only ever read one book with a confirmed ace character and it was Tash Hearts Tolstoy. I instantly fell in love with THS. Although I am not asexual, I did see a lot of Tash in myself.

Jill: TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY. TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY. TASH HEARTS TOLSTOY. This book makes me squeal with joy. Tash is only heteromantic asexual, but the ace rep is FANTASTIC! I felt so represented! Mackenzi Lee is writing a novel about an aro/ace MC, I’m excited for that!

Kaeley: Well the first book I read with asexual rep was Every Heart A Doorway. The book that represents me quite well is Tash Hearts Tolstoy. How she discovered her identity is largely how I did. I didn’t like a book a lot, but not because of representation.

Taylor: The first time I read any book with any ace-spec representation was Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. One of the main characters, Aled, is demisexual. I don’t think I’ve found that book that *truly* represents my asexuality, but an ace character I really loved is Braeden from 27 Hours by Tristina Wright.

Julie: I’ve read very few books with ace MCs so far and none of them are on-page demisexual. I’ve really loved and related to Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and Let’s Take About Love by Claire Kann. I also really liked how Every Heart a Doorway tackled asexuality.

Mikayla: I haven’t found a book that I felt really represents my experience of being ace yet. I really do like Chameleon Moon as a book that has ace characters. Even though it doesn’t reflect my experience, it is nice to see a book with multiple ace characters who interact and are supported in their asexuality.

6. What type of book would you especially like to see have an ace-spec main character?

Abby: Any book. Fantasy. Sci-fi. Contemporary. ANYTHING. Any book, any genre. As long as the MC isn’t portrayed (or thought of) as broken. Because they’re not.

Leah: All books! But I’d like to see more in sci-fi and fantasy. I feel like more ace spec characters are finally popping up in contemporary books, so I’d love to see more in SFF. Also! I am always on the lookout for more queer historicals, so I would absolutely welcome ace spec characters in that genre as well.

Kav: This is a tough one. I know that I would love to see more middle-grade and YA novels with ace-spec characters, so that young children may have an easier time discovering their identity and being comfortable with it.

Shenwei: I want a fantasy YA with an asexual main character that isn’t Clariel. (I love the Old Kingdom series, but Clariel’s fate as an evil necromancer was basically the worst ace trope of them all.) Of course, because I’m a writer, I’ve been working on creating fantasy with ace characters myself.

Liv: I’d love to see a historical fiction with some ace-spec characters! I know Mackenzi Lee’s new book will have an aro-ace character, and I would definitely love to see more.

Jill: I’d love to see ace-spec in any kind of story, it can be fantasy, historical, or contemporary! I think we should normalize the idea that not every one is looking for sex or a relationship no matter what time or place.

Kaeley: I would love to see someone who discovers they’re asexual in a relationship.

Taylor: I really want to see more ace-spec main characters in fluffy YA contemporary books.

Julie: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how there aren’t many books where the main character discovers they’re asexual and I think that’s a really important part of the process that’s also kind of tricky and it’d be great to see YA books show that process.

Mikayla: I want to see more secondary-world fantasy stories with ace characters in them. Stories that actually use the label, and where asexuality is seen as normal and known and accepted.

7. What is one misconception about asexuality that you can’t stand to hear?

Abby: “Oh, you just haven’t met the right person yet” or “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.” It makes me grind my teeth. I hate it.

Leah: Basically all the jokes that people make about plant reproduction. And the assumptions that we’re cold and don’t have, or want, relationships simply because we 1. either don’t experience sexual attraction or 2. we (typically) won’t immediately jump into a sexual relationship with someone.

Kav: There’s no one misconception that I can’t stand, but I do hate any misconceptions that try to “simplify” asexuality. For example, beliefs like “all asexual people never have sex” or “all asexuals are sex-repulsed” or “asexual people just haven’t found the right person yet” (okay that one is probably the one I hate the most because it’s just untrue). As for the first two, it frustrates me when people say “all asexual people” as asexuality is a spectrum and not everyone who identifies on the spectrum is the same, just like all pansexual people aren’t the same or all trans people aren’t the same, etc.

Shenwei: I hate the idea that ace people are incomplete if they haven’t had sexual experience. Even before figuring out I was ace, this kind of thinking always bothered me as someone who simply wasn’t as interested in sex as the so-called “average person.”

Liv: One misconception that I hear about asexuality is that ace people aren’t able to be in relationships or get married. That is totally 100% false! Every ace person is different. Some aces are okay with some things in relationships and other aces aren’t. Dating or marrying an ace is as simple as asking what they want/expect and respecting it. (Psst: That tip should cover all relationships too).

Jill: With asexual discourse, I HATE so many things that are simple misunderstandings. Mostly that ignorant people shrug it off as “when you’re older” or “you’re just not in love yet” but what I despise most is LGBTQ people turning their backs on aros and aces. BE SUPPORTIVE, we will support you too.

Kaeley: There’s something wrong with people who are asexual, or they don’t exist. It grinds my gear when people imply you have to have sex to have a loving relationship. Excuse me, I’m in a loving relationship.

Taylor: I hate the stereotype that we’re all cold, logical, prudes. Like NO. My ace friends and I are so diverse and have so many different types of people in it. Our community is full of loving, awesome people and we are not all like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Julie: One really irritating misconception is that there’s no interest in sex or romance. For some aces, that’s true – they may be sex repulsed or they maybe be aroace – but that misconception really hindered me from even considering I could be on the spectrum before seeing the demisexual definition. It’s a genuine spectrum with so many variables and variants, enough that I’m not always sure we should all be under the asexual umbrella.

Mikayla: I hate when people assume that asexuality is the same as celibacy. It is often used to invalidate asexuality as a sexual orientation, and it erases those aces who are sexually active.

8. What do you wish all people could understand about asexuality?

Abby: That we don’t have anything wrong with us. Not all people want sex, and that’s okay. Some people only have sex in a relationship, for pregnancy, or for physical pleasure when they feel like it. It’s a spectrum for a reason, and none of us are broken. And some of us have crude senses of humor, ship characters sexually, write sex scenes, watch porn… some out of curiosity, some for release, some for writing research. In my experience, there are plenty of ace people who are curious about or think about sex, just not for themselves. They can’t picture themselves in that situation, and don’t want to be in that situation anyway. So even if you think about sex, it doesn’t mean you’re not ace

Leah: There are so many different kinds of asexuality and it manifests differently for everybody. I have several friends who are also on the ace spectrum, and none of us are exactly the same, even if we use the same ID.

Kav: I wish people just realized that’s it’s a real thing. Often, people are extremely insensitive about asexuality (i.e. the “asexual people just haven’t found the right person” comment or “you’re asexual does that mean you’re a plant”). Asexuality is a real sexual orientation on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum and within asexuality itself there is a spectrum, so no two asexual people are the same and if someone tells you they’re asexual, they really are.

Shenwei: It’s as normal as being allosexual and doesn’t need to be fixed. And that behavior (having sex) and desire (wanting sex) are not the same as attraction. Those things get conflated all the time and used to invalidate people’s identity.

Liv: I wish people could understand that I’m not broken if I don’t want to have sex. I’ve gotten really insensitive comments from crushes, friends, and friends of crushes relating to my demisexuality.

Jill: I wish people would understand that I’m. . .normal. It’s not strange for me to not feel emotions or romantic love or attraction. It was never there, and it’ll probably never be there. Nothing was taken from me, I just live without it.

Kaeley: We’re really not that different than everyone. Just because you like sex or/and romance doesn’t mean everyone has to.

Taylor: I wish that people could understand that asexuality is not part of a binary about wanting to have sex. It’s not like people who are allo want to have sex and people who are ace don’t want to have sex. It’s a lot more complicated than that and misses the point of what asexuality is. People who are asexual just lack a consistent experience of sexual attraction. It says nothing about whether we actually have sex or not. Many of us do. It says nothing about libido or sexual desire. I wish people would understand that we’re not just some curious group of people that never wants to have sex, because that’s a really warped understanding of what asexuality actually is.

Mikayla: I wish people would understand that asexuality is a spectrum. That there is no one way to be ace, and that that is ok. We aren’t broken or wrong for being ace, and being ace isn’t a tragedy or something to be fixed.

9. Have you come out to anyone (either online or in real life)? What was your experience(s) like?

Abby: Yeah. My friends are all pretty supportive. My parents, on the other hand… They’re the ones who “hope I find the right person” or feel like, if I never have sex, I’m not going to lead a full life. Mom wants grandchildren, I’m sure. But both of them want me to be happy, and they think by me not wanting/having sex, I’m not living life to its true potential. I had a poem published in two school magazines. One was the Women’s Center publication, the Femellectual. I was told that the staff “have a special place in their hearts” for my poem, and I was elated. My parents were thrilled… until they actually read the poem. They called it depressing. And I shrunk back. A few weeks later, I got a private message from someone who read one of my school’s publications. They came across my poem unexpectedly, and decided to reach out. They said that they messaged me because they “really needed me to know how much they appreciate and love it.” I was so touched. It really showed that my writing can mean something to people. I told my parents, who then said “Oh, yeah. That poem was depressing.”

Leah: I came out online immediately after figuring it out because I knew my social media communities would be really supportive, and they were! On National Coming Out Day 2016, I made a long post on facebook about my queer identity, though it’s a bit inaccurate now, and people I know IRL were supportive.

Kav: Yes, I have come out a number of times. I’m lucky enough that I already knew my identity when I joined the book community, so I have never had to come out to anyone online as it has been public information for over a year now, but I have come out to quite a few people in real life. I was fortunate that all of my coming out experiences have gone quite well, though I have gotten some uncomfortable questions that I did not want to answer. Outside of that, it has been pretty easy for me – I usually come out all at once, by which I mean I come out with my romantic and sexual orientation and gender identity all at the same time, so people are usually most confused by my gender. If I do come out as just ace, it’s usually because I make an ace joke and that doesn’t really result in anything negative.

Shenwei: I’m sort of out online on Twitter. I say sort of because my ace identity isn’t usually the first one I highlight, but I’m not closeted either. When it comes up, I’ll talk about it. Because I’ve found other aces online, I don’t feel alone. However, I do routinely have to speak up when well-intentioned allies say things that misrepresent what asexuality is about.

Liv: I’m pretty open about it on my Twitter, but I keep it pretty hush-hush in real life due to my answer above. Most of the friends I have told in real life have always been really accepting and loving of it.

Jill: So, coming out. . .I’m out to all of my real life friends (at least, the ones that trust and understand me.) and of course my online friends were the first to know, along with my Twitter followers! As for my family. . .well, I’m out to my sister, but the rest of my family is unaware. I don’t tell most people I’m aro/ace, frankly cause it’s too much work explaining it just to not be taken seriously.

Kaeley: I have to my partner and one friend. Neither made a big deal out of it and it was fine. My partner basically said, “Well that makes sense.” And my friend had already heard of asexual people so she was way chill about it. I’m one of the lucky ones. I know that’s not everyone’s experience and that’s really sad, but understand there are people who will love, accept, and believe you.

Taylor: I am not out to my family and I probably never will be because they’re really conservative. I am out to all of my friends and on my Twitter page. I’m really lucky. I haven’t had any negative responses coming out. I’ve experienced occasional amisia from strangers on the Internet but not really from anyone I’m close to.

Julie: I’m very out online and most people are lovely. The more I talk about it online, the more people who I already know who seem to mention they’re also ace – there’s a pretty big community in the YA book world. In real life, I’ve only come out to a couple of friends and they don’t fully understand, but they’re very supportive and know I don’t mind answering questions or explaining it again.

Mikayla: I have come out to many people, both online and offline. Usually coming out requires a vocabulary lesson and explanation, and quite often people don’t believe that it is real. It has been getting better over the years though. These days I encounter more people who know what I’m talking about, although these are still far too few.

10. Do you have any advice for people who are questioning whether or not they’re on the ace spectrum?

Abby: Sexuality is fluid. It can change. If you feel like you’re on the ace spectrum, you’re among friends. If you discover somewhere down the line that your “ace-ness” has changed, you’re still among friends. If you prefer not to label yourself, you’re still among friends. And you are not broken if you aren’t interested in having sex. It’s taken me so long to realize that. If I can help you realize that even a smidge faster, I’m content.

Leah: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to try on different labels until you find one that fits. There will be people, both outside of the queer community and within, who will tell you that you’re not queer enough, but there are far more people who will be there for you, back you up, offer you support, and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Just be you.

Kav: My biggest piece of advice would be not to rush it. Don’t force yourself to settle into an identity because you think you have to – there’s no “right” way to be asexual or to identify or to come out. If you feel like you’re asexual, then you are. If you don’t, then you aren’t. And you can take as long as you need to figure it out.

Shenwei: It’s okay to change how you identify because your understanding of yourself evolves, and people are also dynamic. No matter what your experiences are, your aceness is valid if you claim that label. There are a lot of stereotypical narratives about asexuality that may lead you to think you’re not *really* ace but there is diversity within the spectrum, and deviation from the stereotype doesn’t make you not ace! Any “definitions” of asexuality are there to help you figure out yourself and not for other people to use to decide whether you are really what you say you are. You can keep and discard whatever you like from those definitions based on what works and makes sense for you.

Liv: Talk to fellow aces. Ask them about their experiences and opinions. One tip someone once told me is this: if you are questioning if you’re a certain identity, more than likely you are that. 🙂

Jill: My advice to possibly ace-spec is. . .Don’t tell yourself “maybe I’ve just not felt attraction yet” this could be true, but chances are, that attraction might never come and you’ll be questioning your whole life. Reach out to the ace community (I’m on Instagram @booknerd_reads or Twitter @booknerd_jill) we are kind and would love to help you! Most of all, I feel comfortable with labels, but not everyone does and remember not to define yourself by them 🙂

Kaeley: Read up on it. There are lots of resources out there and there’s lots of people who have written threads on Twitter on it. If you don’t know, that’s OK. Don’t worry about it. I went back and forth for a while before deciding to accept the label. No one is pressuring you to do anything. Do what’s best for you.

Taylor: My advice is that the only person who can determine who you are and what you’re into (or not into) is you. My advice is to explore all of the labels out there and to pick the one that works best for you. It might take some time, but you deserve the label that makes the most sense for you!

Julie: Personally, if you’re questioning it, maybe talk to people you know who are open about their identity and ask questions. Do some googling (though carefully since you never know what you’ll find that’s questionable). And if it feels right and you want to claim the label, claim it. If you realize down the line that it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine and doesn’t hurt anybody else; labels change and you’re allowed to decide a label that did work no longer does.

Mikayla: Listen and talk to ace people. Many of us are happy to talk with questioning people, and there is a lot of writing out there of aces discussing a whole variety of experiences. And don’t be afraid to take your time figuring yourself out. You can use whatever words and labels feel best for you, and change them later if they no longer work.


Stay tuned for Day 4 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality where I’ll be interviewing 6 ace-spectrum authors about their experiences with asexuality, their writing, and more!

If you enjoyed this post – or any others from this blog series – please consider supporting me by “buying me coffee” through Ko-fi by clicking the image below!

Ko-fi

 

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 2: My Personal Experience

Day 2 Header

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Let’s Talk About Asexuality – my five day blog series all about asexuality! I kicked off the series yesterday by introducing the blog series and talking about several terms you will hear in relation to asexuality. I highly recommend you check out that post by clicking here before continuing on with today’s post!

As you can tell by the title, Day 2 is all about my personal experience with asexuality. Since I will be joined by guests sharing their experiences on days 3 and 4 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality, I wanted to share mine as well. I’ve never shared all of this at once with anyone so I am a bit nervous, but I’m mostly excited!


My Experiencee

Introduction

In case you’re new to my blog, let me start with a quick introduction. Hello! My name is Brooke, I’m 21 years old, and I started Brooke’s Books in April of 2015. I’ve been an avid reader all my life and I’m extremely passionate about books. If I wasn’t involved in the online book community (in particular Twitter), I probably wouldn’t have known that asexuality is a thing and that I’m asexual myself. At the very least, I would have gone longer without knowing this vital part of myself. I created this series because I want to spread awareness of asexuality to people who may fall on the asexual spectrum and don’t know it yet and also to help people who aren’t asexual understand what asexuality truly is.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m going to be having a lot of ace-spec guests on my blog this week to share their experiences and thoughts as ace-spec people. Since they’re going to be sharing, I wanted to make sure I talked about my experiences as well. Like I mentioned yesterday, I first heard of the word “asexual” as a sexual orientation last year during Asexuality Awareness Week. Apparently I follow a lot of ace-spec people or allies of ace-spec people, because my Twitter timeline was flooded enough with people talking about asexuality that I got curious and started researching.

AH-HA! Moment

When I first saw the definition of asexuality (“someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction”), I didn’t have an AH-HA! moment like so many other people seemed to have had. I was just mostly confused. I remember thinking I couldn’t be asexual because I have had crushes all my life. And right there is one of biggest misconceptions people (like my naive self) have had/still have about asexuality. There are many types of attraction – sexual, romantic, aesthetic to name a few – and the only thing you’re required to not experience (or rarely experience) in order to identify as asexual is sexual attraction. But at that point, I didn’t know that.

So for the next few months, I kept researching and thinking and researching and thinking. I followed a lot of ace people on Twitter and read their threads about asexuality, I watched videos on Youtube of people talking about their experiences, I spent a lot of time reading blog posts and forums and articles, etc. Still, even after all that, I wasn’t 100% sure if I was actually asexual. Finally, after literally having a dream where I yelled “I’m asexual!” at someone, I came out to myself in February of this year. That dream was my true AH-HA! moment. I finally understood that I’ve never actually experienced sexual attraction – it was all romantic and aesthetic attraction.

Coming Out

After coming out to myself, I knew I wanted to come out on Twitter. The book community on Twitter (for the most part) is extremely wonderful and supportive. I knew the best place to come out first would be there. To test the waters, I first came out to my friends in our DM group chat and they were so supportive and amazing that I felt comfortable enough to add my sexual orientation to my Twitter bio. Since then, I’ve been very open about being asexual on Twitter and I love connecting with others on the ace spectrum!

Following this great experience, I knew I wanted to come out to my best friend but I didn’t know how. When I came out on Twitter, all I had to say was, “I’m asexual.” But with my best friend – who I was 99.9% certain had no idea what that asexuality is – I would have to have a longer discussion. I knew she was very supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community and I was pretty sure she would accept me, but I was just nervous about having to explain things and I was worried she wouldn’t truly understand. While I don’t think she completely understands what being asexual is really like – only because she hasn’t lived it herself – coming out to her went extremely well! She was SO supportive and understanding!! I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I went to bed that night with a huge smile on my face (I know that’s pretty cheesy, but it’s true!). This was the first and only time I came out to someone in real life and it took place about 4 or 5 months after I realized I was ace.

When it comes to coming out to anyone else in real life (i.e. my close family), I don’t really know what I’m going to do about that yet. I feel very conflicted. While my aceness is a huge part of me that I want to share with the people I love, I don’t think anyone in my family would really understand it. I feel like they would say things like, “You just haven’t met someone yet” or “You’re still young. You’ll change your mind.” But me being ace and also disinterested in sex is something that influences a lot of my decisions, thoughts, and viewpoints. For example, a big part of why I don’t want to get pregnant “the natural way” is that I’d have to have sex to do so (which I really, really don’t want to do). I have shared with my family members that I have no interest in being pregnant, but I’ve only shared a different (but still true) reason why. Another example is how uncomfortable I feel whenever anything sex-related is talked about in relation to me. For so long this has made me extremely uncomfortable, but I didn’t know why. Now that I know that’s just how I am and that it’s normal, I just want to blurt it out to the person so that they’ll stop making me feel uncomfortable. However, I’m worried they won’t understand and they’ll make me feel strange or abnormal. So, I’m pretty much in a lose-lose situation.

I definitely do want to eventually come out to my mom though because she and I are very close and she knows pretty much everything else about me. But, I know she doesn’t understand many LGBTQIAP+ related things. She understands what lesbian/gay means but the other letters? She’s pretty much lost. So if I do come out to her, it would be an extremely long vocabulary explanation and at the end, she still might not understand. I’m worried it might make our relationship different or make her feel differently towards me.

Seeing Myself in a Book

I didn’t know how much I needed the ace part of me to be represented in a book until I read Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee in June of this year. It was so amazing to read about Tash, who is asexual and disinterested in sex just like I am. Tash and I shared a lot of the same thoughts, feelings, and worries, and it was so validating to see someone else experiencing the same things as I am and thriving! Another reason why I’ll be forever thankful for this book is that seeing how supportive and understanding Tash’s friends were about her being asexual gave me the extra push I needed to come out to my best friend! I probably would have gone several more months without telling her, but Tash Hearts Tolstoy gave me the courage to come out shortly after finishing the book!

In Conclusion

While I’ve had some worries about what being asexual might mean for me, I’m overall ecstatic that I’ve found this other wonderful part of myself that I didn’t know about! I love that there’s an awesome, supportive community of people just like me and I absolutely loved seeing a character like myself in a YA book.


Stay tuned for Day 3 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality where I’ll be joined by several people from the book community to learn about their experiences with asexuality!

If you enjoyed this post – or any others from this blog series – please consider supporting me by “buying me coffee” through Ko-fi by clicking the image below!

Ko-fi

 

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 1: Introduction & Ace 101

Day 1 Header

Hello everyone! Today I’m starting something new on my blog: a week-long series called Let’s Talk About Asexuality. I’ve been working on this blog series for quite some time now and I’m so excited to finally share it with you all! I purposely planned this blog series to coincide with Asexuality Awareness Week because I felt it was the perfect time to draw more attention to asexuality and to help people understand what it truly is.

I’ll talk more about my personal experiences tomorrow, but I just wanted to quickly mention one thing. I first heard of the term asexual (as a sexual orientation) during last year’s Asexuality Awareness Week. Hearing that term led me to doing research which led to me learning about this whole other awesome part of myself. If I can help just one person the way other ace people helped me, then I will be more than happy!

There are a lot of fantastic things in store during Let’s Talk About Asexuality this week, if I do say so myself. For example, later on in the week, I’ll be joined by a whole slew of awesome ace-spec guests including authors, bloggers, and others from the book community! Today though I wanted to begin with a bunch of the basics when it comes to asexuality – Ace 101 if you will. Without further ado, let’s get started!


Definitionss

There are many different types of attraction and it’s crucial to know what these different attractions actually are in order to fully understand asexuality. Here are some types of attraction:

  • Sexual attraction – attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or show sexual interest in another person
  • Romantic attraction – attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person
  • Aesthetic attraction – occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person, disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction
  • Sensual attraction – the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling
  • Emotional attraction – the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality; this type of attraction is present in most relationships from platonic friendships to romantic and sexual relationships
  • Intellectual attraction – the desire to engage with another in an intellectual manner, such as engaging in conversation with them, “picking their brain,” and it has more to do with what or how a person thinks instead of the person themselves

Here’s some basic asexual-related vocabulary:

    • Asexual  someone who does not experience sexual attraction
    • Ace  shortened way of saying asexual (just like bi can be used for bisexual)
    • Demisexual (demi)  someone who does not experience sexual attraction to a person until they’ve formed a strong emotional bond with that person
    • Grayasexual (gray-ace, gray-a)  someone who infrequently or rarely experiences sexual attraction or may be unsure if they’ve ever experienced sexual attraction; will generally identify as being close to asexual
    • Asexual spectrum (ace spectrum, ace-spec) – the grouping of all identities listed above under a single umbrella
    • Allosexual (allo)  someone who experiences sexual attraction

Here are some other terms you may hear in relation to aces/in ace discussions:

  • Sex-repulsed – someone who finds sex, the idea of sex, sexual talk, sexual images, etc. repulsive, nauseating, or anxiety inducing; some sex-repulsed people are repulsed by all things sexual, while others are only repulsed by certain things; the degree of repulsion varies from person to person, but is considered stronger than in sex-aversion; not limited to asexual people
  • Sex-averse  someone who is opposed to having sex; they may not want to talk about sex, see sexual images, etc.; many consider sex-averse to be a milder response that does not have nausea, anxiety, or repulsion tied up in it; it’s a general “no, I don’t want that” response to sex; not limited to asexual people
  • Sex-favorable – someone who likes and is interested in having sex; not limited to asexual people
  • Sex-indifferent – someone who is indifferent to the idea of sex or participating in it; a general attitude of “meh” towards sex; this does not mean that the person is willing to have sex ever – they may not feel strongly opposed to having sex, but neither are they interested in it; not limited to asexual people
  • Autochorisexual – someone who can be aroused by sexual material and may masturbate, fantasize, and/or watch porn but has no desire to participate in sexual interactions themselves; not limited to asexual people

Note: People who are sex-repulsed, -averse, or -indifferent can still be sex-positive. The sex-positive movement is “an ideology in which all forms and expressions of sexuality are viewed as potentially positive forces as long as they remain consensual.”

Since some asexual people may also fall on the aromantic spectrum, here’s some aromantic-related vocabulary:

      • Aromantic – someone who does not experience romantic attraction
      • Aro  shortened way of saying aromantic
      • Demiromantic (demiro) – someone who does not experience romantic attraction to a person until they’ve formed a strong emotional bond with that person
      • Grayromantic – someone who infrequently or rarely experiences romantic attraction or may be unsure if they’ve ever experienced romantic attraction; will generally identify as being close to aromantic
      • Aromantic spectrum (aro spectrum, aro-spec) – the grouping of all identities listed above under a single umbrella
      • Alloromantic (allo, alloro) – someone who experiences romantic attraction

Sexual and romantic orientations are completely different from one another and may not match. For example, somebody could be asexual and alloromantic (like I am), while someone else could be asexual and aromantic, and another person could be demisexual and grayromantic. The combinations are almost endless! In addition, some alloromantic asexual people choose to also identify by what gender or genders they’re romantically attracted to. Some romantic orientations people identify by include: homoromantic, heteroromantic, biromantic, and panromantic. The same can be said about some allosexual aromantic people. Some choose to identify by what gender or genders they’re sexually attracted to. These identities can include: gay/homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, straight/heterosexual, and pansexual.


Stay tuned for Day 2 of Let’s Talk About Asexuality where I’m going to talk about my experiences with asexuality, including how I discovered I was asexual, my coming out experiences, and more! 

If you learned something from this post or enjoyed reading it, please consider supporting me by “buying me coffee” through Ko-fi by clicking the image below!

Ko-fi