Written by Naomi

April 6 is International Asexuality Day! It’s an effort to recognize the asexual community and promote awareness of the spectrum of asexuality. The asexual or ace spectrum includes asexuality, where a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction; graysexuality, which is when someone experiences little to no sexual attraction; and demisexuality, when a person only experiences sexual attraction after developing a close emotional bond with someone.

Asexuality is not celibacy or abstinence, and like all other sexualities, it is not a choice. It’s a spectrum and it is fluid. The distinctions are not strictly enforced, and the terms a person uses depend entirely on what they feel comfortable with.

It is estimated that about 1% of the population is asexual, which is why International Asexuality Day and Ace Week in October are so important for raising awareness and increasing the community’s visibility.

If you would like to learn more about asexuality, then Ace: What Sexuality Reveals about Desire, Society and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen is the place to start. This book is widely recognized as the authority on asexuality, and for good reason. Angela Chen, who is asexual, guides you through the book using both anecdotes from her own personal journey discovering and exploring her sexuality as well as those of others.

Ace also takes a good, critical look at society’s expectations about love and relationships through an asexual lens. You learn about heteronormativity (the assumption that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise) and amatonormativity (the assumption that everyone aspires to be in a monogamous long-term romantic relationship).

Chen also includes interviews with a variety of ace voices for an intersectional exploration of the ace spectrum. Ace is a very intelligent, well-written and accessible read. Much research went into the book, and Chen presents it with empathy and compassion.

Beyond Ace, here are some other non-fiction recommendations to help you learn more about asexuality: here are some more non-fiction recommendations:

If you want to read fiction featuring asexual characters, here are some books to get you started: