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Understanding Asexuality

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  277 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In a world where people often feel compelled to advertise their sexual inclinations and preferences, many people identify as asexual, lacking sexual attraction to either men or women. This book introduces the idea of asexuality as a fourth category of sexual orientation and reveals the historical, biological, and social aspects of asexuality.
ebook, 154 pages
Published August 9th 2012 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books, 2012
i should point out that i have no background in sexology, academia, or science. everything i know about the topics in the book i learned the old-fashioned ways: life experience, talking to other people, and scouring the internet for more information.

with that said: i found this book to be rather bullshitty. i mean, this is the stance i take on anyone and anything that says dan savage has right opinions about asexuals, but that is not the only thing that was problematic. bogaert completely ignore
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, sexuality
‘Understanding Asexuality’ is the first book to be published on the subject of asexuality as a sexual orientation. This makes it important. When I wish to research something, I’ll settle for online sources and journal articles, but what I really want are books. A few years ago I searched the catalogues of my university library, a legal deposit library containing more than 8 million items, and found no books whatsoever on the subject of asexuality. That was very dispiriting. Then Antony Bogaert p ...more
To be honest I'm really disappointed by this book. It shouldn't be called Understanding Asexuality, but only Understanding Sexuality. The thing is that the author took such wide view that there was very little, to almost nothing about Asexuality.

Yes, he explained about the definition of Asexuality. Yes, he explained what the causes might be, and made no conclusions. He explained about masturbation and fantasizing. But some chapters were completely unnecessary. Like why do we need a chapter on th
Mar 22, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Of COURSE I want to read this! You know, you can find ten million books about how girls should and need to have sex whenever they want, with nods to every sexuality imaginable (by the author), but you can't find a single footnote in the back index about girls who, I don't know, don't WANT to have sex? Don't have a sex drive? Find the idea repulsive, maybe even?
Boys, too. Although there are very few books about male sexual empowerment, I must say. It's probably considered a cliche. :x
People need
It was very informative, if slightly more technical than it maybe should have been. There are things I disagreed with—a huge focus on biology, constant comparisons to homosexuality, some dated language—but overall, it was a good stab at explaining asexuality to non-asexual people
Justin Goodman

Bogaert has a biological determinism problem. While making small nods to socialization, he spends most of the book gesturing to prenatal causation. And when, talking about handedness being linked to genes, he adds parenthetically "and what isn't," it's hard not to see him reveal himself as very deep within a purely biological model of sexuality. Note, as Lisa points out in their 2012 review, it takes 10 chapters before Bogaert even mentions that asexuality is not a disorder - and even then D
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My overall opinion is that the book is a great start to finally having some literature on asexuality. I very often felt Bogaert was entirely wrong—or at least failing to capture my experiences as an asexual person, and surely my experience is not the same as everyone's!—but the book is very clearly written with an understanding that this is only a beginning and ends with a call for further research. Great! Much, much more research still needs to be done on understanding the complexities of human ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting tidbits about asexuality buried in pages and pages on musings about sexuality as a whole. Interesting in that data is involved, perhaps more interesting to someone who isn't asexual who wants to understand us better. My goal had been to understand my identity a bit better and find some solidarity, but really I ended up feeling a bit like I was a specimen on display listening in on a nerdy tour guide make it about himself. ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, queer
Whoops, read this all in one go. I was very surprised to spot this in my university's library, and it was the only book there about asexuality. As an asexual person, I was kind of on edge the entire time reading it - waiting for the condemnation or ridicule I guess (probably why I read it all in one go in like four hours). But this book does give an accepting view of asexuality. The author clearly did his research and frequently quotes AVEN and asexual people, which is reassuring. The book also ...more
Katharina Barth
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read.
A really good introduction and overview to research on asexuality. Dr. Bogaert touches on almost every major aspect, from defining asexuality to potential causes of asexuality to how asexuals navigate such a sexualized world. There are several things I wish he'd talked about that he didn't, but he still covered a lot of information and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone curious and/or confused about what asexuality is. ...more
Anna (RattleTheShelves)
I don't rate academic books, I don't feel qualified to do it, but this one deserves a review.

It's an important book, because it's the first and one of the very few books that talk about asexuality- a topic completely absent from our sex-crazed society. And people need to realize that not everything is about sex, at least not for everyone.

First off, you need to know that I didn't need to read this book. And it means everything, because I never read any full books (or even journal articles) for my
Nov 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I should maybe preface this by saying that I am asexual, and therefore somewhat biased in my reading of this. That being said, I do think it qualifies me to comment on some of the absolute nonsense presented by the author. So much of what he writes is either based on citations overwhelmingly taken from his own work (always a dubious approach in academia, I feel) or wildly extrapolated from outdated ideas about sexuality (are we still referring to Freud? Really?!). For example, Bogaert's musings ...more
Dec 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Please don't waste money or braincells on this book. I know far more about asexuality by reading ace people on Twitter than through the biologicist-prone nonsense in this book.

It has been written as an academic paper for the most part, which is very exhausting to read and not for the general public as it states to be. The author tries to avoid making assertions to present himself as neutral but then you he inserts assertions like this completely disconnected from reality and ableist bit: "The fa

The book has some scientific information that is both interesting and might be helpful in explaining asexuality to someone. There was not nearly enough information specifically about asexuals to truly satisfy me. I would not recommend this book to someone trying to figure themselves out-the language and tone are sterile (and a bit dull), and readers may feel uncomfortable. I know I was, from time to time.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can check out my Library Journal review here under Editorial Reviews.

Literary Ames
Aug 20, 2012 marked it as wishlist  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Literary Ames by: Newspaper article
Asexuality as the fourth sexuality. Sounds interesting though the price is scarily high for 192-page hardcover.
Zane Carey
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
Very interesting and thrilling read. More complex and more interesting as I read.
Dec 22, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hold little respect for the field of psychology in general. However, because of personal circumstances, I decided to give this book a read. It does a good enough job of defining asexually as it pertains to an individual, but I wish he had taken a deeper dive into asexuality as it effects personal relationships. Bogaert is sure to emphasize how asexuality has drastic effects on how asexual people interact with culture as a whole, but he didn’t really discuss how it affects one on one connection ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sex, non-fiction, gender, 2018
Understanding Asexuality was certainly the goal of picking up this book, but Canadian sexologist/psychologist Anthony Bogaert's 2012 book suggests not much is known about the topic at this time. From my reading, Bogaert's main points are that (1) asexuality is a sexual orientation defined by the lack of sexual attraction; (2) understanding asexuality can help us understand sexuality; and (3) asexuality is not a disorder. The paperback version has the weight and feel of an academic book, but the ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the (sadly) few traditionally published books I could find on asexuality. I have several ace/aroace friends and family and even if I didn't, would consider it a basic human responsibility to be informed on how the identifier is affected sociopolitically and within the LGBTQ+ community. Not enough comprehensive research on the ace experience out there still, but Bogaert draws on what he has. Would have liked more personal #ownvoices anecdotes and less philosophical waxing, and some fundame ...more
Overall a good starter to understanding Asexuality, which the book itself admits. It's not the end all be all but a good basic. I particularly enjoyed chapter 10 but found chapters 11 and 12 kinda pointless and not as interesting. It was published in 2012 which shows in some ways, an unexpected one being that Jughead has been confirmed as asexual in the comics now. There are also many generalizations, which is in part due to the lack of research. Again, the book is aware of this, but it's still ...more
Hannah Bevis
I've seen this book mentioned in a lot of ace spaces - it's one of the original texts that I feel like a lot of asexual research cites. That said, even though it's just a decade old, there's parts of it that are WILDLY out of date and cringeworthy now. There's some stuff that's also straight up not true. I wouldn't recommend anyone read this now, unless you're interested in learning about how asexuality research has changed and evolved, but I'm grateful this book was written. ...more
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating, highly readable insight into sexuality in all forms and asexuality in particular. I’d recommend it for anyone interested in developing their understanding of the nuances of sexual orientation and/or identity.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
One of the few researched books on the topic.
Emily Main Street Books
Important and interesting study, but I felt like the author's tone was frequently facetious, like he was trying too hard to make it sound like a casual lecture, and it doesn't work as a book. ...more
Some useful insights and some less useful segments.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. If not for the subtle transphobia, misogyny, racism, and obliviousness towards external socialization surrounding gender and sex, this would be a fantastic book!
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very enlightening and so well written!
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asexual
This book is probably 4 stars instead of 3 because there are few books on asexuality. So it's a worthwhile read because there's not much else out there. The book has, though, provided me with a number of ideas and facts that I've taken with me, but the density of those ideas to the total text is not large.

In the author's own words: "This book was intended for a broad audience: anyone interested in understanding asexuality, and anyone interested in taking a view of human sexuality through a new l
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