As you can imagine this book discusses erotics with a focus on asexuality. It’s introduction focused on how the meaning of erotic had changed since Freud and how more modern queer theorists define it to mean more than simply the “sexual”. The great thing but about it hitting such a specific note is this discussion is all but nonexistent when it comes to social ace places. It asks what are we missing when we make ‘erotic’ be a single note.
The book definitely is not an introduction to asexuality, it has a strong academic voice at times that make the points less clear than they could have been, ￼but if you hang around queer spaces and think your life could use more theory, history, or a look at discussions of human development then this is definitely the sort of book to pick up.
In my opinion the book also does a good job explaining how white women were rewarded for being “sexually liberated” while in the same decade people of color were and are punished in a number of ways for even the appearance of the same. In doing so, this book showcases that social change is not an absolute for all people, but varies along intersectional lines.
The book also goes over ‘political celibacy’, why it exists, how it often differs across race, and why it’s often grouped under asexuality history. It’s the first time I’ve seen a reason it’s so casually grouped and a spells out those reasons instead I’d just casually glossing over.
I feel like the chapters on childhood and ageism could have been combined for a stronger point instead of a more vague “this is a thing that people debate about”. I also found the epilogue featuring the discussion of violent entitled￼ sexism felt like an afterthought more then an ending note.
Despite my less than rave review for some chapters, overall the book left with me new things, ideas, often history nearly lost to time to consider when discussing how complete freedom can be gained for all. Here’s a few quotes I haven’t posted in our “ref” tag or on twitter that I enjoyed.
“It is only through asexuality that a sufficient critique of compulsory sexuality as limiting to people across spectrums and different positionalities can be developed.”
“Where there is queerness there is also asexuality.”
If you’re curious to read more you can get your own copy here.