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Publisher's Summary

What if you weren't sexually attracted to anyone?

A growing number of people are identifying as asexual. They aren't sexually attracted to anyone, and they consider it a sexual orientation - like gay, straight, or bisexual.

Asexuality is the invisible orientation. Most people believe that "everyone" wants sex, that "everyone" understands what it means to be attracted to other people, and that "everyone" wants to date and mate. But that's where asexual people are left out - they don't find other people sexually attractive, and if and when they say so, they are very rarely treated as though that's okay.

When an asexual person comes out, alarming reactions regularly follow; loved ones fear that an asexual person is sick, or psychologically warped, or suffering from abuse. Critics confront asexual people with accusations of following a fad, hiding homosexuality, or making excuses for romantic failures. And all of this contributes to a discouraging master narrative: there is no such thing as "asexual". Being an asexual person is a lie or an illness, and it needs to be fixed.

In The Invisible Orientation, Julie Sondra Decker outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people's experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to understand their asexual friends and loved ones.

©2014 Julie Sondra Decker (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Invisible Orientation

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Thorough and eye-opening

Any additional comments?

As a little-understood sexual orientation, asexuality may seem inscrutable to non-asexuals and overwhelmingly nuanced to people wondering how or whether to place themselves along the asexual spectrum. Julie Sondra Decker's book patiently and thoroughly covers a vast range of those nuances. She's extremely careful and precise in her language, inclusive and conscientious. She doesn't descend into sarcasm or irritation, even when addressing some of the most tone-deaf FAQs lobbed at out and activist asexuals.

I identify in the asexual spectrum, and after frequenting online ace forums and doing some reading, I was still confused (and sometimes alienated). This book provided a lot of clarity, teasing out all kinds of variations on the asexual orientation and giving me much more confidence about my choice of "label." Listening to it was a validating experience. As others have mentioned, it's repetitive (which actually helped hammer home some of the ideas in my mind): definitely view each section as a long article designed to be read by itself.

Decker's writing style doesn't lend itself particularly well to the audiobook format, apparently featuring lots of slashes (e.g., "and/or," which is read aloud as "and slash or"), tables and lists. Part Six, Additional Resources, is a heroic and sadly unlistenable reading of dozens of long URLs. The resource section would have been better served by a single simple URL that audiobook listeners could go for the rest of the links. It's a minor quibble, but if the author is looking at reviews: Julie, any chance you could post a links page like that?

Nevertheless, Reay Kaplan's narration is clear, well-paced and easy to listen to, so hats off, especially for soldiering on through Part Six! I'm so glad to have found this subject covered so excellently.

16 people found this helpful

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Educational first half

The first half of the book was really interesting and very eye opening. The second half was a lot of rehashing of "don't be insensitive". Also, I don't think anyone edited this for reading as the narrator spent the last 30 minutes reading a references section INCLUDING EVERY URL IN DETAIL (also, who puts YouTube and Google Doc links in a printed book?). Narrator was a bit monotone, but I don't know how much more inflection you can give to a book like this. Anyway, if you're looking for a good overview, listen to the first half of this book, definitely don't listen to the last 30 minutes.

5 people found this helpful

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This book is Aces!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

There are not many resources for Asexual people or the people who want to understand them. This book is perfect. As an Asexual person I really appreciated all the information in this book. It's great if you know you are asexual or are questioning if you may be. It definitely helped me understand myself better. Thank you Julie Sondra Decker!

Any additional comments?

I wish this book would come up when you just searched, "asexual". That search needs some Ace appreciation.

3 people found this helpful

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Asexuality is Real

This book shows you asexuality is a real sexual orientation and gives the reader the opportunity to understand how.

1 person found this helpful

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This book needed to exist!

What did you learn from The Invisible Orientation that you would use in your daily life?

It made me realize how much is left unseen by us just because we persistently reflect our own experience on others and neglect to even acknowledge that alternatives are not impossible and this from simple phrases regarded by society to be inexorably true such as "We're human, we all have (sexual) needs" to "We all need (romantic) love to be happy". You have found an ally in me.

Any additional comments?

The thing I'm grateful the most is that because of this book I now understand my peers and myself a little better.

3 people found this helpful

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educational

I wish I had this book when I was first realizing that I wasn't broken. I wish this book has existed when I was a teenager and so confused. but mostly I'm just glad this exists now.

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Pronunciation grates on my nerves

I couldnt finish this book after hearing the narrators pronunciation of mature. I cannot take seriously someone who says ma-tyor and not ma-choor. Might be a silly reason to stop a book...but this has grated on my ears for years.

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Great Coverage of a Misunderstood Orientation

This book was a thorough, but not inaccessible, examination of the asexual spectrum of orientations, points of intersectionality, needs, resources, and more. I would highly recommend this book to gain a better understanding of the spectrum and how not to cause harm to someone who identifies as ace. I gave a copy of this to my therapist who does a lot of work in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Very informative

A very informative primer for the lay person as well as for those curious about asexuality. The author does a great job dissecting and dispelling the various myths, misunderstanding, and stigma around this little recognized orientation. While repetution can help drill concepts into the skeptics and the deniers, it gets tad tedious at times to the point I could finish the sentences for the author. Still, it gets a rec from me as a book that achieves what it sets out to do.

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Buena introducción y explicación de la asexualidad

En un momento se me hizo repetitivo pero entiendo que tal vez alguien que no sepa mucho de asexualidad le podría haber parecido bien de largo.

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  • Lianne Drummond
  • 05-18-18

Information can be found elsewhere

Very whiny and bee-in-a-bonnet approach to explaining asexuality. Perhaps it could be informative to some though she spends too much time moaning about how cruel the world is. A less emotionally laden approach would have been better.

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  • Helen Gladwin
  • 01-26-18

Haven't learnt anything yet

I wanted to try and learn about Asexuality. I've listened to half of the book so far and it is so difficult to listen too and to understand what is being said. This book essentially preaches about how hard it can be to be Asexuality in our "terrible" society. I wanted to learn about it

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  • Godzilla
  • 01-02-18

Pretty basic stuff

What did you like best about The Invisible Orientation? What did you like least?

The book was easy to understand and a good primer for those who have done zero research. What I liked least was that it didn't really provide any guidance or relevant materials for people who are more seriously questioning and have already researched the FAQ themselves.
There seemed to be a lot of listing of different possible combinations of asexual and romantic orientations, rather than any more valuable information about cultural challenges, context, history, etc. Overall the book lacked a thesis and was more like an explanatory page from a website.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The conclusion was lacking- what was the point of the book? Where is asexuality going now? It wasn't cohesive in this sense. It didn't seem to offer much comfort or vision- more just lists of orientations and a general 'don't be rude' message.

The reading of the reference section was gruelling and made the book stand out as something amateurish.

Do you think The Invisible Orientation needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I think a more detailed text looking at the cultural significance of asexuality and a more in depth examination of the psychological struggle of coming to terms with being asexual/trying to find a place in a world where you are not readily accepted is needed, though a different author may be better placed to do this.

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  • Jarryd
  • 02-15-20

Straw men as far as the eye can see

It started strong, detailing things I resonated with. But quickly fell into loop, where the narrator just proposed arguments, insults and erasure. Then meticulously dismantled them.

I'm looking for answers, and a good way to connect with others like me. This is mostly years of arguing on the internet, boiled down to a guide.

Quite a few references to "the patriarchy" casually dropped, which undermines the author's credibility too. That's an irrelevant idea to this book.

I'm grateful to have something at least.