Review: ‘The Invisible Orientation’ by Julie Sondra Decker

The Invisible Orientation book coverWhen I first realized I was asexual, I spent a solid week scouring the Internet for more information. I came across Tumblrs, AVEN (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network), the Huffington Post six-part series and more. What I wanted was for it to be all in one place, a good starting point. After reading Julie Sondra Decker’s “The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality,” I realized this is what I needed two years ago. If only she had published this book in 2012 and not 2014.

I’m really glad this book exists. It’s been on my to-read list since I heard about it, and it’s taken me this long to get around to reading it. Easy to read and informative, Decker’s book covers a lot of ground. “The Invisible Orientation” is split into six parts: Asexuality 101, Aseuxal Experiences, The Many Myths of Asexuality, If You’re Asexual (Or Think You Might Be), If Someone You Know Is Asexual (Or Might Be) and Other Resources. While I read the book linearly, the sections are structured for each reader’s needs.

I didn’t learn much from this book, but that is because I’ve been immersed in learning about asexuality and awareness for more than two years now. It’s a lot to take in, but Decker keeps this in mind as she explains the various 101 aspects and terms used in the community. The writing itself had a patient, teaching tone that I think would be very helpful for someone who starts reading this without any knowledge of asexuality.

One of the best things about this book is the quotes from other asexual activists and bloggers interspersed throughout. Decker uses some of her experiences in some parts of the chapters, but the quotes help tie certain explanations together. There are so many voices in the community and each person experiences something different, which is important to show in an introductory book.

… We should expect asexuality to be complicated, since mainstream sexuality only seems less complicated because we’re all used to it and have been hearing and understanding the contexts for those relationships since we were children.” —”Is There Anything I Should Avoid Saying or Doing”

Perhaps the best part of this book, at least for me, is the resources section. I have a separate folder in my Chrome bookmarks specifically for asexual articles and resources I’ve come across in the past couple of years. While there are a few resources I’ve come across, there is a wealth of articles and asexual bloggers I haven’t come across yet.

I’m so glad to have finally read “The Invisible Orientation.” I will not so subtly tell people to read it, especially if they have any questions about asexuality and want to educate themselves.

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