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Health, Science, Environment

Learning from Asexuals About Sex & Relationships

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Sylvie Roskoff
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Quick, what’s your sexuality? Most of us know roughly where we fall on the Kinsey scale that goes from zero (totally straight) to six (flaming faggot or butchest of dykes). But have you considered another continuum, the asexual – allosexual one?

Science writer Angela Chen explains it eloquently tonight on Out in the Bay (10pm Tuesday), but in my crude shorthand: this continuum has on one end those repulsed by sex, to horny-as-hell on the other, with most folks — gay, straight and otherwise — between those extremes. Chen shares some of her own discovering asexuality journey and discusses her book, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, on this week’s Out in the Bay.

Topics in Chen's book include how “compulsory sexuality” compels many of us to seek or consent to sex more than we really want to. It’s a freeing concept that illustrates how societal pressures influence not only our behavior along the Kinsey scale, but also how much sex we have (or don’t) and why we pursue it (or don’t).

Ace blends reporting, memoir and provocative commentary on the relationship between sex, power and politics. In Chen’s words, her book “invites everyone to rethink pleasure and intimacy.”

Angela Chen is a science and technology journalist and was previously a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Vox Media’s The Verge, and MIT Technology Review. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and other publications.  Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, is Chen’s first book. It was named one of 2020’s Best Books by NPR, Electric Literature, and Them.