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Books on Asexuality and Aromanticism That You Should Read

By Rhys Wright and Rosie Green

In books, the asexual and aromantic communities are often underrepresented and misunderstood. Finding good representation of anyone on the ace and aro spectrums is more challenging than it should be, but thanks to emerging ace and aro writers filling a gap in the market, each year brings more and more books about asexuality and aromanticism.

If you’d like to learn more about what it means to be asexual or aromantic or want to see some good ace and aro representation, here are some books we think would be great additions to your reading list.

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

For anyone with any confusion about what asexuality exactly is, or even people who already

think they know and what to learn more, Angela Chen’s Ace is the perfect book to enrich your understanding and make you re-evaluate your perceptions about the way we think about sexuality as a whole.

Chen’s remarkably detailed study of asexual life experiences is perfect as both a beginner’s introduction to asexuality, and a book to challenge the perspective from which you view sex, sexual attraction, love and society. Carefully aware that there is no monolithic asexual experience, Chen includes interviews with over a hundred aces from a broad spectrum of communities. The broad intersectionality of the people interviewed asks us to consider how someone’s asexuality interacts with other factors, like disabilities, race, gender identity, romantic attraction and more.

Crucially, Chen’s book embraces the diversity of asexual experiences that different people can have. Instead of seeing the world as a binary of aces and allos (allosexuals), Ace disentangles notions of sexual attraction from sex drive and sexual behaviour. Chen explores and showcases countless different lived experiences of asexuality, proving that there’s no singular way to be asexual.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe “Ellie” Bride is an asexual, aromantic, Lipan Apache teen who can summon ghosts. Even the most detailed elevator pitch for Darcie Little Badger’s debut novel leaves out so much of what makes Elatsoe stand out from the YA fantasy crowd. Combining urban fantasy, Apache mythology and a murder mystery, Elatsoe is a one-of-a-kind book that deserves a place on your bookshelf.

Living in an America shaped by the real-life magic of its indigenous and immigrant communities, Ellie has cultivated the gift of summoning and training the ghosts of animals, including her deceased Springer Spaniel Kirby. But after her cousin dies in mysterious circumstances, his ghost visits her and asks her to protect his family. Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Ellie travels to the southern Texas town of Willowbee to bring the truth to light.

Little Badger, herself a Lipan Apache, has written an ace and aro main character completely at ease with her identity, providing the kind of casual representation that’s a rare find in fiction. What makes Elatsoe so refreshing to read is just how unique it manages to be, with a world and characters like nothing else you’ve read before.

The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

Heart-warming and endearingly simple, with the feel of a story told around a campfire or by a child’s bedside, The Dragon of Ynys is an enchanting fairy-tale about friendship and the power of stories that is perfect for all ages.

It follows a quest, in which the village knight and the dragon he’s been battling (or at least telling off) for many years become unlikely allies on a journey to rescue the baker’s wife (and by extension the cinnamon rolls she makes of which the knight suddenly finds himself deprived).

In a tale about stories fostering friendship, understanding and hope, both between the characters and in the wider world, Sir Violet longs for a story about someone like him, whose wishes from life don’t include a relationship but friends to have fun with, a warm blanket to curl up in and a cinnamon roll to nibble on. For aces and aros out there looking for the same thing, and indeed for anyone else who believes in the importance of representation, in seeing people who are both like and not like you in stories, The Dragon of Ynys is the perfect cosy read for some excellent aromantic representation.

While there may have historically been few books focusing on the asexual and aromantic communities, the last few years have seen a rise in both fiction and non-fiction written by ace and aro authors and featuring ace and aro characters. We’re currently living through one of the most exciting times for asexuality and aromanticism in literature, and these recommendations are only scratching the surface. There’s no knowing what great books and talented new authors the next few years will bring, but the future looks bright.

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Evelyn Adams
Evelyn Adams
Nov 16, 2023

The increasing availability of books on asexuality and aromanticism is a welcome development in the landscape of sexual and romantic identity literature. These books offer insightful perspectives into the experiences and challenges faced by individuals who identify as asexual or aromantic, providing much-needed representation and understanding in a society often centered around sexual and romantic relationships. This growing library of resources parallels the broader movement towards sexual inclusivity and understanding, similar in spirit to the concept of a 'Poppers Shop' in contemporary culture. While a poppers shop traditionally caters to a different audience, focusing on sexual enhancement and exploration, its existence within the public sphere signifies a broader acceptance of diverse sexual expressions and identities. The presence of both these…

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