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

Angela Chen

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

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An engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that's obsessed with sexual attraction, and what the ace perspective can teach all of us about desire and identity. 

What exactly is sexual attraction and what is it like to go through life not experiencing it? What does asexuality reveal about gender roles, about romance and consent, and the pressures of society? This accessible examination of asexuality shows that the issues that aces face--confusion around sexual activity, the intersection of sexuality and identity, navigating different needs in relationships--are the same conflicts that nearly all of us will experience. Through a blend of reporting, cultural criticism, and memoir, Ace addresses the misconceptions around the "A" of LGBTQIA and invites everyone to rethink pleasure and intimacy.


"In her penetrating yet wittily kind voice, she describes many different visions of a sexually liberated society, if we could all just pay closer attention. She both imagines and demands a world through which each individual can move on their own terms, where any expression of orientation or attraction or desire can be as simple--as accepted and acceptable and easy and profound and taken at face value and understood--as 'You're my person.'"
Women's Review of Books

Asexual and aromantic people are often dismissed or erased from the spectrum of queerness. Angela Chen's book is key to the fight against that erasure.... [An] accessible guide to asexuality.

"A necessary and thoughtful book that accessibly communicates a wide array of ace experiences."

"Chen has produced a thoughtful look at what it means not to experience sexual attraction."
Library Journal

"Precision of language . . . is at the fore of Ace, a text that offers a nuanced exploration of sexual identities and a celebration of other types of intimacies beyond the confines of compulsory sexuality."
International Examiner


Angela Chen is a journalist and writer in New York City. Her reporting and criticism have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, Guardian, Paris Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and elsewhere. Chen is a member of the ace community and has spoken about asexuality at academic conferences and events including World Pride. Find her on Twitter @chengela or at

Random House US, (2020) ISBN: 9780807013793