Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Feminist and Queer Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Karli June Cerankowski, Megan Milks


396 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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What is so radical about not having sex? To answer this question, this collection of essays explores the feminist and queer politics of asexuality. Asexuality is predominantly understood as an orientation describing people who do not experience sexual attraction. In this multidisciplinary volume, the authors expand this definition of asexuality to account for the complexities of gender, race, disability, and medical discourse. Together, these essays challenge the ways in which we imagine gender and sexuality in relation to desire and sexual practice. Asexualities provides a critical reevaluation of even the most radical queer theorizations of sexuality. Going beyond a call for acceptance of asexuality as a legitimate and valid sexual orientation, the authors offer a critical examination of many of the most fundamental ways in which we categorize and index sexualities, desires, bodies, and practices.

As the first book-length collection of critical essays ever produced on the topic of asexuality, this book serves as a foundational text in a growing field of study. It also aims to reshape the directions of feminist and queer studies, and to radically alter popular conceptions of sex and desire. Including units addressing theories of asexual orientation; the politics of asexuality; asexuality in media culture; masculinity and asexuality; health, disability, and medicalization; and asexual literary theory, Asexualities will be of interest to scholars and students in sexuality, gender, sociology, cultural studies, disability studies, and media culture.


"Richly theorised and well argued, the book is an important contribution to this emerging and significant field of study."— Andy Carolin, University of South Africa, Gender Questions

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Asexuality? Why Now? Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski Part I: Theorizing Asexuality: New Orientations 1. Mismeasures of Asexual Desires Jacinthe Flore 2. Inhibition, Lack of Excitation, or Suppression: fMRI Pilot of Asexuality Nicole Prause and Carla Harenski 3. "There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship": Asexuality’s Sinthomatics Kristian Kahn Part II: The Politics of Asexuality 4. Radical Identity Politics: Asexuality and Contemporary Articulations of Identity Erica Chu 5. Stunted Growth: Asexual Politics and the Rhetoric of Sexual Liberation Megan Milks 6. On the Racialization of Asexuality Ianna Hawkins Owen Part III: Visualizing Asexuality in Media Culture 7. Spectacular Asexuals: Media Visibility and Cultural Fetish Karli June Cerankowski 8. Aliens and Asexuality: Media Representation, Queerness, and Asexual Visibility Sarah E.S. Sinwell 9. Compulsory Sexuality and Asexual/Crip Resistance in John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus. Cynthia Barounis Part IV: Asexuality and Masculinity 10. "Why Didn’t You Tell Me That I Love You?": Asexuality, Polymorphous Perversity, and the Liberation of the Cinematic Clown Andrew Grossman 11. Masculine Doubt and Sexual Wonder: Asexually-Identified Men Talk About Their (A)sexualites Ela Przybylo Part V: Health, Disability, and Medicalization 12. Asexualities and Disabilities in Constructing Sexual Normalcy Eunjung Kim 13. Asexuality and Disability: Mutual Negation in Adams v. Rice and New Directions for Coalition Building Kristina Gupta 14. Deferred Desire: The Asexuality of Chronic Genital Pain Christine Labuski Part VI: Reading Asexually: Asexual Literary Theory 15. "What to Call That Sport, the Neuter Human…": Asexual Subjectivity in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People Jana Fedtke 16. Toward an Asexual Narrative Structure Elizabeth Hanna Hanson

About the Editors

Karli June Cerankowski is a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University.

Megan Milks is currently a visiting assistant professor of English at Illinois College.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Gender and Society

The social sciences continue to be transformed and enriched by analysis which takes gender, and the ways in which gender and society interact, to be of vital, defining importance. This series is new and broadly based, and will publish high-level contributions from across the disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies