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Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex-- A Conversation with Angela Chen and Jess Zimmerman

Event date: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes writers Angela Chen and Jess Zimmerman in conversation for the launch of Chen's book, Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Ace is 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 people about desire and identity.

Journalist Angela Chen shares her path to understanding her own asexuality alongside the perspectives of a diverse group of asexual people. Vulnerable and honest, these stories include a woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that "not wanting sex" was a sign of serious illness, and a man who grew up in a religious household and did everything "right," only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Disabled aces, aces of color, gender-nonconforming aces, and aces who both do and don't want romantic relationships all share their experiences navigating a society in which a lack of sexual attraction is considered abnormal. Chen's careful cultural analysis explores how societal norms limit understanding of sex and relationships and celebrates the breadth of sexuality and queerness.

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 people experience. Through a blend of reporting, cultural criticism, and memoir, Ace, addresses the misconceptions around asexuality and invites everyone to radically rethink pleasure and intimacy. 

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 www.angelachen.org.

Jess Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature. Her essays and opinion writing have appeared in the Guardian, the New Republic, the Washington Post, Hazlitt, Catapult, and others. Her newest book Women and Other Monsters, on feminism and mythological creatures, is forthcoming in March 2021.

This event takes place on crowdcast. Click here to register.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
Online
Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex Cover Image
$24.26
ISBN: 9780807013793
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - September 15th, 2020

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.


Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven Cover Image
$14.39
ISBN: 9781594749773
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quirk Books - August 29th, 2017

A magical lifestyle guide for everything from powering up a stylish crystal to banishing terrible Tinder dates


Pre-Order Now Badge
Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology Cover Image
$23.36
ISBN: 9780807054932
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Beacon Press - March 9th, 2021

A fresh cultural analysis of female monsters from Greek mythology, and an invitation for all women to reclaim these stories as inspiration for a more wild, more "monstrous" version of feminism


Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes writers Angela Chen and Jess Zimmerman in conversation for the launch of Chen's book. Ace is an engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that's obsessed with sexual attraction.