Reading Romance While Demisexual

An illustration of Amina the hedgehog, reading a romance book with hearts on it, while under a snug demisexual flag blanket. Title: Reading romance while demisexual. A discussion about my experiences of reading romance, my struggle with connection, and why i love friends to lovers.

I love romance stories. I love the idea that people may cross paths with countless others in their lifetime, only to find someone (or someones!) who they grow to care for and love. I love the idea that people can grow a bond so intimate and so tender that they can build a bridge that crosses valleys of hurt and pain and loneliness. I love the idea that someone can grow to understand and accept you in ways that others may not, and to cherish you despite your flaws. I love love, and I love that love can feel so transcendent and beautiful.

But lately, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with romance stories. I’ve felt that I often occupy this weird space of really enjoying romance stories whilst also struggling to connect with them. It sounds a little contradictory, right? You’d think that the romance is the highlight of a story – so why can’t I usually connect with the romance and the relationship? I never really interrogated this, but recently, I’ve been mulling over these feelings, trying to parse and explores these complicated thoughts that I have.

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Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition – An Interview with Alechia Dow, Author of The Sound of Stars; On Writing Hope and Resistance and Demisexual Representation

Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition - An Interview with Alechia Dow, Author of The Sound of Stars; On Writing Hope and Resistance and Demisexual Representation. An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, with her arms spread out wide like she is showing off someone, with Alechia as a purple bear wearing glasses and holding a chocolate donut.

An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, waving her hand and winking at you while holding up a flag with the inclusive Pride flag - horizontal stripes of black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

When I was younger and learning about what it meant to be queer, one of my earliest labels – and the only label I feel any real connection to – was ‘demisexual’. Growing up and as a teen, I struggled to connect and understand how my friends talked and felt about romance and attraction. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realised that I was demisexual and also gray-ace.
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Book Review: Soft on Soft by Em Ali – The, Indeed, Very Soft Story between Two Queer Fat Girls in Love

Hm, you haven’t seen Xiaolong in awhile.

Although you have been visiting the Pond frequently, Xiaolong always seemed so busy and the both of you never had the opportunity to talk. You hope, in your visit today, that you will get to see her and talk to her.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl, wearing a purple flower hat, holding a soft pillow and a book 'Soft on Soft' to her chest.And so, when you pass through the magical boundary and enter the Pond, you hear the familiar scampering of feet and the familiar call of ‘friend!’ Indeed, when you turn around to the sound of her voice, Xiaolong stands before you, holding a pillow and a book in her hand.

“Friend! I’m so glad that I got the chance to see you today. I’ve been so busy and I missed you. I’m sorry we haven’t had the chance to talk much, but I made sure to make time for you today!”

You smile, and tell her that it was good to see her. You ask her what she is doing today, and what book she is holding in her hand.

“Oh yes!” she exclaims. “I had a feeling you were coming today, so I brought you this fluffy pillow. I highly recommend cuddling this pillow while I tell you about this very lovely book that will make you want to cuddle things.”

That sounds like such a comforting book! Once you and Xiaolong settle at your favourite spot at the Pond, her fluffy and soft pillow on your lap, she holds the book out to you. “So, this book is called Soft on Soft…

TEXT: Soft on Soft, Em Ali. IMAGE: a white and pink cup, with steam rising above the text. Bottom right corner: Xiaolong the pink axolotl with an upside down flower hat at the center of a stamp, with the text "Review by CW, The Quiet Pond" around it.
Summary:

June Bana might post nearly daily makeup looks that gain thousands of likes but Real Life June has built a wall behind which she exists with her two cats.

But with messy feelings getting in a way of an early hermit life, June begins to realize that she wants more. She wants model/actress, Sunshine Reincarnated Selena Clarke. It doesn’t hurt that Selena is amazing with cats and quiets down June’s anxiety to bearable levels.

June is given the choice of facing her anxieties about relationships to gain not only a girlfriend but also a better understanding of how far she’d go for love.

But would she take it? Would she leave her comfort zone for something softer?

Contemporary romance where one homebody and one extrovert make one hell of a love story.

My review:

I was provided a copy of this novella by my lovely friend and the author themself. This does not influence my review in any way, and my opinions are my own.

Listen, Soft on Soft is indeed, very soft, and that’s what makes it such a gorgeous gem of a book. It’s a short and sweet novella, and follows two fat queer women – June, a Persian cat-loving homebody, and Selena, an extroverted Black model and actress – and the slow-burn love that blossoms and grows between them.Read More »