Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 341–356 | Cite as

Asexuality: Classification and Characterization

  • Nicole Prause
  • Cynthia A. GrahamEmail author
Original Paper


The term “asexual” has been defined in many different ways and asexuality has received very little research attention. In a small qualitative study (N = 4), individuals who self-identified as asexual were interviewed to help formulate hypotheses for a larger study. The second larger study was an online survey drawn from a convenience sample designed to better characterize asexuality and to test predictors of asexual identity. A convenience sample of 1,146 individuals (N = 41 self-identified asexual) completed online questionnaires assessing sexual history, sexual inhibition and excitation, sexual desire, and an open-response questionnaire concerning asexual identity. Asexuals reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate. Content analyses supported the idea that low sexual desire is the primary feature predicting asexual identity.


Asexual Asexuality Sexual arousability Sexual desire Sexual orientation 



The authors wish to thank the research assistants whose work contributed to this project: Shandi Yuodzukinas, Jeff Gluckman, Ryan McCracken, and Mary White. Also, we wish to thank Martin Weinberg and the members of the Psychopathology and Neuropsychometry Laboratory Reading Group at Indiana University, William P. Hetrick, Paul D. Kieffaber, Chad R. Edwards, and Christine A. Carroll, for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and ReproductionIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology, Isis Education CentreWarneford HospitalHeadingtonEngland

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