Asexuality: Classification and Characterization

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    An outline of the interview is available from the corresponding author upon request.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Cynthia A. Graham.

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Prause, N., Graham, C.A. Asexuality: Classification and Characterization. Arch Sex Behav 36, 341–356 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-006-9142-3

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Keywords

  • Asexual
  • Asexuality
  • Sexual arousability
  • Sexual desire
  • Sexual orientation