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A Qualitative Exploration of the “Coming Out” Process for Asexual Individuals

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“Coming out” is an important process not only for identity formation in sexual minorities, but also for increasing access to romantic partners of similar identities (Vaughan & Waehler, 2010). It is unclear how asexuality and the variations within the asexual community are revealed and communicated in the coming out process. Some asexual individuals may find no practical value in coming out, as they do not seek romantic partnerships, while others pursue romantic relationships that are devoid of sexual activity. To date, virtually no psychological research has explored the “coming out” experience for those with an asexual identity. The current research analyzed the “coming out” narratives of 169 self-identified asexual individuals recruited from three online asexual communities using a phenomenological approach. Salient themes were extracted from narratives about the experience of developing an asexual identity. Themes included skepticism from family and friends, lack of acceptance and misunderstanding, non-disclosure of the asexual identity, relief upon discovering the asexual community, and the role of the internet in asexual identity discovery and expression. A theoretical model of asexual identity development is proposed based on these findings.

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Correspondence to Kathryn Graff Low.

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Robbins, N.K., Low, K.G. & Query, A.N. A Qualitative Exploration of the “Coming Out” Process for Asexual Individuals. Arch Sex Behav 45, 751–760 (2016).

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