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Sexual Fantasy and Masturbation Among Asexual Individuals: An In-Depth Exploration

Abstract

Human asexuality is generally defined as a lack of sexual attraction. We used online questionnaires to investigate reasons for masturbation, and explored and compared the contents of sexual fantasies of asexual individuals (identified using the Asexual Identification Scale) with those of sexual individuals. A total of 351 asexual participants (292 women, 59 men) and 388 sexual participants (221 women, 167 men) participated. Asexual women were significantly less likely to masturbate than sexual women, sexual men, and asexual men. Asexual women were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure or fun than their sexual counterparts, and asexual men were less likely to report masturbating for sexual pleasure than sexual men. Both asexual women and men were significantly more likely than sexual women and men to report that they had never had a sexual fantasy. Of those who have had a sexual fantasy, asexual women and men were significantly more likely to endorse the response “my fantasies do not involve other people” compared to sexual participants, and consistently scored each sexual fantasy on a questionnaire as being less sexually exciting than did sexual participants. When using an open-ended format, asexual participants were more likely to report having fantasies about sexual activities that did not involve themselves, and were less likely to fantasize about topics such as group sex, public sex, and having an affair. Interestingly, there was a large amount of overlap between sexual fantasies of asexual and sexual participants. Notably, both asexual and sexual participants (both men and women) were equally likely to fantasize about topics such as fetishes and BDSM.

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Acknowledgments

M. A. Yule was funded by a Doctoral Research Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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Correspondence to Morag A. Yule.

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M. A. Yule declares that she has no conflict of interest. L. A. Brotto declares that she has no conflict of interest. B. B. Gorzalka declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 8.

Table 8 Items on the Asexuality Identification Scale (AIS).

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Yule, M.A., Brotto, L.A. & Gorzalka, B.B. Sexual Fantasy and Masturbation Among Asexual Individuals: An In-Depth Exploration. Arch Sex Behav 46, 311–328 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0870-8

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Keywords

  • Asexuality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Masturbation
  • Sexual fantasy