Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 2417–2427 | Cite as

Asexual Identity in a New Zealand National Sample: Demographics, Well-Being, and Health

  • Lara M. Greaves
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
  • Yanshu Huang
  • Samantha Stronge
  • Gloria Fraser
  • Chris G. Sibley
Original Paper


Academic interest in asexuality has increased in recent years; however, there is yet to be a national probability study exploring the correlates of self-identifying as asexual. Here, we utilized data from the 2014/15 New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. Past research has typically used attraction-based measures; however, we asked participants to describe their sexual orientation using a self-generated, open-ended item, and 0.4% (n = 44) self-identified as asexual. We then compared self-identified asexual participants with a heterosexual reference group (n = 11,822) across a large number of demographic, psychological, and health variables. Relative to heterosexuals, self-identified asexual participants were (1) more likely to be women, and (2) substantially less likely to be cisgender, (3) in a serious romantic relationship, or (4) a parent. No deleterious mental or physical health effects were associated with asexuality when compared to heterosexuality. This study provides the first attempt at measuring self-identification as asexual in a national sample and highlights core similarities and differences between those who identify as asexual and heterosexual.


Asexuality Sexual orientation Sexual identity 



Lara Greaves was supported by a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship during the preparation of this article.

Data access

As per the NZAVS data access statement, a copy of the anonymous data reported in each NZAVS publication is available from CS upon request from appropriately qualified researchers. Such data will be provided with the explicit understanding that it is used solely for the purposes of replicating or otherwise checking the validity of analyses reported in scientific papers analyzing NZAVS data.


This research was supported by a Templeton World Charity Foundation Grant (ID: 0077). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lara M. Greaves
    • 1
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
    • 2
  • Yanshu Huang
    • 1
  • Samantha Stronge
    • 1
  • Gloria Fraser
    • 3
  • Chris G. Sibley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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