Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1265–1276 | Cite as

Patterns of Asexuality in China: Sexual Activity, Sexual and Romantic Attraction, and Sexual Desire

  • Lijun ZhengEmail author
  • Yanchen Su
Original Paper


This study examined patterns of asexuality in Chinese asexual people in terms of sexual activities, sexual/romantic attraction, and sexual desire. The sample included 227 (64 men and 163 women) asexual participants and 57 (26 men and 31 women) uncertain asexual participants recruited from social networks for asexual people. The control group included 217 (115 men and 102 women) heterosexual participants recruited from general social networks. Participants scoring 40 or higher on the Asexuality Identification Scale were classified as asexual. Asexual participants reported having less frequent masturbation, sexual intercourse experience, and sexual and romantic attraction compared to heterosexual participants. Lower sexual attraction among asexuals indicated that “people who experience little or no sexual attraction” would be a more appropriate definition of asexuality. The pattern of uncertain asexual participants’ sexual/romantic attraction and sexual desire was intermediate between heterosexual and asexual participants. Asexual participants scored significantly lower on dyadic sexual desire and slightly lower on solitary sexual desire than heterosexual participants. There were significant differences in sexual activities and solitary sexual desire among romantic orientation categories. Homoromantic participants showed higher dyadic sexual desire and were more likely to engage in masturbation, indicating the heterogeneity among asexual people. The findings indicated that Chinese asexual people showed similar patterns of asexuality as in Western nations. Specifically, asexual people have little or no sexual attraction, non-partner-orientated sexual desire, and are heterogeneous in sexual activities and sexual desire. This implies similar mechanisms underlying the etiology of asexuality across cultures.


Asexuality Sexual attraction Romantic attraction Sexual desire Asexuality Identification Scale Sexual orientation 



This research is supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (SWU1709244).

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 institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration 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, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University)Ministry of EducationChongqingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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