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Asexual and Non-Asexual Respondents from a U.S. Population-Based Study of Sexual Minorities

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Using a U.S. population-based sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) and other sexual minority (e.g., queer-identified) people, we compared those who identified as asexual (n = 19; 1.66%) and those who were non-asexual (n = 1504; 98.34%). Compared to non-asexual respondents, asexual respondents were more likely to be women or gender non-binary and belong to a younger (ages 18–27) cohort. Asexual individuals were also less likely to have had sex in the past 5 years, compared to non-asexual men, women, and gender non-binary participants, and also reported lower levels of sexual attraction to cisgender men and women than non-asexual women and men, respectively. However, asexual participants did not differ from non-asexual participants in being in an intimate relationship. Asexual respondents felt more stigma than non-asexual men and women, and asexuals reported more everyday discrimination than did non-asexual men. Asexual and non-asexual respondents did not differ in their sense of connectedness to the LGB community. Asexual and non-asexual respondents were as likely to be out to all family, all friends, and all co-workers, but fewer asexual participants were out to all healthcare providers than non-asexual men. The two groups were similar in general well-being, life satisfaction, and social support. In conclusion, asexual identity is an infrequent but unique identity, and one that has the potential to expand the concept of queer identity as well as to destabilize the foregrounding of sexual behavior.

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Research reported in this article is part of the Generations Study, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health under Award No. R01HD078526. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The Generations investigators are: Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., (PI), David M. Frost, Ph.D., Phillip L. Hammack, Ph.D., Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D., Stephen T. Russell, Ph.D., and Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ph.D. (Co-Investigators, listed alphabetically).

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Correspondence to Esther D. Rothblum.

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This study had IRB approval, and informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Rothblum, E.D., Krueger, E.A., Kittle, K.R. et al. Asexual and Non-Asexual Respondents from a U.S. Population-Based Study of Sexual Minorities. Arch Sex Behav 49, 757–767 (2020).

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