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Sexuality, Sexual Behavior, and Relationships of Asexual Individuals: Differences Between Aromantic and Romantic Orientation


Asexuality is a complex construct with a considerable lack of research until recently. Building upon available findings, we examined the extent to which romantic orientation shapes individual and relationship experiences, and expectations of asexual individuals. Specifically, our research focused on the distinction between romantic asexual individuals, who experience romantic attraction, and aromantic asexual individuals, who do not experience romantic attraction. A cross-sectional study with members of different asexual online communities (N = 447, 55.02% women; Mage = 24.77 years, SD = 7.21) aimed at examining how both groups differ in their identification with the asexuality construct as measured by the Asexuality Identification Scale (Yule et al., 2017), individual perspectives on sexuality, sexual behavior and relationships, concerns about commitment and sexual performance in a relationship, and attachment style. Results showed that aromantic asexual individuals identified more with asexuality, reported a more avoidant attachment style, and were more concerned with relationship commitment. In contrast, romantic asexual individuals reported less sex aversion, more sexual experiences (both past and current), and more sexual partners in the past. These individuals also engaged in romantic relationships more frequently in the past, had a stronger desire to engage in a romantic relationship in future (either with or without sexual intimacy), and were more concerned with sexual performance. Overall, our findings contribute to the literature by highlighting the need to consider romantic orientation when examining asexuality and its interpersonal outcomes.

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All data and materials that support the findings of this study are available upon request from the corresponding author.


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Part of this research was funded by a research grant awarded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to David L. Rodrigues (Ref.: 2020.00523.CEECIND).

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ACC and DLR conceived the study, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript; ACC collected the data. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to David L. Rodrigues.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures were in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ethics Committee at Iscte-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

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Carvalho, A.C., Rodrigues, D.L. Sexuality, Sexual Behavior, and Relationships of Asexual Individuals: Differences Between Aromantic and Romantic Orientation. Arch Sex Behav 51, 2159–2168 (2022).

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