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Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK

McClave, Caroline H.

Asexuality has thus far been studied as a binary category attached to a spectrum of sexual orientation: those who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex, same-sex, both, or neither – representing asexuality. This study, in contrast, separates the spectrum of gendered sexual orientation from a spectrum of the amount of sexual attraction people have, where asexuality is at one end of the spectrum and hyper-sexuality is at the other, see Figure 1. An intermediate category of people, deemed gray-sexual, is compared to the asexual and sexual populations as another portion of this study’s spectrum. This population of gray-sexual people was larger than the asexual population and exhibited many demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral similarities to asexual people or had intermediary results between asexual and sexual people. Data came from three studies, the first two National Surveys of Sexual Attitude and Lifestyles in 1990 and 2000 (Natsal I and II) from the UK, and Towards Better Sexual Health (TBSH) in 2000. The data from TBSH found statistically similar percentages of asexuality (1.8%) in young people and almost twice as many gray-sexual young people (8.34% - TBSH, 4.42% - NATSAL I, 2.85% - NATSAL II). Notably, asexual and gray-sexual people were found to consume less alcohol and were more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol all together. Each of the three studies also found that asexual and gray sexual people drank significantly less (40.00%-72.64%, and 28.06%-41.96%, non-drinkers respectively) than sexual people (10.12%-15.34%, non-drinkers).


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 14, 2013
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