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WITHOUT. SEX. UNDERSTANDING ASEXUALITY. A Presentation by Megan Dishman. Presentation Outline. Purpose behind Research Survey Analysis of Results The Reality of Asexuality The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network Videos from the Asexual Community

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A Presentation by Megan Dishman

presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Purpose behind Research
  • Survey
  • Analysis of Results
  • The Reality of Asexuality
    • The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network
    • Videos from the Asexual Community
    • Interview with Andrew Hinderliter
  • Summary and References
researching asexuality
Researching Asexuality

Sex is everywhere…

Look at our society.

except in the asexual community.

From the time we are old enough to watch television and movies, we are constantly exposed to sexuality.

survey distribution
Survey Distribution
  • I distributed my survey using Facebook (387 people), Vista (106 people), and 3 fliers with 10 tear-off slips each (30 possibilities).
  • This creates an estimated total of 523 possible participants.
  • I received 55 completed responses.
  • My estimated response rate is 10.5%.
understanding sexual attraction and asexuality
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

Although I had originally included a question asking for the participant’s zip code, I decided to only ask for age and sex due to the private and sensitive nature of my survey.

understanding sexual attraction and asexuality1
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

Questions 3 and 4 asked the participant to indicate his or her sexual orientation, and the age at which he or she first experienced sexual attraction. This was to ensure that I was receiving responses from a variety of people.

understanding sexual attraction and asexuality2
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

Question 6, below, was implemented because I felt it was important to hear how familiar people “thought” they were with asexuality.

understanding sexual attraction and asexuality3
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

Question 7 asked participants to rate their levels of sexual attraction to members of the same sex and members of the opposite sex. This question was important because it is similar to the Kinsey scale, shown below.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey developed this scale to determine how an individual’s sexual orientation correlated with his or her sexual attraction and activities. The scale ranges from 0, exclusively heterosexual, to 6, exclusively homosexual.

understanding sexual attraction and asexuality4
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

This question is very essential to the survey, because it illuminates the ideology behind asexuality. I wanted to see how much sexual attraction influences the participant’s choice of partners. I offered an “Other” option because I realized there could be special circumstances surrounding this question.

understanding sexual attraction and asexuality5
Understanding Sexual Attraction and Asexuality

The final two questions are directly related to asexuality.

Question 9 asks if the participant believes that two people can have a “sexless” relationship.

Finally, Question 10 asks the participant to choose the definition of asexuality. I used common wrong definitions of asexuality.

results and analysis
Results and Analysis

Question 1. What is your age?

65% of those surveyed were between 18 and 20 years old.

Only 5 participants were under the age of 18; and 5 were over the age of 25.

I did not find a significant difference in the responses of any of the age groups.

results and analysis1
Results and Analysis

Question 2. What is your gender?

33 women and 22 men took my survey.

The distribution of my survey was widespread, and I did not calculate the number of men and women that I sent it to.

results and analysis2
Results and Analysis

Question 3. Sexual Orientation

Of the 55 people that completed my survey, 47 (85%) indicated that they are heterosexual.

4 individuals (7%) identified as bisexual.

2 individuals (4%) indicated that they are homosexual, and another 2 individuals

(4%) stated that they are questioning their sexualities. Not surprisingly, none of the subjects identify as asexual.

results and analysis3
Results and Analysis

Question 5. Have you ever questioned your sexuality?

Question 4. At what age did you first experience sexual attraction?

The responses to this question ranged from 5 years old to 19 years old. Two participants answered “Never”. 47% of the participants stated that they first experienced sexual attraction between the ages of 10 and 13.

An overwhelming 20 (36%) participants admitted to having questioned


sexuality at

one time or


results and analysis4
Results and Analysis

Question 6. How familiar are you with the term “asexuality”?

There was nearly a 3-way tie between somewhat, fairly, and very familiar with the meaning of the term. This means that 77.3% of those surveyed felt that they were at least somewhat familiar with the term “asexuality”.

results and analysis5
Results and Analysis

Question 7. Rating levels of sexual attraction

73% of the participants indicated that they are extremely attracted to the opposite sex, yet 85% identified as heterosexual.

What does that say about an individual’s “normal” level of sexual attraction?

results and analysis6
Results and Analysis

Question 7. Continued…

Even though 85% of the participants stated that they are heterosexual, only 58% said that they were NOT AT ALL attracted to the same sex. On the same note, only a combined 11% of participants indicated that they are homosexual or “Sometimes” or “Ext

bisexual, yet a mysterious 23% are either

remely” attracted to the same sex!

results and analysis7
Results and Analysis

Question 8. Have you ever been emotionally, but not sexually, attracted to someone?

results and analysis8
Results and Analysis

Question 8. Continued…

47.3% of the participants said “Yes, and therefore I could not date him/her.”

27.3% said “Yes but it did not impact my decision to date him/her.” This would be similar to an asexual relationship.

12.7% just said “No.”

I received 7 “Other” replies. Here are a few:

My personal favorite

“Yes, and the emotional attraction made me start to see them physically attractive”.

“Yes, and although it made my decision to not date that person I just enjoy sexual attraction.”


results and analysis9
Results and Analysis

Question 9. Do you think that two individuals can successfully carry on a long-term intimate relationship without ever engaging in sexual activities?

To my surprise, an overwhelming 78.2% of participants do believe that a couple can have an intimate relationship without engaging in sex.

results and analysis10
Results and Analysis

Question 10. Choose the best definition…

I was really surprised to see that 85% of the participants chose the correct definition. Only 8 individuals answered incorrectly.

When looking at the results, I saw no pattern of age in those who chose correctly and those who did not.


After distributing and closing the survey, I found many things that I would have liked to have changed. I realized that my survey had little relevance to my topic, with the exception of the last few questions. I wish that I had implemented the Kinsey Scale into my rating scale of attraction. However, the main conclusion I came to was that the survey was very vague.

I only realized this when I read one of the “Other” responses to the question regarding dating someone that is emotionally, but not sexually attractive. This was his/her response:

“I am not sure what "emotionally attracted" is defined as. Would it be like you’re in love with their personality and the way they are, yet you don’t find them attractive? Or would it be that you have this type of connection that is unexplainable but not sexual/physical?”

I realized that even I did not understand the meaning of sexual attraction, much less emotional attraction. Without understanding either of those, one cannot understand asexuality!

what is asexuality
What is Asexuality?
  • Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction and/or sexual desire.
  • Celibacy is the choice to abstain from sex, usually for religious reasons.
  • Unlike celibacy,

asexuality is not a decision.

asexuality on the internet
Asexuality on the Internet

There are very few websites on the Internet that are specifically created for asexuals.

The most prominent of these is AVEN, or

The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network.

the asexuality visibility and education network
The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network

AVEN was founded by David Jay, right, in 2001. To his left, is Andrew Hinderliter, active member of AVEN’s Project Team, and author of several

articles and blogs regarding asexuality. Together, Jay and Hinderliter maintain AVEN and the promotion of asexuality awareness.

asexuality from an asexual s view
Asexuality from an Asexual’s View

In response to my post on the AVEN forum, I received one audio recording, and one video, both sent anonymously.


Thank you to David Jay, Andrew Hinderliter, Chris Williams, and Jay_Jay_Jay from AVEN.