Is asexuality a fourth sexual orientation?
AVEN web site. Asexual symbol & slang terms.
Is asexuality a fourth sexual orientation?:
Most specialists in human sexuality consider asexuality as either:
- A fourth sexual orientation along with heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. This approach covers all of the possible combination of sexual attractions among and between humans:
- Heterosexuality: sexual attraction only to persons of the opposite sex.
- Homosexuality: attraction only to persons of the same sex.
- Bisexuality: attraction to both men and women, although not necessarily to the same degree.
- Asexuality: sexual attraction to neither men nor women.
There are points of similarity among all four. Most human sexuality researchers consider that:
However, many religious and social conservatives reject these findings, and have reached opposite conclusions at least partly based on their interpretation of passages from the Bible. They typically regard homosexuality and bisexuality as chosen, abnormal, unnatural, and changeable through therapy and prayer.
- an individual discovers them, and does not choose them.
- They are all normal, natural sexual variations.
- They are fixed variations that are totally resistant to change, or nearly so.
- Other human sexuality specialists do not consider asexuality to be a sexual orientation. Rather, they may considered it to be the lack of a sexual orientation.
A major support and information source about and for asexual persons:
"The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) was founded in 2001 with two distinct goals: creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community. Since that time we have grown to host the world’s largest asexual community, serving as an informational resource for people who are asexual and questioning, their friends and families, academic researchers and the press. AVEN members throughout the world regularly engage in visibility projects, included but not limited to distributing informational pamphlets, leading workshops, arranging local meetups and speaking to interested press. The AVEN community centers around the web forum, which provides a safe space for asexual and questioning people and their partners, friends and families to discuss their experiences." 2
They have a bimonthly newsletter "AVENues" online in PDF format.
AVEN survey of the asexual community:
In 2008, AVEN conducted an online voluntary survey on its web site. Among the 281 useable responses:
- Their birth-assigned gender was: 71% female; 29% male.
- 248 identified their sexual orientation as asexual; 18 as heterosexual; 4 as bisexual, 4 as queer, 2 demisexual, and 1 each as celibate, homosexual; label-free, and 1 panamorous).
- Among the 248 asexual responders:
- 31.4% are hetero-romantic.
- 26.6% were unsure, did not answer, or "do not believe in a distinction between romantic and non-romantic attraction." or other.
- 17.5% are biromantic or panromantic.
- 17.5% are aromantic.
- 6.5% are homoromantic.
- 1.2% were exclusively attracted to androgynes -- individuals who regard themselves as having a gender between a woman and man. or as genderless.
- Only 26% identified themselves as Christian (a much lower percentage that the general population in their country). 54% were not-religious (a much higher percentage than among the general population). 3
- Curiously, the per-capita response from Canada was more than twice the U.S. rate. Perhaps it has something to do with the snow?
- Huffington Post has published a six part study on asexuality. 4 The following video is an introduction: 5
AVEN developed and now promotes this symbol for the asexual community. It has found wide acceptance.
The top horizontal bar represents the seven level Kinsey scale measuring sexual orientation, ranging from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) at the left to 6 (exclusively homosexual) at the right. The gradual shading from white to black represents the variation from sexual at the top to asexual at the bottom. 6
Asexual slang terms:
Persons in the asexual community have referred to themselves as an:
- Ace: This is derived from the first letters of "asexual," and is the most commonly used term. 7
- Amoeba: This is an early term now falling into disuse. It was derived from amoebas which are very small single-celled animals. Each amoeba reproduces by what is called "asexual reproduction:" by dividing itself into two. Thus there are no male and female amoebas. The slang term is confusing, because asexual humans either do not propagate at all, or propagate via sexual reproduction.
- Group X: This appears to be a rare term used to refer to the asexual commuity. It was apparently derived from the Kinsey study in which heterosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexality were graded on a scale of 0 to 6, and asexual persons were referred to as "X."
This topic continues in the next essay
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Asexual Visibility and Education Network's home page is at: http://www.asexuality.org
- "About AVEN," http://www.asexuality.org/
- "AVEN Survey 2008 - Results," Asexual Visibility and Education Network, at: http://www.asexuality.org/
- Dominique Mosbergen, "Asexuality: The 'X' In A Sexual World," Huffington Post, 2013-JUN-17, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- "What Is Asexuality? A Community's Coming Of Age," Huffington Post, 2013-JUN-17, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- "AVEN Triangle," Asexual Visibility and Education Network, on 2013-AUG-18, at: http://www.asexuality.org/
- "Asexual slang," Asexual Visibility and Education Network, on 2013-AUG-26, at: http://www.asexuality.org/
Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2013-NOV-04
Latest update: 2013-NOV-09
Author: B.A. Robinson