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Scientific studies on asexuality and aromanticism

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by Keane, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Keane

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    Hey everyone :slight_smile:

    I wanted to know if any of you know about any scientific research regarding asexuality or aromanticism, or have any own thoughts on them.


    About asexuality...

    Here's what I know:
    Studies show that there are about 1% of asexuals.
    Asexuality has been found in many other species.
    Asexuality seems to have some link with Asperger's syndrome in a lot of cases.
    Pyschological problems can have an effect on sexual and romantic attraction.

    If you are interested, I recommend the film/documentary (A)sexual :slight_smile:

    Here are the studies I found:
    -An experiment was conducted on sheep in 2001 that concluded that 2-3% of the animals studied had no apparent interest in mating with either sex and were asexual. They found that there were no abnormalities in their health or hormone levels.

    -The Kinsey Scale = a rating system from 0 to 6 of an individual's sexual orientation. Alfred Kinsey included a category called "X" for individuals with "no socio-sexual contacts or reactions" and he placed 1.5% of the adult male population in this category in the mid-twentieth century.

    -Michael D. Storms published a study in 1980 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in which he redifined the Kinsey scale by focusing only on fantasizing and eroticism, and excluded actual sexual behavior. Storms put hetero-eroticism and homo-eroticism on separate axes rather than at two ends of a single scale so that there was a clear distinction between bisexuality and asexuality. He concluded that many researchers following the Kinsey scale could be mis-categorizing asexual individuals as bisexual, because both were simply defined by a lack of preference for gender in sexual partners.

    -"In accordance with current psychiatric conceptions, a person with no sexual desire may be diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (F52.0 in ICD-10, “lack or loss of sexual desire”) or sexual aversion disorder (F52.1) [...] But most asexuals do not suffer from the absence of sexual drive.[11] This fact allows Anthony F. Bogaert to conclude that that the term asexuality should not necessarily be used to describe a pathological or health-compromised state [...] Currently, evidence does not suggest that cognitions and behaviors associated with asexuality necessarily signal a problem. [...] Some experimental findings challenge the view that asexuality should be characterized as a sexual dysfunction."

    -"Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is considered a sexual dysfunction and is characterized as a lack or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity, as judged by a clinician. [...] The cause of lifelong/generalized HSDD is unknown. In the case of acquired/generalized low sexual desire, possible causes include various medical/health problems, psychiatric problems, low levels of testosterone or high levels of prolactin. One theory suggests that sexual desire is controlled by a balance between inhibitory and excitatory factors. This is thought to be expressed via neurotransmitters in selective brain areas. A decrease in sexual desire may therefore be due to an imbalance between neurotransmitters with excitatory activity like dopamine and norepinephrine and neurotransmitters with inhibitory activity, like serotonin."

    -"the findings suggest normal subjective and physiological sexual arousal capacity in asexual women and challenge the view that asexuality should be characterized as a sexual dysfunction."



    Here's interesting information I found on the internet:
    -"Most asexuals are sex-repulsed also, but some aces aren’t, and there are also some sex-repulsed allosexuals, so while there is correlation, they aren’t precisely the same thing"
    (about sex aversion/repulsion and asexuality Concept Awesome, Teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and sex-aversion/sex-repulsion and Carnival of Aces: July 2014 Round-Up of Everything Submitted!! | From Fandom to Family: Sharing my many thoughts)

    -"Sexual motivation is influenced by hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and vasopressin. In most mammalian species, sex hormones control the ability to engage in sexual behaviours. However, sex hormones do not directly regulate the ability to copulate in primates (including humans). Rather, sex hormones in primates are only one influence on the motivation to engage in sexual behaviours."

    -"So, is loss of sex drive a hormonal problem? Well, the jury is still out on that one – though some clinicians certainly appear to believe that testosterone can 'cure your lack of libido'."

    -"Following natural or surgically induced menopause, many women experience declines in sexual motivation. Menopause is associated with a rapid decline of estrogen, as well as a steady rate of decline of androgens. The decline of estrogen and androgen levels is believed to account for the lowered levels of sexual desire and motivation in postmenopausal women, although the direct relationship is not well understood."

    -"Polyamorous women have both higher levels of testosterone and score higher on measures of sexual desire than women who are single or women who are in single-partner relationships"

    -"Insufficient oxytocin release may conversely diminish sexual arousal and motivation in females. High levels of vasopressin may lead to decreases in sexual motivation for females. A link between vasopressin release and aggression has been observed, which may impair female sexual arousal and sexual motivation by leading to feelings of neglect and hostility toward a sexual partner"

    -"The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin may also help to regulate sexual motivation in males. Oxytocin is released at orgasm for human males, and promotes both emotional bonding and sexual pleasure. Based on the pleasure model of sexual motivation, the increased sexual pleasure that occurs following oxytocin release may encourage motivation to engage in future sexual activities. [...] The increase of vasopressin during erectile response may be directly associated with increased motivation to engage in sexual behaviour."

    -" The elimination of testosterone in adulthood has been shown to reduce sexual motivation in both male humans and male primates. Male humans who had their testicular function suppressed with a GnRH anatagonist displayed decreases in sexual desire and masturbation two weeks following the procedure." --> but asexuals don't usually have any problems with masturbation.

    -"Research has shown that certain body odors are connected to human sexual attraction. Both fluctuating asymmetry (FA) and the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) are connected to scent. HLA is the human version of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a protein complex that plays a role in an individual’s immunities and self- versus nonself-recognition. FA affects body symmetry, which in turn affects body size and stress tolerance. Studies have not suggested that one scent caused by a particular HLA is more attractive to all individuals, but they have demonstrated attraction between individuals of certain HLA types. Research has also shown that the scent of low FA person is universally more attractive, and that facial attractiveness is connected to attractiveness of scent."





    References:
    Sexual motivation and hormones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    CNN.com - Study: One in 100 adults asexual - Oct 14, 2004
    Scientific Research - Asexuality
    The Big Debate - Asexuality
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality
    Research relating to asexuality - AVENwiki
    Asexuality Bibliography | Asexual Explorations
    Asexual Science
    Producing facts: Empirical asexuality and the scientific study of sex
    HowStuffWorks "How Asexuality Works"
    Sexual desire and your hormones
    Body odor and subconscious human sexual attraction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Research Agenda | Asexual Explorations
     
  2. LadyRedRover

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    Thanks for putting this all together! I haven't looked through it all yet, but this definitely helps!
     
  3. Chip

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    At least the last time I looked, the existing studies on asexuality were abysmally bad. Poor methodology, no accounting for confounding factors, that sort of thing. I have not looked at the above reference list but I will when I get a moment.

    This is definitely an area where well designed research is needed. I hope at some point someone will do some decent research on the topic, as the existing misinformation is doing an enormous disservice to people trying to find themselves.