Attitudes Towards Sexual Behaviors: Asexuals Versus Heterosexuals, Homosexuals, and Bisexuals

Amanda K. Dawson


Prior research on attitudes towards sexual behaviors has largely focused on gender differences, rather than on sexual orientation.  I examined people's views of sexual relationships and behaviors, comparing asexuals (people who do not experience sexual attraction) to non-asexuals (heterosexuals, homosexuals, or bisexuals).  I hypothesized that asexuals would consider heterosexual, homosexual, and polyamorous relationships to be more personally acceptable than non-asexuals would.  I hypothesized that there would be no difference between asexuals’ and non-asexuals’ ratings of the social acceptability of the three relationship types.  I also hypothesized that there would be differences between asexuals' and non-asexuals' attitudes towards sexual behaviors.  I recruited participants from Hendrix College (N=140) and from the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) forums (N=152).  Participants were asked to rate the acceptability of heterosexual, homosexual, and polyamorous relationships, how acceptable society considered those relationships, and the acceptability of various sexual behaviors on a seven-point Likert scale.  Asexuals were less accepting of heterosexual relationships than non-asexuals, but more accepting of homosexual relationships and polyamorous relationships than non-asexuals.  There were no differences in social acceptability of heterosexual, homosexual, or polyamorous relationships between asexual and non-asexual participants.  There were no significant differences found between asexuals and non-asexuals in attitudes towards masturbation, casual sex, pornography, erotica, sadomasochism, bondage, autoerotic asphyxiation, dominance/submission, exhibitionism, or voyeurism.  Asexuals were more accepting of prostitution and extramarital sex (defined as sex outside marriage with one's spouses consent) than non-asexuals.  This acceptance of polyamorous relationships, extramarital sex with partner’s consent, and prostitution may indicate that asexuals may be more likely to consider these options when in a relationship with a non-asexual.


Asexuality; Attitudes Towards Sexual Behaviors; Sexual Relationships

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