This is by far the most comprehensive mapping of Asexuality ever made.
In this dataset we have surveyed and aggregated over 212,960 data points from 3,872 respondents. It is by far the largest study of the prevalence of asexual so far.
Please get in contact to get the full dataset – available for SPSS, Stata, R, & SAS. The below article are short teasers on some of the conclusion drawn from the dataset.
You may use material from this report and dataset as long as you refer to this original report. For special requests, the full dataset, or questions, please email email@example.com.
Who Identifies as Asexual?
- From 1- 1.7% of sexual adults who identify as being queer also identify as asexual.
- Asexuals tend to be women or gender non-binary and assigned female at birth (65%).
- Asexual people reported significantly less sexual encounters (1-5) than non-asexual participants.
- They are however more likely to be in an open, platonic, or other close relationship (75%).
- Over 27% of aces identify as women with 72% saying they are genderqueer/non-binary.
- An overwhelming majority of asexuals were born female (86%), compared to born male.
- Nearly 91% of ace people are considered to be young to middle aged.
- One in three aces report being sexually attracted to someone in some way at some point.
- More than half report having had sex at least once with the enjoyment being reported at 50/50.
- 59% compared with 61% general population say they have a platonic non sexual relationship.
- Asexuals reported greater discrimination and stigma compared to others in the LGBTQ community.
- Around 80% report feeling alienated or judged by those inside and outside the queer community.
How Many People Consider Themselves Asexual?
- It is estimated that the total LGBT+ population in the US was 11,343,000, or 4.5 percent of the total population with some recent surveys showing a slow increase in the number of asexuals publicly identifying as such.
- Based off current estimates, the total US population that identifies as some level of asexual is around 260,000 people. Numbers are thought to be similar in other countries but with less support and recognition than seen in the USA.
- It is very likely that the actual number is much higher as many people who identify as asexual may not see themselves as part of the LGBT+ community or may not feel welcomed by some in the queer community as a whole.
In 2022 surveys of young people who said they were asexual, when asked “do you consider yourself asexual?’ the results showed- ace (93.4%), unsure if ace (3.9%), or non-ace or questioning (2.7%). Two thirds of people identified as ace or unsure also said they felt the closest connection to asexuality compared to other options. Another 11% of these participants stated they were questioning, 10% who identified as gray-asexual and 9% who identified as demisexual. A final 2% did not identify or wrote in a custom response on the survey.
Co-Occurrence of Sexual/Romantic Identity
Asexuals can have co-identities and identity with queer, pan, non-binary, and a number of other sexual and romantic labels.
- Aces who identified as gay had the greatest co-occurrence of identifying as queer (67.7%).
- However, more than half of all LGBP aces also identified as queer (53.9% pansexual, 52.6% lesbian, and 50.5% bisexual).
- About a third of respondents across ace-spectrum identities (37.5% gray-asexual, 33.6% demisexual, 31.3% asexual, 29.8% aego-/autochorissexual), as well as those who were questioning or unsure of their sexual orientation (31.9%), also identified as queer.
- Heterosexual/straight aces had by far the lowest proportion who also identified as queer, at 9.8%.
Attraction for Aces
When asexuals were asked in recent surveys about the types of attraction they experience aside from traditional romantic attraction, a majority responded that they experience the following:
- aesthetic attraction (74.1%)- enjoying someone’s look and style with no interest in romance
- platonic attraction (65.2%)- enjoying someone’s company but in a non-sexual non-romantic way
- emotional attraction (52.0%)- liking the connection and support gained from being with another
- unsure/questioning (18.8%)- not yet sure wht their preference was or how they saw attraction
- didn’t see feel any (12.2%)- did not believe they feel any sort of attraction to another individual
Signs of Affection and Intimacy For Asexuals
- hugging (87.4%)
- cuddling and snuggling (82.0%)
- holding hands in public (81.0%)
- kissing other than mouth (77.0%).
- Non-romantic bed-sharing (65.0%)
- bedsharing with cuddling (60.3%)
- pet names or terms of endearment (58.9%)
- gifts general seen as romantic (58.1%),
- unsure/no experience with intimacy (30%)
- open kissing on the mouth (42.6%)
- tickling or foreplay (38.7%)
- nonpenetrative sexual contact (18.1%)
- nudity of or with partner (15.8%),
- favorable toward penetrative sexual contact (9.3%)
- unfavorable toward penetrative sexual contact (65.2%)
- indifferent or unsure toward penetrative sexual contact (25.5%)
Snapshot of Asexuals in the Community
A psychological survey of 300 young people showed the following breakdown when respondents were questions about their asexual identity:
- 247 said they were asexual
- 4 chose bisexual
- 18 identified as heterosexual
- 1 chose homosexual
- 4 said they were queer
- 5 chose ‘other’ or mutli
- 4 said they were unsure/unknown
- 5 refused to answer
- Middle schoolers – 2 (0.7%)
- Did not finish high school -8 (2.8%)
- Currently high schoolers- 60 (21%)
- Some college or secondary training- 16 (5.7%)
- College grad or still in college- 144 (51%)
- Working on post-secondary- 2 (0.7%)
- Have or working on masters- 30 (11%)
- Have or working on doctorate 15 (5.3%)
- Other responses- 6 (2.1%)
- Did not answer- 5
- 199 (71%) said they saw themselves as female
- 82 (29%) said they saw themselves as male
- 6 said they feel they are fluid/non-binary, blank or had no gender
- 77 (31.4%) reported they were hetero-romantic
- 43 (17.5%) said they were biromantic or panromantic
- 43 (17.5%) answered with aromantic attractions
- 33 (13.5%) listed they were unsure of their attraction
- 21 (8.6%) saw romantic and non-romantic attraction equally
- 16 (6.5%) identified as homo-romantic or straight
- 7 (2.9%) were attracted to non-binary or said they were non-binary themselves
- 3 (1.2%) exclusively attracted to androgynes
- 2 (0.8%) other or a combination of attraction
- 2 did not answer
Asexuality as Part of the LGBTQ Community
Recent polls of young people reported that 5.6% of US adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Approximately 80% said that they were straight or non-queer. More than 7% refused to answer citing concerns of privacy and personal safety.
More than 50% of LGBT adults identify as bisexual, with 25% identify as gay, 10% as lesbian, and 10% as transgender.
Additionally, nearly 5% of respondents chose queer, ace, poly, non-binary, or some other term to describe themselves.
As a percentage of all US adults, it is estimated that 3% identify as bisexual, 2% as gay, 1% as lesbian, 0.5% as transgender, and 1% as some other identify under the queer umbrella, including asexual.
Current surveys of the asexual population show that:
- Nearly 1/3 of asexuals are under the age of 20
- Approximately 35% are between 20 and 25 years of age
- Almost a quarter of young asexuals identify as transgender or questioning
- Half of respondents said they felt ‘different’ from a young age
- The majority of asexuals (nearly 80%) don’t come out till their late teens
- The majority of ace respondents (80.9%) identified as White or of European descent.
- Close to 10% identified as Hispanic, Latinx, or Chicanx
- Nearly 8% identified as Mixed or Multi-Racial.
Other identities included
- Jewish (4%),
- East Asian (5%),
- South Asian (3%),
- Southeast Asian (2%),
- North American Native (2%),
- Black African (1%)
- Other (3%)
Famous Asexuals You Might Know
- Tim Gunn
- Yasmin Benoit
- Emily Brontë
- Janeane Garofalo
- Isaac Newton
- Paula Poundstone
- Mikey Neumann
- Caitlyn Jenner
- Erica Mendez
- David Archuleta
- Keri Hulme
- David Jay
- Nikola Tesla
- John Frusciante
- Temple Grandin
- Emilie Autumn
- Ana Gabriel
- Marilyn Monroe
- Michaela Coel
- Bradford Cox
- Edward Gorey
- Kim Deal
- Mike Skinner
- Ricky Dillon
- T. E. Lawrence
- H.P. Lovecraft
How Common is Asexuality Today?
Asexuality is not a new aspect of human sexuality, but it is relatively new to public discourse. Ace individuals, those who self-identify as asexual, often embrace more than one single identity as well. It’s hard to nail down an exact number of how many asexuals there are because of this. However, it is said that asexual people comprise a small part of the population based on the most recent survey data and that more people are identifying as ace and being more open about their identity as asexual.
How Asexual People See Themselves Sexually
Asexual individuals can have any number of combinations of these attitudes towards sex. Not all aces are LGBTQ and many can identify as straight or heterosexual. So, understanding how they view sex can be complicated but these stats and figures are important to understand. This complicated breakdown among ace individuals can be briefly summarized in this chart:
|Sex-Positive||Accepting, allowing, approving of, and embracing sexuality in society as a whole as well as in their own relationships.||Accepting sexuality and the view that is ok for those in the broader society, but are usually indifferent with a if it happens it happens view of sexing their own relationships.||Accepting of sex as a thing people in broader society do and are of with them doing so, but are unable to enjoy it themselves and do not seek it out for themselves.|
|Sex-Neutral||Generally indifferent to moderate examples of sex in broader society, but will do something more or less ‘sexual’ in their own relationships is necessary at times.||Okay or indifferent to basic portrayals of sex and sexual relationships in society while maintaining a level of apathy towards it themselves.||Mostly ok or indifferent to moderate portrayals of sex in society and media, but can’t find any appeal or joy in sex within their own relationships.|
|Sex-Negative||Critical of sexual openness and sex in media or public displays in broader society, but willing to partake and participate in such in rare occasions with their own partners.||Critical of the sexualization of society and often outspoken against in public while also being cold and indifferent to sexual relationships of their own.||Critical open sex-related themes and displays in the general public, and unable to enjoy it in any way withing their own relationships with others.|
What Are All These Terms About?
- Asexual: Someone who has no sexual attraction or feels no desire to have participate in a sexual relationship or have sex for the sake of ‘having or enjoying sex alone.’
- Demisexual: Someone who feels sexual attraction or desire only when they have gotten to know a person on a deep emotional level.
- Gray-asexual (gray-a) or gray-sexual: Someone who is not seeking out sex actively but is fine with sex in certain situations or with certain individuals.
- Allosexual: Someone with no sexual attraction or desire for a sex relations and is another term for someone who is sexual when they choose to be.
- Attraction: The draw people feel towards each other- it takes on many types, such as sexual, romantic, aesthetic, or sensual.
- Aesthetic attraction: Attraction to the appearance of an individual only with no sexual desires or needs tacked on to that feeling.
- Romantic attraction: Desire to be involved romantically with another person, or have romantic relationships that do not necessary include sex.
- Sensual attraction: Desire for physical contact that does not proceed sex such as holding hands, kissing, snuggling, etc.
- Sexual attraction: Desire for sexual relationships and actions with another person and to be open to sex with said individual.
- Sexual orientation: An distinctiveness characteristically based on the focus of an individual’s sexual attraction, or lack thereof.
- Romantic orientation: A label typically based on the gendered attraction of an individual, for example, heteroromantic, homoromantic, aromantic.
- Asexual umbrella: Asexuality and identities that are similar or considered offshoots- demisexuality or gray sexuality for example.
- Ace: An informal label for asexuals or people who identify or feel they are asexual and what a shorter and simpler label to use.
- Queerplatonic relationship: A committed relationship between asexuals that is nether sexual overly romantic in nature.
The View on Asexual and Sexual Expressions
The following terms are often used by the media and general public when discussing sexual attraction and lifestyles. They can also be used by ace individuals to describe their relationship with and openness to sexual partners and sexual acts in general.
- Sex-Favorable: a positive willingness to engage and compromise on sexual acts with a partner
- Sex-Indifferent: might be willing to compromise on a few things but general doesn’t want sex
- Sex-Averse/Sex-Repulsed: has a distressed reaction to the thought of having sex and won’t engage
- Sex-Positive: healthy portrayals of sexuality with no shaming or shunning those who have sex
- Sex-Neutral: mid-lane view of sexuality, ok with sex education, alternative lifestyles are hush-hush
- Sex-Negative: censorship/ banning of sex, shunning education, no alternative lifestyles accepted
Asexuality 101 – What It Is and Is Not
One of the most cited complaints asexuals have about how others see them is they assume they are just prudes or look down on people who do have sex.
While being asexual should not be viewed as a disorder it can cause a person a certain level of distress, which leads some mental health experts to see it as a sort of disorder. Asexuals may be seen as unique and even unusual by people not familiar with this orientation and identity. But it is not something that should be seen in a negative light.
Asexuality is not:
- A vow of celibacy or chastity
- Being a prude or stuck up
- Being judgmental or ‘better’ than others
- A mental or sexual disorder
- A symptom stemming from trauma
- A decision or conscious choice
- Saving one’s self for marriage or God
- Considering yourself too good
- A statement of righteousness or purity
- A moral decision or social stance
- A phase or trend
Asexuals and Sexual Activity
Despite the lack of sexual attraction that characterizes asexuality, many asexuals engage in sexual activity to varying degrees. The following are some key findings on this topic:
- 21.6% of asexuals report having no sex drive (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- In a survey of gender and sexual minorities, 46.46% of asexual participants reported not having had sex in the past five years (Archives of Sexual Behavior).
- 65% of asexuals have never had sex, while 12.4% are currently sexually active and 22.5% have been sexually active in the past (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- The average age for an asexual’s first sexual activity is 18.12 (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- Asexuals who do have sex engage in it at varying levels of frequency, with 15.6% reporting having sex a few times a week and 10.7% reporting having sex once a year or less (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
Asexual Relationships – Romantic & Aromantic
Asexuality affects not only sexual attraction but also romantic attraction. Some asexuals are romantically attracted to others, while others are not. The following are some key findings on this topic:
- Asexuals can be divided into two categories: those who experience romantic attraction (romantic asexuals) and those who do not (aromantic asexuals) (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- The majority of asexuals (66%) report being interested in romantic relationships (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- Among romantic asexuals, some have romantic relationships with other asexuals, while others have romantic relationships with sexual individuals (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
- Aromantic asexuals may still desire close relationships with others, such as friendships or platonic partnerships (Asexual Visibility and Education Network).
Do Asexuals Fantasize?
Fantasizing is a common part of human sexuality, but it is often assumed that asexuals do not experience sexual fantasies due to their lack of sexual attraction. However, research shows that this is not necessarily the case. The following are some key findings on this topic:
- Asexuals do experience sexual fantasies, although the frequency and nature of these fantasies vary widely (Brotto & Yule, 2017).
- Asexuals may experience fantasies that involve non-sexual elements, such as emotional intimacy or physical touch (Brotto & Yule, 2017).
- Some asexuals may experience fantasies that are explicitly sexual in nature, while others may not (Brotto & Yule, 2017).
- Asexuals who do experience sexual fantasies may find them enjoyable or pleasurable, even if they do not experience sexual attraction (Brotto & Yule, 2017).
Asexual individuals have varying attitudes towards masturbation, with some choosing to do so regularly while others don’t. In one study, 56% of asexuals reported masturbating at least once a month. Asexual men report masturbating at the same frequency as sexual men, while asexual women masturbate less frequently on average.
Those who do choose to masturbate often cite reasons such as relieving tension and feeling like they have to do it. The procedure of masturbation itself is often without a sexual or romantic fantasy, with the focus being on physical sensations rather than erotic images. It’s more about fulfilling a physical need than innate sexual desire or arousal.
Here is a table summarizing the reported reasons for masturbation among asexual men and women:
|Reason for asexual mastubating||Men||Women|
|Feel like I have to||25%||13%|
Asexuality is not apleasure – sex toys
Contrary to popular belief, asexuality does not equate to a lack of pleasure or interest in sexual activities. In fact, as highlighted in a Mashable article by Cassie Murdoch, many asexual individuals, often referred to as “ace”, actively engage with and review sex toys. This challenges the stereotype that asexual individuals have no interest in sexual gadgets or activities.
Taryn, a 26-year-old ace from the Pacific Northwest, is one such individual who has been actively writing sex-positive sex toy reviews on her blog, “Ace In The Hole”. Her reviews span a wide range of topics, from kink and erotic audio to practical concerns like how easily a silicone toy might attract cat hair (some intentionally, such as tail butt plugs shaped like a cat’s tail). Interestingly, many of her reviews are so comprehensive that without context, one might not even realize they were written by someone who identifies as asexual.
The article also touches upon the diverse range of sex toys available in the market. While some asexual individuals are turned off by overtly anatomical designs, such as realistic dildos or male masturbation sleeves designed to resemble realistic labia, others have a preference for fantasy designs. For instance, the specialty online store Bad Dragon offers a range of fantasy-themed toys that have garnered attention from the ace community. Moreover, the way sex toys are packaged and marketed also plays a significant role in their appeal. Tom, another asexual blogger, noted that many asexual individuals found overtly sexualized packaging off-putting.
In conclusion, the world of sex toys is vast and varied, catering to a wide range of preferences and orientations. Asexuality, while distinct in its definition, does not exclude individuals from exploring and enjoying the pleasures that these gadgets can offer. The key takeaway is that pleasure is subjective, and everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the right to explore and understand what brings them joy and satisfaction.