Susie McClanahan ♦ 2015 Global Scholars Symposium
Title: Asexuals and their Communities: Asexuality in Everyday Life
Abstract: Asexuality is generally defined as a lack of sexual attraction, yet this definition fails to encapsulate the important role an asexual identity plays in an individual’s formation of reality. In order to understand asexuality from the perspective of asexuals and recognize asexuality as an identity, this study examines how asexuals negotiate relationships within their various communities in regards to their asexuality. Interviews were conducted with 11 self-identified asexual individuals about how asexuality factored into their relationships with family, friends, institutions of education, and workplaces. Their responses were interpreted through social psychology’s identity theory. Interviewees made diverse decisions about how, when, and with whom to share their identity. This study serves both as preliminary research into the experiences of asexuals and as a challenge to the framework of identity theory and its presumption of a supportive structure in which one seeks identity validation.