Asexuality Journal Club: Yule & Brotto 2013

Last week, we discussed “Mental health and interpersonal functioning in self-identified asexual men and women,” which attempts to discern whether asexual people are more or less likely to have mental health issues than people of other sexual orientations. There was also a focus on personality differences between groups.

Yule, M. A., Brotto, L. A. & Gorzalka, B. B. 2013. Mental health and interpersonal functioning in self-identified asexual men and women. Psychology and Sexuality, 1–16.

Among other things, the authors here wanted to know whether asexual people were likely to be different on a number of personality dimensions from people of other sexual orientations. In this case, they compared asexuals to heterosexual people as well as to “non-heterosexuals,” a group of lumped samples of gay and bisexual people. Their data was acquired through taking several personality inventories and mental health scales–essentially, standardized surveys that have been used before in other contexts, not designed for this study. They also asked questions about levels of suicidal ideation and suicidal thoughts.  For a more in depth summary of the paper, I encourage you to check out ace-muslim’s excellent post here

A general transcript of of the week’s conversation can be found here. Briefly, the conversation focused on some of the following topics:

  • sampling issues (again)–can you really compare a sample of asexuals taken largely from the Internet to samples of heterosexual people who are largely college freshmen and samples of gay and bisexual people recruited from offline communities?
  • If not, how could we do sampling better? Are there online communities that might support within-community comparisons as a control for this effect?
  • whether problems with the survey questions could account for the finding that asexuals scored higher on “social avoidancy” and “coldness”
  • the relationship of asexuality to Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • noticing that asexual people seemed to frequently cluster with gay and bisexual people rather than heterosexual people
  • a general desire to look at how the numbers fell out for people of different romantic orientations (do heteroromantic aces cluster with heterosexual people or asexuals more generally?)
  • ideas on how asexual communities could help deal with sampling issues
  • asexual experiences with therapy
  • the importance of training mental health professionals to react well to asexuality
  • the need for a system of identifying asexual-friendly or LGBT-friendly therapists outside of college campuses

As a reminder to anyone who would like to join in on these journal clubs, they are held at 1:00 PM PDT on Saturday afternoons  over a group Skype chat. People who would like to be added to the skype chat should contact Skype user sennkestra and ask to be added to the group. Next week, we will be taking a side trip through law with “Compulsory Sexuality,” a paper on the legal ramifications of asexuality.

Emens, E. F. 2013. Compulsory Sexuality. Stanford Law Review, 66, 1-68.

About Sciatrix

Sciatrix is an American graduate student studying ecology, evolution and behavior. She identifies as asexual and has mostly given up trying to sort out the whole romance thing for now. She has previously blogged about asexuality at Writing From Factor X. In her free time, she trains in canine agility and knits oddly cabled hats.
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6 Responses to Asexuality Journal Club: Yule & Brotto 2013

  1. Siggy says:

    The Ace-friendly Psychs wiki, which was referred to in the transcript but not linked, was created after the 2012 SF pride ace unconference. I lost all confidence in the wiki when none of them responded to my facebook message asking if it was in fact functional. It sort of seems like they started it, and then lost interest. Is it even possible for people to register and add to the wiki? I haven’t tried.

    • Sciatrix says:

      Ah, I had actually not heard of this to start with! Was it ever advertised widely online?

      It looks like I can add to the wiki without registering per se, which would be a useful feature if I had ever heard of it. My experience trying to promote a meetup/offline community map is that you have to advertise things like that repeatedly and over a long period of time if you want people to actually add to them, and the map is still really dead. It can be really disheartening if you’re used to seeing people respond quickly to new initiatives.

      • Siggy says:

        I have seen no advertisements, except that greenchestnuts has plugged it weekly for the past year on her tumblr. I think I had initially brought it to her attention. I didn’t plug it any further myself, because I was pretty annoyed that everyone ignored my question.

        • Sciatrix says:

          Huh–I have no idea how the fact that there was a wiki involved on that project had slipped my mind. Man, I’m feeling absent-minded now. Clearly I’ve been failing at reading comprehension for a while.

  2. Pingback: “Coldness” on the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems, and Asexuality | Next Step: Cake

  3. nextstepcake says:

    Also, since one of the things we talked about that was rather interesting was how the nature of the survey questions may have biased the results when it came to asexuals, I’ve posted a copy of the questions used here for any interested:

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