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.