Journal Club: Prause and Graham 2007

Last week, we discussed “Asexuality: classification and characterization,” a 2007 paper by Nicole Prause and Cynthia Graham.

Prause, N., & Graham, C. a. (2007). Asexuality: classification and characterization. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36(3), 341–56. doi:10.1007/s10508-006-9142-3

Prause and Graham conducted in-depth interviews with four asexuals and used those responses to design a survey that was administered to about a thousand people. They were interested in how asexuals and non-asexuals compared on measures like sexual arousability, sexual desire, and sexual inhibition, as well as basic demographic data and sexual histories. Compared to non-asexuals, asexuals had significantly lower sexual desire, especially for partnered sex, and reported lower sexual arousability. However, both groups had about the same levels of sexual inhibition, desire to masturbate, and lifetime number of sex partners. A more detailed summary can be found here.

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

  • the distinction between sexual motivation and sexual desire
  • the definitions of sexual partner and sexual activity than the survey used, and whether this might have confused the participants
  • some of the trollish answers on the surveys that had to be later excluded
  • other ways in which survey design may have skewed results
  • how can you have a mean that’s lower than a standard deviation by a factor of three, anyway?
  • operational definitions and why they’re important
  • different emphases on the costs and benefits of sex among asexuals and sexuals (asexuals focused on costs, sexuals focused on benefits)
  • whether sexual people have any idea what asexual people think the costs and benefits of asexuality are
  • whether aces were more likely to be concerned about being asexual or not
  • asexual opinions about masturbation

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 Saturday, we will not be reading a paper at all. Instead, because relatively few people will be present, we will be discussing trends in the papers we have read and in the journal club discussions that have happened thus far.

The following week (June 1) we will be discussing Macinnis & Hodgson’s 2012 paper “Intergroup bias towards “Group X”: Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance and discrimination against asexuals.

MacInnis, C. C., & Hodson, G. (2012). Intergroup bias toward “Group X”: Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15(6), 725–743. doi:10.1177/1368430212442419

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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