Question of the Week: December 12th, 2016

If there were a quiz that would tell you whether you were asexual, would you take it?

There is, of course such a quiz, created and validated by researcher Morag Yule in 2015.  It is said to capture 93% of self-identified asexuals.  (As for what it does with gray/demis, who knows?)  However, I refuse to take it, or even scrutinize it too closely.  I consider it lucky that it hasn’t been disseminated widely.  I just think no good could possibly come from it–outside of research, of course.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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15 Responses to Question of the Week: December 12th, 2016

  1. elainexe says:

    I think I have taken such quizzes before. Just for fun.
    Of course, I’m so so long past the questioning stage. I can only imagine such quizzes could cause anxiety and self-doubt.

  2. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Oh, hah, there is such a “Am I asexual?”-thing in German, an online test made by a psychologist, which was okay until someone decided to make a press release for a big queer online magazine out of it, claiming that nearly half of the people who identify as ace aren’t actually doing it “correctly”. The thing has methodical faults, so AktivistA wrote a reply. Fun thing was, the test first forces you to label yourself, only to then “debunk” the labeling if you were being unsure and picked some label at random. Which is, in my not so humble opionion, impolite even if you don’t plan to make the debunking a headline.
    Otherwise, it’s actually pretty solid, but I’d still not recommend it to someone actively questioning. Given that it assumes the authority to make a diagnosis of sorts, which is opposed to community politics, it probably leaves more room for doubt than, say, the AVEN FAQ.

  3. Silvermoon says:

    I feel the same. And wouldn’t the extent of one of those quizzes just be “how much do you fit a majority of/our perceived understanding of asexual people? So much room for bias and a lack of nuance.

  4. The Asexual Identification Scale made it to Cosmopolitan in spanish (“Are you asexual? Answer this test created by researchers of the British Columbia University and find out!”) so, haha. They even simplified the 1 to 5 scale answer to just Yes or Not.

    I’m definitely not gonna take it but even those who did it in my fb group were pissed off about its existence.

    • Also it has its own page the the AVENwiki in spanish, as the “Test validado de identificación asexual” (with a note that says “it’s not a crystal ball, introspection and self-identification are still more important”).

  5. I probably would take it during one of my worry-spirals where I’m looking desperately for external validation… not that it would be a good thing for me at all; I would just have trouble staying away while I was feeling insecure.

  6. Cracticus says:

    I’m grey-A, and worry that those sort of test don’t take people like me into account so don’t take them. I do wonder what definition they use for asexuality. Do they use the “never experiences sexual attraction” definition? Do they allow for exceptions? Do they allow for lesser used definitions of asexuality?

    • butterflo says:

      In case anyone was wondering, they are using the “not experiencing sexual attraction” definition. The test produces a range of score at first (which implies a spectrum), then the score is roughly converted to A or non-A with some cutoff score. Aspects of asexuality like lack of interest in sexual activity and sex-repulsiveness are being simultaneously considered in their quiz items, so I’d take it as a bit rough of a classification.

  7. Sara K. says:

    I would take the quiz out of curiosity, and I am comfortable enough in my identity as asexual that I doubt it would do me any harm, but I have concerns about using the quiz similar to the ones others have already expressed.

  8. butterflo says:

    The test seems quite solid, so I would recommend the quiz to others in questioning. I’d make sure that it shouldn’t be taken as a crystal ball or to be used as some sort of diagnostic tool, that’s just not how the tests like these are meant to be used.. Still I’d recommend the quiz to others in questioning, I just feel that relying on self-introspection is too much burdening, especially when the information on asexuality in my language lacks quantity and quality.

  9. At this stage of my life, I’m pretty far past questioning my identity so I would only take a quiz for fun or out of curiosity.

    During the long period before I knew that asexuality was a thing that existed and described me, I would never have singled out lack of sexual attraction as they key thing that was different about me; instead, I primarily thought of myself as not being interested in sex, and the lack of sexual attraction as being part of that. For that reason, if I try to imagine myself at some earlier stage in my life coming across the AIS as a quiz, it is helpful to me that it includes questions on lack of sexual interest and on sex aversion because those would likely have resonated more with my experiences and reassured me that the quiz was in fact talking about people like me.

  10. luvtheheaven says:

    The timing of this Question of the Week is really nice because I just went to an ace meet-up this past weekend where a person who is in their 40s told us their story of figuring out their own asexuality. They had told this story before but I’d sort of forgotten it. They figured out they were asexual thanks to an online quiz. They were grateful for the quiz making it cut and dry.

    I know someone else who really trusted an online quiz to help them figure out if there were bisexual or not (they ultimately are). I think most people who decide to take those quizzes are looking for validation that they are ace, or are bisexual, or whatever the quiz is. They’re already questioning and leaning in a particular direction, and like all the anonymous tumblr “asks” to asexual advice blogs, it’s really desired for someone to just tell them “yes you’re ace”, and similarly, it’s dangerous (emotionally painful) if the answer can be “no you’re probably not ace” when talking to someone who actually is.

    Personally it didn’t help me when my straight online friends assured me I probably wasn’t ace, and when the sex ed website I was reading a “What if I never feel ready for sex?” page on said basically that most people aren’t ace so while yes that’s a possibility it’s unlikely that’s “your” (the reader’s) answer. It hurt to be told “stop thinking you might be ace” and “this is just normal, you’re still probably straight” when I was confused but deep down pretty sure by then I wasn’t straight, I was probably asexual. If I’d found a quiz that would have been something I’d have taken while questioning, and regardless of what the answer was, I’d probably keep questioning for a while. But it’d be one tally in the “probably ace” box, and isn’t that what a lot of us yet to do anyway when we find out the definition is “not (or rarely) experiencing sexual attraction”, we then try to figure out whether or not experience that thing, and try to figure out what sexual attraction is?

  11. Elena says:

    So I just went and took that quiz (which told me I’m 97% likely to be asexual). I knew that it was almost impossible that I would get a result that said I’m not asexual, because the no sexual attraction label fits me well and I’m pretty unassailable. Also, at this point I think a quiz wouldn’t cause a self-doubt spiral. I wasn’t very impressed by her methodology though. She asked “do you experience sexual attraction” and usually the problem is not being able to answer that question! And they asked for gender and only gave male and female as options.

    • Siggy says:

      I don’t entirely understand the methodology of designing such a questionnaire, but I think they basically come up with a bunch of questions, and through testing pick out the subset of those that correlate best with self-identified asexuality. Not surprising that “do you experience sexual attraction?” is one of the ones they selected.

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