Asexual Relationships: What does Asexuality have to do with Polyamory?
Non-monogamous and polyamorous relationships are often conceptualized in the context of sex and sexual intimacy. Yet, as in other forms of relationships, sexual intimacy is only one facet of polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships. Asexuality, a relatively new sexual identity based on a lack of sexual attraction, presents an interesting way to explore polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships in the absence of sexual intimacy. In this presentation, we describe findings from survey results with 102 self-identified asexual individuals. Participants were recruited from asexuality.org, a main internet networking website for asexual identified individuals. The internet based survey asked open ended questions about a variety of topics including demographics, asexual identity, and relationships. Findings indicate that individuals who identify as asexual are likely to describe an interest in monogamous dyadic relationships. While this supports hegemonic paradigms of culturally sanctioned relationship structures, a subsection of this sample describes its ideal romantic or relational interests as polyamorous or non-monogamous. These non-monogamous asexual individuals represent a form of polyamorous relationship that is as of yet unexplored in academic literature. Findings also describe alternative nonsexual conceptualizations of relationships that blur the distinction between monogamous and polyamorous relationships. This research illuminates the complications of categorizing relationships as monogamous or polyamorous indicating that new language is needed to appropriately describe the wide array of relationships humans form outside of this binary.
Keywords: Asexuality, Polyamory, Relationships, Sexualities, Identity
Joint Doctoral Student in Social Work and Sociology, Social Work and Sociology, University of Michigan
Graduate Student, Cognition and Perception, University of Michigan