EAST LANSING, Michigan – Many asexual individuals, those with little to no sexual attraction, have long-lasting satisfying romantic relationships, but little research has been done on how and why they last and thrive. New research from Michigan State University has found that, despite the lack of or aversion to sexual attraction in asexuals, the ingredients that make for a successful relationship between asexual individuals are much the same as those in any other relationship.
“Although asexuals don’t have the desire for sexual relationships, they still form romantic relationships, and those connections are at least somewhat similar to the romantic relationships of non-asexuals,” said William Chopik, an associate professor in MSU’s psychology department and co-author of the research. .
The study, published in Limits in Psychology, is one of the largest relationships of asexual individuals ever conducted and the only one to examine what predicts engagement and longevity in their relationships. The study looked at a sample of 485 people who identified themselves as on the asexual spectrum and are currently in a romantic relationship. This is one of the few published studies that allowed people to identify themselves with an asexual spectrum label, in addition to allowing other sexual or romantic labels to fit.
“I sincerely hope that this study will broaden the diversity of the asexual community, shed light on their experiences and show that being on the asexual spectrum does not preclude someone from successful romantic relationships or love,” said co-author and research associate Alexandra Brozowski.
The long-standing theory of what predicts who breaks up and who stays in relationships, called the investment model, says that people stay in relationships if they are happy and satisfied, if they have invested time and energy in the relationship, and if they don’t. to do. t have no other options. Many theories say that sex is a central part of romantic relationships, leaving no room for asexual relationships.
“We found that the same ingredients predict success in these relationships, so they’re not weird, bizarre, worse than or very different from the relationships of non-asexual people.” said Chopik. “The hope is that this will destigmatize asexual people’s relationships as satisfied and plain as the relationships of non-asexual people.”
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