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J Sex Marital Ther. 2017 Jan 2;43(1):1-14. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2015.1113593. Epub 2015 Dec 7.

What Does Asexuality Teach Us About Sexual Disinterest? Recommendations for Health Professionals Based on a Qualitative Study With Asexually Identified People.

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a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Wake Forest University , Winston-Salem , North Carolina , USA.


This article draws on qualitative in-depth interviews with 30 asexually identified individuals living in the United States in order to contribute to our understanding of when low sexual desire should be treated as a medical or mental health issue and when it should be treated as a benign sexual variation. The article discusses five findings of relevance to health professionals: (1) the line between a desire disorder and asexuality is not clear-cut; (2) asexually identified individuals may experience distress, so distress alone does not separate a desire disorder from asexuality; (3) asexually identified individuals may face sexual pressure from a partner or may have difficulty negotiating sexual activity with a partner; (4) asexuality does not need to be distressing, rather it can be experienced as a fulfilling form of sexuality; and (5) many asexually identified individuals believe in the usefulness of low sexual desire as a diagnostic category and support medical and mental health professionals in their efforts to develop treatments for sexual desire disorders. Based on these five findings, this article offers four concrete suggestions for health professionals working with clients with low sexual desire, whether or not those clients identify as asexual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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