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Arch Sex Behav. 2017 Apr;46(3):619-627. doi: 10.1007/s10508-016-0802-7. Epub 2016 Aug 19.

Asexuality: Sexual Orientation, Paraphilia, Sexual Dysfunction, or None of the Above?

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, 2775 Laurel Street, 6th Floor, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Although lack of sexual attraction was first quantified by Kinsey, large-scale and systematic research on the prevalence and correlates of asexuality has only emerged over the past decade. Several theories have been posited to account for the nature of asexuality. The goal of this review was to consider the evidence for whether asexuality is best classified as a psychiatric syndrome (or a symptom of one), a sexual dysfunction, or a paraphilia. Based on the available science, we believe there is not sufficient evidence to support the categorization of asexuality as a psychiatric condition (or symptom of one) or as a disorder of sexual desire. There is some evidence that a subset of self-identified asexuals have a paraphilia. We also considered evidence supporting the classification of asexuality as a unique sexual orientation. We conclude that asexuality is a heterogeneous entity that likely meets conditions for a sexual orientation, and that researchers should further explore evidence for such a categorization.


Asexuality; Paraphilia; Sexual dysfunction; Sexual orientation

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