Similar to other sexual minorities, asexual individuals often face prejudice and stereotyping. However, the source of these attitudes and beliefs is not well understood. We hypothesized that asexual stereotypes stem from the belief that sexual attraction is an inevitable part of human development. This attraction inevitability assumption can lead to the deduction that people who identify as asexual do so because they are going through a transitory stage or excusing socially avoidant tendencies. To test this stereotype deduction account, we examined whether specific asexual stereotypes (immaturity and non-sociality) were associated with adherence to the attraction inevitability assumption. Heterosexual participants (N = 322; 201 women, 114 men; mean age 34.6 yrs.) from the UK and the US read vignettes describing a target character that was either asexual or heterosexual. People who assumed that attraction is inevitable were more likely to evaluate asexual targets (but not heterosexual targets) as immature and non-social. The impact of the sexual inevitability assumption was present even when social dominance orientation, an attitude closely related to negativity toward all sexual minorities, was accounted for. Participants who adhered to the attraction inevitability assumption also showed a reduced inclination to befriend asexual individuals. These findings suggest that generalized negativity toward sexual minorities does not fully explain stereotypes and prejudice against asexual people. Instead, the current study highlights how perceived deviation from the shared understanding of sexuality uniquely contributes to anti-asexual bias.
- Sexual minority
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)