Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Kelleher, Sinéad; Murphy, Mike
Sexual And Relationship Therapy
The identity development and internalization of asexual orientation in women: an interpretative phenomenological analysis¿
Optional Fields
Asexuality Identity development Internalization Interpretative phenomenological analysis Heteronormativity
This study aimed to investigate the identity development and internalization of an asexual orientation and how asexual individuals attempt to reject and resist societal attitudes held towards their orientation. Participants were recruited through the online community the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) and included five women between the ages of 18 and 40. Data were gathered using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Five themes emerged from the data: The Asexual Self, Discovering Asexuality, Disclosure, Navigating Relationships and Barriers to Accepting Asexuality. The development of an asexual identity was initiated through an awareness of the self as different within society and supported by external resources such as the online asexual community. Although all participants described a sense of pride surrounding their asexual identity, some participants at times attempted to minimize the importance of asexuality to their self-concepts. Social norms and the values of a heteronormative society influenced participants’ abilities to accept their orientation, as well as their coming-out processes. There were notable discrepancies between participants’ accounts that were specific to their romantic orientation and age. The theoretical implications of each theme within the development of an asexual identity and internalization of an asexual orientation are discussed.
Grant Details