Many asexual people still fantasize about sex, study finds

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Researchers asked hundreds of asexual people about their sexual experiences and fantasies

They often fantasized in a third-person way, about situations not involving them

Researchers aren’t quite sure exactly what asexuality is. On paper, the concept is clear – asexual people simply don’t experience sexual attraction – but since scientists are so early on in their attempts to understand the phenomenon, they’re not quite sure about many of the specifics.

There are a bunch of interesting, obvious questions touching on facets of sexuality that don’t entail getting together with another person: To take two, how often do asexual people masturbate? Do they have sexual fantasies?

To better understand this group, a trio of University of British Columbia researchers, Morag Yule, Lori Brotto, and Boris Gorzalka, conducted a survey in which they asked 739 people, 351 of them asexual (as defined by an inventory of questions designed to capture asexuality), about their sexual experiences and fantasies.

The results, just published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, strongly suggest that the “asexual” label could be capturing too broad a group, and that it might be time to get a bit more fine-grained.