Attitudes Toward Asexuality

Topics: Bisexuality

The article “Development and validation of the Attitudes Towards Asexuals (ATA) scale” published by Hoffarth, Drolet, Hodson, and Hafer in 2015 focuses on the public’s perception of asexuals. The article defines asexuality as “an enduring lack of sexual attraction (Bogaert, 2012).” This definition also includes other groups on the asexuality spectrum, including romantic attraction and behaviors. The authors’ justification for this study is that while the asexuality spectrum makes up 3-8% of the population, there has been very little academic research regarding asexuality and prejudices towards it.

This lack of studying is possibly due to bias towards asexuality falling outside of the “window of bias” and poses less of a threat than other biases such as racism. A study done by Maclnnis and Hodson (2012) found that attitudes towards asexuals were lesser than even lesser-known minorities such as sapiosexuals and that these negative attitudes remained even after becoming familiar with asexuality.

The authors state that the goal of their study is to “develop a multi-item measure of anti-asexual bias and further develop our understanding of individual differences associated with anti-sexual bias.

” To do this, the authors developed the Attitudes Towards Asexuals (ATA) scale, a self-report measure of anti-asexual prejudices. In the methods section, it is stated that the researchers recruited 339 heterosexual Americans via Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing website. Participants first viewed the definitions of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. The participants then completed the following questionnaires: Attitudes toward Asexuals, attitude thermometers, future contact intentions and discomfort renting and hiring, and demographics. The ATA was a modified 16-question 9-point scale survey that asked about attitudes, beliefs, and denial of asexuality.

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The attitude thermometers asked participants to rate male and female sexualities on a sliding bar of 0-100 with the results being averaged:

heterosexuals (r = .69), homosexuals (r = .87), bisexuals (r = .80) and asexuals (r = .92).

heterosexuals (a = .92), homosexuals (a = .94), bisexuals (a = .94) and asexuals (a = .91).

The discomfort rating and hiring scale found the following results based on a 4-question survey:

heterosexuals (a = .95), homosexuals (a = .96), bisexuals (a = .96) and asexuals (a = .98).

Other surveys were then taken, including singlism, right-wing authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, Ambivalent sexism inventory, Male role norms, and the Femininity ideology scale. The study found that inherent prejudice towards asexuality does exist. In addition, the ATA was “strongly correlated with benevolent sexism, hostile sexism, and endorsement of both traditionally male and female gender norms.” Those who were aware of asexuality and those who knew an asexual were found to be less prejudiced towards asexuals.

The authors speculate that “both education about asexuality and contact with asexuals may decrease anti-asexual bias.”

This study may be valuable to our research in that it studied biases toward asexuals, an important component of our study. With this in mind, it would be reasonable for our study to adapt the ATA scale to assess existing prejudices within our subjects; this scale was reported by the authors to be valid and reliable. In addition, the authors of this study found that those who are aware of asexuality are less biased towards asexuals. This is important information for our study in that we are studying whether education on sexuality changes a subject’s opinion on it. This research on the education level of its participants, as well as the other cited sources within the article, will serve as a good starting ground when we compile all of the available research related to our topic.


  1. Hoffarth, M. R., Drolet, C. E., Hodson, G., & Hafer, C. L. (2016). Development and validation of the Attitudes Towards Asexuals (ATA) scale. Psychology & Sexuality, 7(2), 88-100.

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Attitudes Toward Asexuality. (2022, Jun 16). Retrieved from

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