This post was modified from tumblr and cross-posted on The Asexual Agenda.
I'm going to summarize the paper, Furthering
our Understanding of Asexuality: An Investigation Into Biological
Markers of Asexuality, and the Development of the Asexuality
Identification Scale, a psychology masters thesis from 2011 by
Morag Allison Yule. As the title suggests, it’s divided into two parts,
the first investigating biological correlates with asexuality, and the
second developing a questionaire to identify asexuals.
Part 1: Homosexuality is known to correlate with
digit ratios and left-handedness, and in right-handed men it correlates
with the number of older brothers. This is often taken as evidence that
homosexuality is to some extent caused by prenatal developmental
You might ask, are there similar correlations with asexuality? This
study shows a correlation between asexuality and handedness. Also,
asexual men were shown to have more older brothers, and asexual
right-handed women were shown to have fewer older sisters. The sample
was too small to demonstrate a significant digit ratio difference.
These results tend to show that asexuality is also partly caused by
prenatal developmental conditions.
My comment: The author motivates this study as a contribution to the
question of whether asexuality is a sexual orientation or dysfunction.
But in some ways this is wrong; dysfunction as a category isn’t defined
by etiology. Nonetheless, I find the results very interesting.
Part 2: Yule develops a questionnaire that
distinguishes asexuals from allosexuals*. Yule claims it is valid for
people who have not yet come across the idea of asexuality. It’s a
simple 10-question survey, shown in Appendix C.
*miller's note: allosexual is an alternative term for non-asexuals
My comment: Based on what little I know, designing an informative
survey is a highly nontrivial task, so kudos to the author. But I hope I
don’t see this later as an online test “to see if you’re really
asexual”. It’s not supposed to validate people’s identities, it’s
supposed to be a statistical tool for researchers. On a side note, I’m a
little confused about how to score this survey, since it uses a scale
from 0-50, whereas the number of questions implies a scale from 0-40.
Just as well.