Further Analysis of Further AVEN Analysis 2014: Cross-orientations

So I have been blisteringly angry for hours and crying on and off and obviously I am not asleep.  This is pretty much the opposite side of consciousness I was shooting for at this particular moment in time, so to give everyone a distraction on their feed I’m going to do some analysis!

Recently the AVEN team released further analysis of their 2014 census, specifically focusing on cross-orientations (or variorientation) among their non-asexual respondents.  For those of you know in the know, a perioriented individual is someone whose sexual and romantic identities align (aromantic asexual), and varioriented is someone whose sexual and romantic identities don’t align (heteroromantic demisexual).  I’m gonna extrapolate a little bit from both their conclusions and the raw data given.  It is important to note that for the purposes of this particular piece of analysis, only those who responded as asexual, demisexual, or gray-asexual were actually considered aces.  Those who wrote in some other form of asexuality (lithsexuality, gray-bisexuality, and asexual lesbian were the examples they gave) were included among non-aces.  I do not know if that carries throughout the census, or just for this particular piece of analysis, but I am also not entirely comfortable with that assessment.  While they gave the option to write in other asexual terms, they’re basically invalidating their self-identification and saying ‘meh, you aren’t actually asexual right now, though.’  I mean, I can sort of get it, because those who wrote in their asexual orientation without otherwise checking off a listed asexual orientation (54 respondents, or .38%) can sort of skew the data when you go to interpret, but they make up less than one percent, so how much can they screw with the data, really?  Again, it’s the same dilemma we spoke about with the preliminary data, about whether or not to carry over data from less than one percent of the data pool into the larger stream, only this time we’re inferring identity invalidation.  So that’s my first bone of contention.  I’m not going to spend too much time arguing about it unless I see that it’s a trend that continues with the subsequent data analyses we receive, then I’m probably gonna get a bit miffed.

(Also, they gave slightly different data pools this time.  In the preliminary data, they said there were roughly 14,210 respondents, 10,880 of whom are asexual.  Now they’re saying that there were 10,869 asexual respondents and 3,324 non-asexual respondents which gives us a total of 14,193 respondents, which is not a huge number difference but it just annoys me because I like being internally consistent with the data, damnit.  Not a major critique but I felt that if I didn’t vent it my inner nerd would explode with nerdy nerd rage.)

It was interesting to note that the two largest groups of non-asexual respondents were heterosexuals (27.1%) and bisexuals (26.3%), although pansexuals came in third not too far behind at 17.3%.  Among the total non-aces (reminder that these were 3,324 respondents, or 23.4% of the total respondents), 25.9% said the identified as some type of aromantic, or else did not identify with a romantic orientation at all.  Interestingly, non-aces had the largest amount of responders saying they did not identify with a romantic orientation, at 18%.  This could either be because they are perioriented and don’t feel the need to distinguish and otherwise identify with their romantic identity, for whatever reason the non-aces in this census really did have a larger percent that don’t identify with a romantic identity, or some combination of the two.

According to the responses, 775 (or 23.3%) of non-asexual respondents identified as varioriented.  288 (or 37.1%) of these respondents claimed to be varioriented with a non-aromantic orientation.  The vast majority of these varioriented individuals were between bi-/pan- and hetero-/homo- orientations (for example, bisexual but homoromantic, or vice versa), with very few being crosses between hetero- and homo- by themselves.

They also gave the individual breakdown of romantic orientations for those who identified on the ace scale, so I want to take a moment and talk about the percentage of asexual responders who are perioriented, because I think it can help lead to further interesting discussions about how diverse we really are as a community.

  • 49.2% of respondents identified as asexual, and of those 25.9% identified as aromantic.  A further 18.6% identified either on the aromantic scale, or did not identify with a romantic orientation.
  • 11.1% of respondents identified as demisexual, and of those 3.4% identified as demi- or grayromantic.  A further 13.5% identified either on the aromantic scale, or did not identify with a romantic orientation.
  • 16.2% of respondents identified as gray-asexual, and of those 1.3% identified as demi- or grayromantic.  A further 23.2% identified either on the aromantic scale, or did not identify with a romantic orientation.
  • This means that in the asexual community, roughly 17.4% of us are perioriented, and an additional 18.8% are periorientiedish, depending on whether or not we (and by we I mean the larger community we as well as those who identify this way) consider identifying on the aromantic scale at all to be perioriented or if we need to identify with the exact same label in both sexual and romantic orientations.  That’s an entirely different discussion for another day but here are the numbers if you want to start it.

So if we broaden that a little bit, that’s just another thing to throw in the face of people who assume that all asexuals identify as aromantic.  Mm, no, not even half.  Not even one quarter if we’re being literal about it.  This is further illuminating when you consider it’s the complete opposite of what we hold to be true of non-asexual respondents in the exact same census.  It would be further interesting, once we establish the differentiation of sexual and romantic orientations as a real thing in broader society, how that pattern may or may not hold true.  Are there more varioriented individuals in the general population than one would assume to be inherently true?  And what, if any, implications does this have on how people view problems between sexual orientations (for example, bisexual erasure, or a guy who is fiercely heterosexual except for that one pretty dude in the corner, etc. etc.).

I know (or at least I’m assuming) there aren’t any aromantic census’ out there, but it’d be interesting to see if the same or similar numbers hold true in an aromantic census.  Considering the overlap the two communities have, you would assume so, but of course it’s not a given because the people who are driven to take an aromantic census are going to be inherently different from those who are driven to take an asexual census (or again, at least I’m assuming).  I’m also interested to see how those numbers hold up the next time we have a community census, especially if there are a larger number of participants.  Basically what I’m saying is I want there to be another AVEN census already so I can do comparisons.  And before someone says I should do comparisons with the 2011 census… shut up I’m trying to give myself less work right now okay.

I think that’s going to be it for my analysis.  I can try to answer from further questions if anyone has any specifics, but again we shall be expecting even more analysis from the AVEN team, so rest assured you will find more statistical nerdery on your dash soon enough.

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