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‘Can I be a kinky ace?’: How asexual people negotiate their experiences of kinks and fetishes.

Winter-Gray, Thomas; Hayfield, Nikki

Authors

Thomas Winter-Gray



Abstract

Prior research has found that asexual people may fantasise or participate in activities typically conceptualised within mainstream society as ‘sexual’. These behaviours may be considered paradoxical when an asexual person is conceptualised as someone who does not experience sexual attraction or desire. This research aimed to explore how kinks and fetishes are conceptualised, experienced, and negotiated by asexual individuals. Forty-eight participants were recruited via the first author’s social media accounts and asexuality forums to take part in an online qualitative survey. The data were thematically analysed and three themes were developed. In “Am I asexual?”: (How) can you be a kinky ace?, we discuss the feelings of doubt or distress that some participants reported in relation to what was seemingly sometimes understood as the paradox between their self-identity as asexual and their exploration of kinks and fetishes, and how this was negotiated by these participants. In the second theme, Between me and me’ and make believe: Kinks and fetishes as solo and imaginary, we report on how kinks, fetishes, and fantasies were often understood in a solitary context and as either undesirable – or impossible – to live out. In the final theme of Kink as a sensual enhancement in relationships, we highlight the ways in which participants positioned their kinks and fetishes as an agent for intimacy. These findings expand our knowledge and understanding of how asexual people negotiate kinks and fetishes and capture the complexities of asexual identities beyond a lack of sexual attraction or desire, particularly in relation to the notion of autochorissexualism.

Journal Article Type Article
Print ISSN 1941-9899
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Institution Citation Winter-Gray, T., & Hayfield, N. (in press). ‘Can I be a kinky ace?’: How asexual people negotiate their experiences of kinks and fetishes. Psychology and Sexuality,