“I Didn’t Know Ace Was a Thing”: Bisexuality and pansexuality as identity pathways in asexual identity formation

Canton Winer, Megan Carroll, Yuchen Yang, Katherine Linder, Brittney Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Identity formation for asexual people can be complicated by limited societal awareness of asexualities. Consequently, people who eventually identify on the asexuality spectrum often adopt other sexual identities in their early lives. In this paper, we extend sexual identity development theory by analyzing the identity trajectories of asexual-spectrum people who once identified as bisexual or pansexual. Quantitative data suggests that about half of asexual-spectrum respondents once identified as bisexual or pansexual and a third closely associate with bisexual or pansexual terminology. Qualitative data supports these findings, revealing that bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality are not always seen as mutually exclusive categories by asexual individuals. We argue that the intelligibility of bi-/pansexuality positions them as identity pathways for many asexual-spectrum individuals who experience equal (albeit little to no) attraction toward people of any gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-289
Number of pages23
JournalSexualities
Volume27
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • asexuality
  • bisexuality
  • identity formation
  • identity pathway
  • pansexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Anthropology

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