Abstract: This grounded theory inquiry sought to generate a mid-range theory proposing how asexuals negotiate romantic relationships. Two online surveys were posted on the Asexuality and Visibility Education Network (AVEN) website. Sixty-four participants completed either 1 or both of the surveys for a total of 74 responses. As demonstrated through thick description culled from the data, an important feature of negotiating romantic relationships for the participants in this study was a process called naming. There were 3 areas of naming found in the datAa: Naming the Norm, Naming Asexuality in Relationship, and Naming Asexuality for Self. Though the areas of naming identified in this study represent the internalized meaning of being asexual in a sexualized society, the areas of naming also correspond to the 3 categories of scripting identified by Simon and Gagnon and explained in sexual script theory (SST). The areas of naming suggest that the heteronormative paradigm, with its prescriptive model of what a romantic relationship is and how individuals should engage in romantic relationships, affects asexuals at many levels including experiencing themselves as different from the norm, engaging in or choosing not to engage in romantic relationships, and perceiving themselves as asexual beings.
The author identifies as asexual, and as far as I know, this is the first doctoral dissertation on asexuality. Expect it to be the first of many, as I am aware of several asexuals pursuing doctoral level degrees who are planning on doing their dissertations on asexuality.
Edit: I realized that I had forgotten to include a link, so I have now added one.