Extant Aro Surveys

“Aromantic” is an identity that is often defined as lacking romantic attraction.  There is also an aromantic spectrum (often shortened to “arospec”, “aro”, or occasionally, “aromantic”), which includes many aromantic-related identities such as greyromantic, quoiromantic, and lithromantic.  While aro people have long existed in ace communities, in recent years there has been growing interest in the aromantic spectrum as an independent entity. In particular, there are communities that are centered around aro identities, and which strive to include aromantic people who are not on the asexual spectrum.

The Ace Community Survey Team is interested in serving aro communities, especially where our existing infrastructure makes us uniquely capable of doing so. However, we must first recognize the survey work that aro communities have already done. Our goal is to: a) highlight notable aro community surveys that have published results, b) state some of the basic results, and c) identify topics that interest the creators of these surveys.

Notable Surveys

  1. Arospec Identities Stigmatization
  2. Aromantic Gender Experiences
  3. Aromantic Friendship Survey
  4. Allosexual Aromantic Survey
  5. Aromantic Spectrum People’s Relation to Romance
  6. Romance and Sex Repulsion in the Arospec Community Survey
  7. Aromantic Umbrella Terms (part 1 of a report still in progress)

I will refer to each of these surveys by number.

Basic Results

Each of these surveys is an online survey using snowball sampling, with respondents restricted to the aromantic spectrum. The sample sizes range in the hundreds, going as high as N=775.[5] Most respondents are in their teens and early twenties, with one survey reporting 61% under 20 and 35% between 20 and 29;[3] and another survey reporting 27% under 18, 57% between 18 and 24, and 14% between 25 and 34.[1] Most respondents are White (79% in [3]) and live in the US (59% in [5]).

The surveys also show a large number of nonbinary respondents. Survey [1] shows 46% nonbinary people, 39% cis women, <1% trans women, 5% trans men, 3% cis men, and 7% other. Survey [2] shows 52% nonbinary people, 35% cis women, <1% trans women, 6% trans men, 3% cis men, and 3% questioning. Compare to the 2016 Ace Community Survey, which has 26% nonbinary people, 63% women, and 10% men.

Most of the surveys distinguish between aromantic people, and people elsewhere on the aromantic spectrum. The number of aromantic respondents ranges from 64%[5] to 71%[3]. Among respondents who are not aromantic, commonly listed labels include greyromantic, demiromantic, quoiromantic/WTFromantic/nebularomantic, aroflux, and lithromantic/akoiromantic.[5]

Percentages are not available to describe how many people are or aren’t on the asexual spectrum, but one survey report claimed that the “vast majority” of people were on the ace spectrum.[6] Note that this could be the result of sampling extending beyond aro communities into ace communities, which if undesired could pose a challenge.  The same survey also found that 42% were sex-repulsed, 31% were sex-neutral, and 20% sex-favorable. Parallel to the construct of sex-repulsion, there is also a construct of romance-repulsion, experienced by 28% of respondents, although the report notes widespread variation in what that means.

One survey restricted itself to arospec allosexual respondents, and there are some interesting differences.[4] Compared to the other surveys, somewhat fewer people were aromantic (55%), and fewer were nonbinary (42% identifying as neither men nor women). Notably, only 12% of them were heterosexual.

Topics of Aro Interest

Beyond summarizing the major results of aro communities, we would also like to identify what kind of information the aro community would be most interested in.  We identified topics of interest by observing the kinds of topics addressed by aro surveys, including a few surveys without published results. We also asked people on the Aro Surveys Discord server directly.  The topics of interest are listed below:

  • Negative experiences, including stereotypes, discrimination, and microaggressions
  • Relationships, especially non-romantic relationships such as friendships.
  • Romance repulsion
  • Allosexual aromantics
  • Gender, particularly how it affects and is affected by being arospec
  • Relation to the broader queer and LGBT categories
  • Being out as arospec
  • Correlations between demographic variables with other measures
  • Mental health

Concluding Remarks

Although aro community surveys do not have access to the same resources as The Ace Community Survey, they provide valuable information that might not be accessible to us. They are able to recruit a very distinct sample of people: people who are in the orbit of aro communities but not necessarily in the orbit of ace communities. And since these surveys are on a smaller scale, they also have much greater flexibility to try new things and analyze qualitative information. The Ace Community Survey Team does not intend to supersede any of this work; instead we are exploring ways that our particular strengths can be of aid.

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