Academic Minute Podcast

Alexandra Brozowski, Michigan State University – How Asexuals Navigate Romantic Relationships

There are still groups of individuals who feel left out and under researched.

Alexandra Brozowski, research associate at Michigan State University, delves into one such group.

Alexandra is a 2019 graduate of Michigan State University’s Honors College with a Bachelor of Science focused on Psychology. She has had several diverse academic and clinical experiences in psychology, including working in clinical/cognitive and I/O psychology research labs, assistant teaching in undergraduate psychology courses, work in private practice, performing therapeutic and assessment work in community mental health and health psychology settings, and clinical administration in LGBTQ+ non-profits. Most recently, Alexandra published “A test of the investment model among asexual individuals: The moderating role of attachment orientation” in Frontiers in Psychology in collaboration with MSU faculty and other research associates. This paper was based on Alexandra’s honors thesis from her time at MSU and expands upon her original work and data collection. As a member of the asexual spectrum community herself, Alexandra is dedicated to advancing research and awareness regarding this population, enhancing inclusivity for all asexual spectrum identities, and being an advocate for this underrepresented minority group.

How Asexuals Navigate Romantic Relationships

People on the asexual spectrum remain relatively under researched and invisible. Though most people stereotype them as being aromantic and not experiencing romantic attraction, asexuality exists on a spectrum, and the community is very heterogeneous, with people experiencing sexuality and romance in many ways. Many asexuals relate to the Split Attraction Model, a theory that separates romantic and sexual orientations because they are thought to be different processes and distinct experiences. As part of our research, we explored the investment model and attachment orientation among asexuals currently in a romantic relationship. So, we surveyed asexuals on their relationship satisfaction, investment in the relationship, and the quality of alternatives to their current relationship. We found that asexual people had generally consistent experiences with others on the investment model facets. Namely, asexual people who were more satisfied, more invested, and didn’t find other people or being alone better than their current relationship were more committed to their romantic relationship. As for attachment orientations, people usually form this in childhood and continue these patterns in their adult relationships, either by being anxious, avoidant, or secure in their relationships. For asexuals, the patterns were generally consistent with attachment orientation research done on people of other sexualities. For those who displayed avoidant attachment, they were less committed, satisfied, and invested in their romantic relationships. One difference here is that asexuals who were anxiously attached were more committed and satisfied, which is different than what one would expect and what has been found with other types of relationships. Overall, asexuals can thrive in romantic relationships and, despite stereotypes to the contrary, can experience romantic love and commitment.

Read More:
[The Conversation] – Alexandra Brozowski
[Frontiers] – A test of the investment model among asexual individuals: The moderating role of attachment orientation
[The State News] – MSU researchers hope to challenge the stigma surrounding asexual relationships

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