The following analysis was performed by Laura, originally posted here and here. It has been reproduced with permission of the author.
The asexual census team were kind enough to provide me with the data from the 2014 AVEN community survey for the Muslim respondents (the data for 2015 is not yet available for analysis by outside researchers). [The survey team adds: since time of writing, 2015 data has become available.] The analysis provided in this post in my own derivation and is not an official result. All errors are my own.
“Muslim respondents” are defined as those who selected “Muslim” as their religious preference. Here is some information about the Muslim respondents:
- 71 respondents selected Muslim as their religious preference. For context, there were a total of 14,210 respondents. This means that 0.5% of respondents were Muslim.
- 32 Muslim respondents were residents of the United States. The next most common country of residence was the United Kingdom, with 5 respondents. 20 respondents reside in countries with majority Muslim populations. The Muslim-majority country with the largest number of respondents is Indonesia, which had 3 respondents. (Fun fact: Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country.) A total of 23 countries were listed.
- 42 Muslim respondents (59%) gave their gender identity as woman/female. 11 Muslim respondents (16%) identified as man/male . For comparison, 62.1% of all respondents identified as woman/female and 13.3% of all respondents as man/male.
- 20 Muslim respondents (28%) listed a non-binary gender identity. The most common response was agender, which had 6 respondents (9%). For comparison, 24.6% of all respondents listed a non-binary gender identify, and 8.5% were agender specifically.
- 32 Muslim respondents identified as asexual (45%), 16 as gray-A (23%), and 11 as demisexual (16%). 12 Muslim respondents (17%) did not identify as on the asexual spectrum. For comparison, 49% of all respondents identified as asexual, 16.2% as gray-A, 11% as demisexual, and 23.4% as non-ace.
- Of the non-ace Muslim respondents, 5 identified as straight and the other 7 as various non-straight identities. The most common of these identities was bisexual, with 4 respondents.
The above analysis looked at all Muslim respondents. The following analysis focuses on the 59 respondents who identified as on the asexual spectrum (hereafter, “Muslim ace respondents”).
- The breakdown of romantic orientations among Muslim ace respondents is as follows:
- 14 respondents (24%) identified as aromantic
- 16 respondents (27%) identified as heteroromantic
- 7 respondents (12%) identified as biromantic
- 7 respondents (12%) identified as panromantic
- 5 respondents (9%) identified as homoromantic
- 2 respondents (3%) identified as WTFromantic
- 8 respondents (14%) gave various other responses
- For comparison, among all ace respondents, 19% are aromantic, 22% heteroromantic, 12.4% biromantic, 19.8% panromantic, 5.1% homoromantic, and 5.1% WTFromantic.
- In addition to the above, 9 Muslim ace respondents (15%) identified as gray-romantic and 7 Muslim ace respondents (12%) as demiromantic. Note that all of these gave a specific romantic orientation identity in the previous question. For comparison, among all ace respondents, 13.9% identify as gray-romantic and 16.2% as demiromantic.
- 41 Muslim ace respondents (70%) identify as LGBTQ, either with or without reservations. 34 Muslim ace respondents (58%) identify as queer, either with or without reservations. For comparison, among all ace respondents, 74.6% identify as LGBTQ and 57.8% as queer.
- 29 Muslim ace respondents (49%) identified as sex-repulsed, 25 Muslim ace respondents (42%) as sex-indifferent, and 5 Muslim ace respondents (9%) as sex-favorable. For comparison, among all ace respondents, 43.5% are sex-repulsed, 48% sex-indifferent, and 8.5% sex-favorable.
The way that race and ethnicity were tracked was complex, as different questions were asked depending on the nationality of the respondent.
The following analysis is based on the 32 respondents (whether ace or non-ace) resident in the United States (hereafter “American Muslim respondents”). This is the only nationality group which is large enough to do analysis on.
There is an important caveat to keep in mind. Arab Americans are legally designated as white in the U.S. census and some respondents from this background may have selected “white” for their race rather than writing in a response. Thus “white” here does not necessarily indicate only European-origin whites (according to the 2011 CAIR survey, European-origin whites are around 3% of all American Muslims).
- 14 American Muslim respondents (44%) identified their race as white
- 2 American Muslim respondents (6%) identified their race as black/African American
- 2 American Muslim respondents (6%) identified their race as American Indian/Alaska Native
- 11 American Muslim respondents (34%) identified their race as Asian Indian
- 11 American Muslim respondents (34%) identified their race as other. 6 of these respondents (19% of all American Muslim respondents) wrote in answers indicating Middle Eastern or North African heritage. Several other responses were given here including “mixed race”. Some respondents also gave specific nationalities.
- 3 American Muslim respondents (9%) identified as of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (this is asked separately from race).
- For context, the 2011 CAIR survey found that 33% of American Muslims are South Asian, 27% Arab American, and 33% Black (African or African American). Only 1% identified as Latino. It is impossible make a direct comparison with the AVEN data due to the issues with classifying Arab Americans. However, it is clear that Black/African American Muslims are significantly underrepresented in the AVEN survey and that white Muslims (whether European-origin, Arab American, or Hispanic/Latino) may be overrepresented.
Because the group of Muslim respondents is so small, differences from the group of all respondents may not be statistically significant. In general, the breakdown of responses among Muslim respondents was similar to that of all respondents. However, the following may be noted
- Muslim respondents are slightly less likely to identify as woman/female and slightly more likely to identify as man/male or as non-binary than all respondents.
- Muslim respondents are slightly more likely to identify as gray-A or demisexual than all respondents. A lower percentage of Muslim respondents were non-ace than of all respondents.
- Muslim ace respondents are slightly more likely to identify as aromantic, heteroromantic, or homoromantic than all ace respondents, and less likely to identify as panromantic.
- Muslim ace respondents are slightly less likely to identify as LGBTQ than all ace respondents, but equally likely to identify as queer.
- Muslim ace respondents are slightly more likely to identify as sex-repulsed and slightly less likely to identify as sex-indifferent than all ace respondents.
Because the number of Muslim respondents is so small, distinctive responses to some questions may be personally identifying – for instance I can tell which one is me because I’m the only respondent with my birth year! For this reason, I have left some groups of respondents classified as “other” rather than break out specific responses.
Experiences & attitudes of Muslim ace respondents to the 2014 asexual community census
Previously, I analyzed various demographic characteristics of Muslim respondents to the 2014 AVEN survey and found that they are very similar to non-Muslim respondents in most regards.
The 2014 survey also asked a number of questions about sexual experiences and attitudes towards sex. For this analysis I am looking only at the 59 Muslim respondents who identified as on the asexual spectrum (”Muslim ace respondents”).
- 46 Muslim ace respondents (78%) report that they have never engaged in consensual sexual activity. For comparison, 65% of all ace respondents report this.
- 8 Muslim ace respondents (14%) report that they have previously engaged in consensual sexual activity but are not currently sexually active. For comparison, 23% of all ace respondents report this.
- Thus, a total of 54 Muslim ace respondents (92%) report that they are not currently sexually active. For comparison, 88% of all ace respondents report this.
- 16 Muslim ace respondents (27%) identify as celibate. For comparison, 12% of all ace respondents identify this way.
- 13 Muslim ace respondents (22%) identify as sex-negative in their politics. For comparison, 10.6% of all ace respondents identify this way.
I chose this set of questions because I wanted to see if a group of ace respondents who identified with a particular religion (i.e., Islam) would differ from ace respondents as a whole in their sexual experiences and attitudes towards sex. There does appear to be some support for this, but there are also some caveats:
- Muslim ace respondents are significantly more likely than non-Muslim ace respondents to have never engaged in consensual sexual activity.
- However, Muslim ace respondents are only slightly more likely than non-Muslim ace respondents to be sexually inactive currently. Non-Muslim ace respondents are significantly more likely than Muslim ace respondents to have tried sex in the past before coming to their current state, but similar percentages have a current state of sexual inactivity.
- Muslim ace respondents are significantly more likely than non-Muslim ace respondents to identify as celibate, a term often believed to have religious connotations.
- However, the vast majority of Muslim ace respondents do not identify as celibate, and hold a range of views why the term does not fit them.
- Muslim ace respondents are significantly more likely than non-Muslim ace respondents to identify as sex-negative in their politics.
- However, the vast majority of Muslim ace respondents do not identify as sex-negative.
If we consider all of these characteristics to be “conservative” (which is arguable; for instance, sex-negativity can also be a radical feminist position), then we could say that Muslim ace respondents to the 2014 survey are somewhat more “conservative” than are non-Muslim ace respondents. However, the vast majority of Muslim ace respondents do not hold such “conservative” views, and their current sexual behavior is equally as “conservative” as non-Muslim ace respondents’ behavior is.
All of this suggests that those Muslim aces who engage with online asexual communities enough to have found the 2014 survey do so at least in part because they are broadly similar to such communities in behavior and attitudes about sex.