On this page you can find some commentary on the survey from me (Coyote) and some commentary on the survey from the respondents.
Here are my own notes and reflections:
- In some cases, respondents asked for definitions or examples. I generally prefer to avoid this for reasons demonstrated on Question 8 of Siggy’s Cat Person or Dog Person Survey.
- One respondent took the survey more than once and disclosed this in a free-write box. Since they gave no indication of which previous response was theirs, I could not remove it from the data pool.
- Based on reactions to unfamiliar terms, I think the Attraction section questions need to be completely redesigned. Instead of presenting respondents with terms and then asking for their relationship to those terms, I want to try presenting to them a characterization [do experience / unsure if I experience / never experience] and let them check boxes for which types apply. This could be preceded by a “Do you distinguish forms of attraction into different types?” question as a gate to that section.
- Multiple respondents expressed confusion about the “Which of these is relevant to how you identify?” questions. I am unsure how to make that one more straightforward. Right now, the possible alternative I’ve come up with would be to ask, “If you were to explain why you identify the way you do, which of these would come up?”
- In a future version of this survey, in the Preferences & Partners section, I think I’d like to add a question like “Which of these describes you best?” [I would prefer to expand my social circle / Right now my social circle is the right size for me / I would prefer to shrink my social circle / I do not have or want a social circle / Unsure / None of these].
- Several respondents expressed confusion as to what counts as sexually active and what counts as sex. I intended for respondents to answer according to their own interpretation, but if running a future survey, I think I might change those answer options to specify “with at least one other person.”
- For the questions about finding sexual/romantic orientation (as a concept) to be personally useful, several respondents expressed uncertainty about whether asexuality and aromanticism count as sexual/romantic orientations. In a future survey, it may be helpful to clarify the purpose of these questions.
Here is some respondent commentary about the survey, broken into sections for your browsing convenience:
I appreciate the use of checkboxes rather than radio buttons for a lot of these questions. *
Ideal distribution of write-ins *
In the question “which of these is relevant to how you sexually identify”, how are we using the word “identify”? The two definitions I frequently use are a)how do I describe my needs for others in words they will understand and b) what are my needs. The words I use for myself are radically different from the words I would use to describe myself within the accepted lexicons of the LGBTQIA+ communities. *
This survey was … uncomfortable to complete. While I am aware of the pettiness and division caused by longstanding ace discourse, it was something I’d purged from my internet circle years ago for my own mental health. Seeing these questions brought up unpleasant memories and I wish whatever this survey is used for will not throw more wood to the flame of neverending squabbles and outright abuse withi. our communities. *
Some of these response options are honestly painful to read. “People should not identify as gray-asexual”? Really? The intention behind these questions has not been explained in an adequate way at the start of the survey. And without knowing this intention, these exclusionary/discriminatory statements feel like a way to condone the discrimination already faced by me and people like me. I would have at least appreciated a heads-up / content note in the description. I thought I’d fill out this survey to help with Aro/Ace research and awareness. I did not sign up to read the kind of statements that have been used to harm me and my community. There’s no content note OR sufficient context, so I don’t know what else this survey might contain, or how you intend to use it. I want to assume good intentions on your part, but I can’t know that. So I’m not doing the rest of the survey. *
I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who identifies as both gray-ace and demisexual (and i’m sure there are grayromantic/demiromantic individuals out there as well) so I was surprised that demisexuality and demiromanticism wasn’t discussed or mentioned in this survey. For me, the demi and gray-ace labels overlap, both making up my identity pretty equally, like they sort of blend into each other, would have been cool to see that discussed *
Thanks for doing this survey, could you do one on demi aces and aros too? Thnx :) *
even ignoring the bullshit inter-queer gatekeeping nonsense that this survey is helping increase […] Really check your usage of the term ‘umbrella’ and go through and clarify some of your more complex sentences please. There’s also a lot of embedded assumptions that you might want to signal more clearly in the early sections. I was surprised and displeased that the first section was all about label policing. *
The “which of these is relevant” question is a fascinating one to me, and I genuinely don’t know how to answer. But I do think there is something to the question. *
Lots of these questions could do with some sensitivity checking on the wording. *
Fabulous answer options, was pleasant to take, great job *
Neat survey. In depth. Would take again if it wouldn’t skew your data *
I’m glad someone’s doing something about grayaces and aros because honestly they and demis get so much shit. *
Wondering what it will be used for. *
It was very well-organized! :) I especially appreciated the inclusiveness and dedication to write-in sections on every page. *
Some of the wording was a little complex, but the amount of options to respond was great *
i’d like some simpler wording and tone indicators, but i really enjoyed it! *
I thought the questions were well phrased and distinct, especially as someone who’s ace but not aro *
I really liked this survey! The person who created has a very clear understanding of the ace and aro spectrums *
Well, I’m now considering I may be somewhere on the aro spectrum, so thats fun! It was a good survey :) *
There should be more surveys and studies like this!! *
Previous question didn’t make much sense. e.g. whose gender? frequency of what? what is a relationship preference? *
I don’t understand the last question. *
The last question should have examples *
It would’ve been helpful to define or explain “nonsexual physical attraction” and “nonromantic emotional attraction”. They’re not easily understandable terms to people who aren’t familiar with them. *
I don’t understand these questions *
Why was “sexual” an option on the sexuality question? You had allosexual, so what was sexual supposed to mean? *
I don’t know that nonromantic emotional attraction means but there isn’t an option for that so I put may or may not experience this *
You asked a question on being interested in sex, or being sex averse, but did not ask that question with regards to being romantically interested or romantically averse. Was that on purpose? *
I feel like the “is graysexual/grayromantic the gray part of the ace/aro umbrella” questions were very confusing? So clarifying what you mean on those would be incredibly helpful *
The one worded answers for reason of identification (i.e., frequency) is a bit confusing. I wish it was expanded upon more. *
Wording could be a little clearer on questions, the answer selections did not always seem to reflect what the question being asked was *
For the question, “Is the concept of sexual orientation useful to you?” If asexuality is a sexual orientation, then it is useful. If the question is referring to something else, ie “aroace and gay oriented” then it is not personally useful. *
Some of the questions were vague/confusing and I didn’t know what was being asked *
Some of the questions were confusing or I didn’t know what the wording meant (like the questions about what is relevant to how you identify) *
The wording of these questions is unclear *
I sometimes wasn’t sure how to answer the personal questions – internal understanding vs labels, past communities and engagement vs present. More specificity would be great! *
Some of the questions threw me for a loop because of their wording — for instance, I wasn’t sure what “gray area” was supposed to imply in those particular questions. Is it positive, negative, or neutral? But admittedly I haven’t participated in much discourse, so I could be missing some context. *
Race & Ethnicity
I think it would be better for the racial demographics to not just group every Asian race/ethnicity into one as there are many different groups and it feels unfair when considering the specificity of the other options. *
Thanks for offering Jewish as an option, a lot of surveys forget to include us which completely erases our community from the data. *
Also, you forgot Hispanic. Latino and Hispanic are not the same. *
I reject the concept of latine as a single race/ethnicity since that’s not the reality of latin america, we have all sorts of ethnicities and many different distinct cultures. I still selected the latine option because I’m still latinoamerican but that tells you guys nothing about my ethnicity. *
Thank you so much for some of these questions and also for using the term ‘Latine’
I would like to recommend adding “Central America” in the continent options next time, since there was “North America” and “South America”. *
You do realize that America is only one continent, right? *
you should probably add more categories in gender because i identify somewhere in the zone of genderqueer and agender, and it doesn’t really feel accurate to categorize that underneath a sort of “third gender” non-binary label. *
Could include trans identities in the demographic gender options. *
the gender options are limiting, i typically describe myself as genderqueer and transgender *
good job, thanks for organising it! In the future, can you add more options to the gender box (or an extra “other” box)? Non-binary is the accepted umbrella term, but there are folks in the community who don’t like to use it. *
Maybe a tip for next time, add an “Agender” gender option or perhaps an “Other:…” option since some people might not identify as either man, woman, or non-binary. I don’t know if this is feasible or desired on your end but I think it would allow for more detailed gender recording. *
im transgender which has significantly impacted on how i go about sex with others and how i feel about it and my attraction patterns. *
You should include an ‘other’ option for the gender question — not everyone who is not just a man or a woman is considered non-binary or considers themself as such. *
Wish there were more gender options as I don’t really have a gender but Non-binary is the closest option. At least have an “other” option *
I’m a girl. A she/her robot. Can’t bring myself to check “woman” *
Agender ist definitely missing in the gender section as well as other and don’t want to tell!!!!! Not good!!! *
I have one minor quibble. I describe myself as a genderqueer woman, and the current gender options don’t really let me express that. *
I’m a trans man. It’s disappointing your gender options did not provide a fill in the blank section. *
would be nice to have a open possibility to write an own answer about what gender someone has in a textbox, because there are way more than man woman nonbinary *
“Non-binary” is the closest label I can choose from the gender options, but it is not completely accurate. I would have appreciated having a write-in option. *
I feel like the gender option should be a text box to type in since that’s a whole other spectrum but I understand that if your trying to consolidate results into groups you may find it hard to categorize answers like “whatever Freddie Mercury has going on” *
I wish there was an ‘I don’t know what this is’ option. I would have picked it on most of these. *
Could have had “ace” and “aro” as identity options in the relevant questions, separate from “asexual” and “aromantic”. More options labelled “Other” rather than “Unsure”. *
If there were a “monogamous” checkbox, I would have checked that (and possibly some people would have selected “polyamorous” if that were an option?) *
I think it would be interesting to separate out monogamous and polyamorous in these checkboxes. There’s also not an option for being interested in sex solely in the context of a relationship? *
Did you intentionally leave out YouTube/TikTok for platforms people can engage on? I wasn’t sure. I do use YouTube as well and I don’t have any other social media than indicated above, otherwise I’d engage with the community there as well. *
(As general feedback, the fact that the previous set of questions doesn’t have a “how would you define your SEXUALITY” question specifically, makes this romantic ID question a little weird. I assume you’re already aware of that now, though.) *
I’d love a future iteration to look at sensual and aesthetic attraction [Coyote’s Note: I meant for those to fall under the category of “nonsexual physical attraction,” which is a term this respondent expressed a dispreference for.] *
I think it needs to include gray-ace and grayro as spelling options because I see a lot of people identify pretty much exclusively with those abbreviations. Also, it should include a disability option for other things that impact your orientation, and it should have an option to say gray-aces and aces, and grayros and aros, experience prejudice that’s different but neither is worse than the other. Otherwise it’s a good survey!! *
I think the survey could have benefited from keeping people like myself, those who *would* be sexually active if not for medical or disability status in mind.
Gradations & Combinations
Need an ‘all of the above’ on the last question. I’d probably never pursue a relationship for sex, but within an existing relationship I’m very fluxy. *
the one about the community should have a middle point, a and gray are different and thus should have different communities but also they are similar enough that they shouldnt be completely seperated since gray is one of the only sexualities that can understand a *
I am happy with and without partnership, but am definitely not indifferent about it! Someone can be both interested in and averse to sex, for example. *
I wish there were more gradations bc I lean certain ways but it’s… in between clear and not clear or not clear and not extant, in several cases *
The seeking partnership / sexually active page questions didn’t really have options about desires changing over time or indicate if answers should be about now ie what if I am not looking for a partnership now because of reason X but expect to be able to do so in the new year *
your survey should have more “its complicated” or spectrum responses. *
It would be good to have answers between yes and no for some questions such as “sometimes” or “somewhat” … hard to choose between a binary *
I am sex-averse while also being both interested in and indifferent to sex. None of the options for this question are mutually exclusive. *
I don’t really care about partnership, but I DO care very strongly about companionship. Long-term roommates is my desired relationship structure, not partnership. Which is a pretty nonnormative desire! But often gets glossed over in these types of surveys. Funny how communities against amatonormativity still default to it, huh? *
Usefulness of Orientation
Thank you for asking whether the concept of sexual orientation is useful for me. I’ve never thought it through before. *
I have never before been asked if the concept of sexual orientation is helpful to me, as it always seemed to be something almost “mandatory,” so, uh, this survey has given me something new to think about. Thanks! *
Your question “Is the concept of sexual orientation useful to you?” has made me think more about how I identify and why I identify as anything at all. Thank you for sparking deeper thought.
Miscellaneous Thanks & Well-Wishes
It felt like a really well thought out survey trying to be as open-minded and inclusive as possible. At no point I felt like I couldn’t answer because a fitting answer is missing. Thank you. *
Thanks for your work and happy data gathering! :> *
Thank you for having so many diverse terms and perspectives. I have a complicated relationship with my sexuality and I feel like I was able to properly explain it here. *
Often time I feel like I’m having to shove my answers into a box that doesn’t quite fit when talking about my romantic orientation, but this was hardly an issue with this survey. Thanks! *
Thank you so much for having an unsure option on the “do you have a partner” section. relationships are so complicated and im never sure how to answer on half of the surveys i take *
Great survey! Thanks! *
Thank you for letting me take part! Hope you have a nice day! *
This survey was wonderful in its thoroughness and I wish the best for those who assembled it! ☆ *
thank you guys for doing this. for real. i feel like i learned a lot just from taking it, and i’m the gray ace here! lol. learned that applied ot me today too. my bf identifies as grayromantic but i didn’t realize graysexual is also a term that applies to me! very cool. wish i could sned you guys some banana bread *
I appreciate the opportunity to make my voice heard. As an older member of the Queer community, my experience and perspective are not valued as much as those of the young *
II hope you have a good day, that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy, and that you get to pet a cool fuzzy animal of your choice at some point in the near future :D *
Thank you and I hope you have a nice day :) *
September 21st, 2022 at 7:07 pm
The Continents section got an amused huff from me. I don’t think I’ve honestly ever seen someone insist on America being a single continent…(vs. Eurasia, for example).
Re the “Which of these is relevant to how you identify?” question, “If you were to explain why you identify the way you do, which of these would come up?” does seem clearer a bit, maybe. “Which of these are factors in why you identify the way you do?” Perhaps include an example, e.g. “I ID as grey because I am unsure about whether I experience attraction”/“I ID as aro because I do not want a relationship and feel alienated from society.”
September 21st, 2022 at 8:49 pm
I admit I’m surprised they remarked on the America(s) and not on my listing Europe separately from Asia.
I’ll make sure to take another look at that question if I ever run a survey like this again. With that said, I still prefer to avoid examples, especially for this question — I don’t want the prompt to foreclose any possibilities.
September 22nd, 2022 at 2:02 pm
Something else that’s occurred to me to point out — some respondents used “None of these” to mean something other than “None of these.” I can tell this in cases where they directly said so and in cases where they selected other options from the same list (without an “Unsure”), thereby negating “None of these.” I have been unsure how to design the survey to better preserve “None of these” as an indicator of “None of these,” but today I had an idea.
In a future survey, sections like the Sexual Identity and Romantic Identity section could include a question that asks “Have all of your preferred identity terms for your [sexual/romantic identity] been provided here?” [Yes / No, I use another term not provided here / Unsure].
It would be best to put this toward the end, ahead of the free-write questions that conclude each section…. but then of course some people might not see that until they’d already answered a question using “None of these” to mean “Something else not listed here,” and I also know from evidence that some respondents don’t go back and change their answers. To address this, I could preface those sections with a request to read all the questions first before starting to answer.
Of course I could also just remove “None of these,” but I imagine that might be frustrating to people.