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Understanding asexual identity as a means to facilitate culturally competent care: a systematic literature review

Jones, Catriona; Hayter, Mark; Jomeen, Julie


Catriona Jones

Mark Hayter

Julie Jomeen


Aims and Objectives This paper aims to provide a contemporary overview of asexuality and the implications this has for health care practice. Background Individuals belonging to sexual minority groups face many barriers in accessing appropriate health care. The term ‘sexual minority group’ is usually used to refer to Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals. Anecdotal and research evidence suggests that those who identify as asexual have similar poor experiences. Methods This work uses a systematic review and qualitative analysis of the existing interview data from self-identified asexuals, to construct features of the asexual identity. The findings will help practitioners and health professionals develop an understanding of this poorly understood construct. Ultimately this work is aimed at facilitating culturally competent care in the context of asexuality. Results Qualitative analysis produced 3 themes, which can be used, not only to frame asexuality in a positive and normalising way, but also to provide greater understanding of asexuality, ‘romantic differences coupled with sexual indifference’, ‘validation through engagement with asexual communities’ and ‘a diversity of sub-asexual identities’. Conclusions Having some understanding of what it means to identify as asexual, respecting the choices made by asexuals and can markedly improve the experiences of those who embrace an asexual identity when engaging with healthcare. Relevance to clinical practice Anecdotal evidence, taken from one of the largest asexual online forums, suggests that a number of self-identified asexuals choose not to disclose their identity to health care professionals through fear of their asexual status being pathologised, problematised, or judged. Given that asexuality is a poorly understood concept, this may be due to lack of understanding on behalf of healthcare providers. The review provides health professionals and practitioners working in clinical settings with some insights of the features of an asexual identity to facilitate culturally competent care.


Jones, C., Hayter, M., & Jomeen, J. (2017). Understanding asexual identity as a means to facilitate culturally competent care: a systematic literature review. Journal of clinical nursing, 26(23-24), 3811-3831.

Acceptance Date Apr 21, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2017
Publication Date 2017-12
Deposit Date Apr 27, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2018
Journal Journal of clinical nursing
Print ISSN 0962-1067
Electronic ISSN 1365-2702
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 23-24
Pages 3811-3831
Keywords Asexuality, Asexual identity, Sexual identity, Healthcare, Health professionals
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article which has been published in: Journal of clinical nursing, 2017.


Article (329 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jones C, Hayter M, Jomeen J. Understanding asexual identity as a means to facilitate culturally competent care: A systematic literature review. J Clin Nurs. 2017;26:3811–3831., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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