by John Santana
Some people genuinely enjoy dating — because even if they don’t fall in love, they get to have lots of new and exciting experiences and meet lots of cool people they may become friends with. Others see dating as a necessary evil, an awkward step on the path to meeting the love of their life.
Both groups might see sex as one of the biggest perks of dating.
What if the person you are dating identifies as asexual, though? What does that mean for your dating experience and your future relationship?
This guide explores what asexuality is. We’ll also share tips for dating an asexual person if you’re not asexual, and offer asexual daters some useful pointers.
What Is Asexuality?
People have started exploring all the interesting facets of human sexuality and gender identity more openly in the last decade or so. The internet has made this a lot easier, and the days in which you could choose from “straight,” “gay,” or “bi” are long gone.
Some people identify as asexual, a label that’s often abbreviated to “ace.”
What does asexuality mean? It’s more complicated than you might think.
The Greek prefix “a” (familiar from words like “atheist,” “agnostic,” and “amoral”) means “not,” “a lack of,” or “without.” The same prefix can also have Latin origins, in which case its meaning is slightly more flexible — “off” or “away from.”
As such, asexuality broadly refers to a person who does not experience sexual attraction to other people and does not want to have sex.
Asexual people may have a romantic orientation — they may be heteroromantic, biromantic, or homoromantic, for example.
Some consider asexuality to be a sexual orientation, while others hold it to be the lack of a sexual orientation. Either way, asexuals and asexual advocacy groups agree that it exists on a spectrum. That’s complicated, but it means that not all asexuals are the same.
Some people who identify as asexual:
- Do not experience sexual attraction but are very romantic and would like to meet a partner for life. People who are asexual but romantic can fall in love and might be looking for a relationship and life-long partnership.
- Can experience sexual attraction, but only if they have already formed a strong emotional bond. This orientation is called demisexual, and it falls into the asexual spectrum.
- Some people who identify as asexual may be open to having sex. Some may enjoy it.
- Some people on the asexual spectrum go through phases of feeling more sexual and phases in which they are not sexual at all.
It is important to note that being asexual isn’t the same as being celibate or abstaining from sex. These terms refer to a conscious choice not to engage in sex, even though a person may experience sexual attraction. For example, people may be celibate for religious or personal reasons and usually don’t date.
What Does Asexuality Mean To The Person You’re Dating?
If you’re dating someone who identifies as asexual, it’s important to be aware that “ace” means different things to different people. Talking to the person you’re dating is the best way to find out what being asexual means to them!
You can leave the labels behind if you like, and simply ask your date what kinds of things they hope to get out of their dating experience.
At the same time, share what you want from your dating experience — and how you might both see the future. Is sex important to you? You might want to mention that early on and discuss whether this makes you two incompatible.
What Should You Consider If You’re Dating An Asexual Person, but You’re Not Asexual?
Have you gone on a few dates with someone who told you they’re asexual? Do you really like the person, and have you perhaps developed a crush?
Being sexually incompatible may complicate your dating experience and future relationship. Fortunately, healthy and open communication can do a lot to overcome that problem.
Keep reading for helpful pointers as you navigate your first-time experience with dating an asexual person.
1. Just Have Fun
Plenty of people date a lot, whether they use dating apps to meet new people or meet people through work or friends.
The earliest stages of dating usually involve fun activities like enjoying great meals, chatting to get to know each other, going to the cinema, and trying exciting activities like white-water rafting or bungee jumping.
It’s not uncommon for people to go on dates just to meet new people and form new friendships, especially if they’ve just moved to a new area. Even if you don’t “click” with any of the people you date, you may make some great friends. Asexuality doesn’t interfere with this early part of dating at all. Just get to know each other and do fun things.
2. Ask Questions
Once your date mentions that they are asexual, you might have a few different feelings.
You may be curious. Your asexual date isn’t a walking asexuality encyclopedia, but they probably expect some questions. Feel free to ask, and periodically check if you’re boring your date with all your questions.
You may be dating because you’re looking for a life partner — someone you may marry and have kids with in the future. If you’re anything like most people, you are looking forward to a relationship that includes sexual intimacy. You may think this means you aren’t compatible with your asexual date, no matter how much you like the person.
That may be true, or it may not be. Because asexuality exists on a spectrum and some people who do indeed want sexual intimacy also consider themselves asexual, sex may be in your future. Ask.
3. Remember That Being Asexual Isn’t the Same as Being Aromantic
Snuggling as you watch TV, spooning in bed, holding hands, and kissing may be some aspects of a romantic relationship you enjoy most. The asexual person you are dating may love these things just as much as you do.
If you want to know, ask!
4. Don’t Try to Push Your Asexual Date Out of Their Comfort Zone
All healthy relationships, romantic and otherwise, are based on mutual respect (and often love as well).
Rule One of dating an asexual person is that you should never try to talk them into having sex they don’t want — or refuse to believe they don’t want sex and instead assume they just haven’t met the right person yet.
This one applies to all dating experiences, really. Move forward with the relationship if you can both accept each other exactly as you are and step back or agree to be friends if it’s clear that you’re not compatible.
5. Be Prepared to Feel a Little Insecure
Dating an asexual person may, at times, make you feel like you’re not attractive enough, and that’s why your date doesn’t want to be intimate with you.
Has your date been open about being asexual? Let go of those feelings of insecurity. Your date’s lack of sexual feelings has nothing to do with you and everything with them. Remind yourself of that whenever you feel like you’re not good enough.
What Should You Consider If You Are Asexual and Dating Someone Who Isn’t?
When “aces” include people who do experience sexual attraction in their dating pool, things can get complicated — but that doesn’t mean you should just give up, especially if you’ve met someone you are romantically attracted to who also likes you!
These tips can help you navigate your dating experience.
1. Be Open About Your Needs and Orientation
The simple fact is that most people looking for a romantic relationship are also looking for sex. If you’re asexual, you may never want sex, occasionally want sex, or be open to sexual intercourse because you’d like to have kids at some point in the future, strictly for procreative purposes.
You may mainly express your feelings of affection through other forms of physical contact, like hugging and snuggling. You may express closeness through shared experiences or intimate conversations.
You can safely assume that the person you’re dating also enjoys all of those ways to express love and affection, giving you some common ground.
However, people who experience sexual attraction (sometimes called “allosexuals” — who may be straight, gay, bi, or pan, among other orientations) may not understand where you stand. Sex may be very important to them.
As annoying as it is when you go on many dates, asexuals dating non-asexual people can expect to explain what their asexuality means to them over and over.
If you’re tired of doing that, you might find some links that explain how you feel very well and simply share them with someone you’re developing feelings for.
2. Keep An Eye on Red Flags
If you already know you’re not interested in having sex, ever, but the person you’re dating doesn’t quite seem to believe that, you have a problem. There’s no future in that kind of relationship, and any hint of pressure is a sign that you’re better off moving on.
3. Consider Dating Other Asexuals
Dating other asexuals who share your romantic orientation may be the best way to enjoy a good dating experience and find a person who could become your life partner.
There are plenty of ways to find other asexuals to date!
You can try dating apps exclusive to asexuals, announce your orientation on a mainstream dating app, or meet people through friends or at LGBTQ+ venues.
Not only won’t you have to explain who you are every time if you date other asexuals, you’re also more likely to find someone you can see yourself settling down with!
4. Have Fun
Dating is an interesting and fun experience for many. While many dating apps have turned into hookup apps, they’re definitely not all like that! If you want to try dating, you can look forward to trying out lots of new activities and seeing lots of new places. You’ll get to meet people you wouldn’t normally encounter in your daily life.
You wouldn’t be the first person to go on a date with someone you’re 100 percent romantically incompatible with but to be pleasantly surprised to meet a new friend who turns into a long-term jogging partner.
5. Honor Your Boundaries
Having a romantic relationship often means doing things you don’t want to do for the person you love. Who wants to suffer through Christmas dinners with toxic in-laws, after all?
However, sex you don’t want should never be on the menu — please don’t talk yourself into being intimate with a date because it’s important to them when you absolutely aren’t feeling it.
We should all get to be ourselves with our romantic partners, and if things already feel uncomfortable while you’re dating, that doesn’t bode well for the future. You are uniquely you, and the right partner for you will love you just the way you are!
Dating An Asexual Person: Some Final Tips
Dating someone who shares your romantic orientation but who is asexual can be complicated — but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s not nearly as complex as some people make it out to be.
The same things that make any relationship successful serve you well when you date an asexual person, too. Communicate openly and honestly, get to know each other’s values, have fun together, and ensure you have plenty of things in common. Explore each other’s feelings and boundaries, and respect them at all times.
Ask yourself if you could see yourself settling down with the person you are dating or whether there are factors that make you two fundamentally incompatible. Yes, sex may be one of those things — but plenty of other factors may make you decide to stop dating someone, too.
Relationships between asexuals and allosexuals can be successful, even in the long term. You won’t know what the future holds when you’ve just started dating someone, but you’ll figure it out together as you go on dates and get to know each other.
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