Things Not To Do and Things To Do
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I?m asexual, and I?ve dated sexual people. Sometimes this has gone well, sometimes it hasn?t. For me, I?m now sticking exclusively to dating those who also identify on the ace spectrum, but I know of other aces who are in relationships with sexuals and who make it work.
Here are some tips, from my point of view.
It?s all about respect.
If your partner reveals they?re ace, respect that. Don?t try and change their mind, don?t undermine them, don?t say that you can cure them.
Asexuality isn?t something that can be cured ? nor should you try to cure it. It doesn?t NEED to be cured.
It?s also about communication.
Asexuality is a spectrum that encompasses many different ?sub-types? of asexuality, including gray-sexuals and demi-sexuals.
Ask your partner what being ace means for them.
Some asexuals do still have sex ? sometimes because they want to, other times to please a partner (but never use that as a reason to get them to sleep with you).
Some asexuals are open to some types of sex but not others.
Some asexuals are happy with intimate, non-sexual contact. Others aren?t.
Views on romance also differ.
Chances are if you met your partner through a dating site and they reveal they?re asexual and not interested in sex, they?re probably interested in romance.
But not all asexuals are interested in romance.
Some want love, some don?t.
You need to ask what?s okay with them and what?s not.
Don?t pretend you?re asexual if you?re not.
So, this actually happened. I told this guy I?d started to see that I was ace. He didn?t know what it was, and I explained. He?d already told me how much he enjoys sex and is a very sexual person.
But the day after I told him I was ace? Well, suddenly he said he was too. He told me he never wanted sex again. He put on his profile that he was asexual. He changed all his answers to various questions on the dating site so his match percentage with mine was 99%. It was a little creepy.
I think he was trying to prove to me that we could make a relationship work ? that he could be asexual too. And this brings me onto the next point:
You can?t decide to be asexual to suit someone else.
Asexuality is something you are. If you?re choosing not to refrain from sex, that?s celibacy, and that?s a completely different thing.
If you choose to forego sex because you?re with an asexual person, then don?t try and also claim the ace label as your own. That?s not appropriate.
(Incidentally, the guy I mentioned above dropped the ?ace? label as soon as I told him I didn?t think a relationship would work. He changed back all his profile answers so our match percentage went back to 60% and then added more to his profile about how sexual he was.)
I was also previously in a two-year relationship where it turned out all along my partner who told me he was ace and not at all interested in sex had been seeking out women for hookups. He believed that was his right, as he was dating an ace woman when he wasn?t really ace himself. He?d only told me he was so he could keep me. For two years, I believed he was ace too, until I found him on a dating site searching for hookups…
Similarly, don?t pretend you?re okay with them being asexual if you?re not.
If you have to pretend that you?re okay with your partner being ace when you?re not, that?s a warning sign that perhaps this relationship won?t work. You need to be honest about your feelings too.
And it?s much better for you to let your ace partner find someone else who is truly accepting of their sexuality than to pretend you?re okay with it.
Pretending will only lead to resentment, and that?s never healthy in a relationship.
Never make the person feel bad for being ace, or like they need to change for you.
I thought this was a given, but it?s worth saying loudly for the people at the back: Never make your partner feel bad for being ace, or like they need to change for you.
And, also, your partner may not realize they?re ace until later on. And that?s okay.
People realize they?re ace at different times. I knew quite young that I wasn?t interested in sex, but it wasn?t until I was in my early twenties that I came across the term ?asexual? and began to learn more about this sexuality. It wasn?t until I was 24 that I began to embrace this as part of my identity. But a year later, at 25, I still don?t tell everyone about it.
Don?t tell people you?re dating an asexual person if your partner isn?t comfortable with being outed like this.
It?s all about communication and understanding each other. Make sure you have your partner?s permission before you tell people they?re ace.
From my own perspective, having others know you?re asexual can be scary. It can also be uncomfortable and upsetting, given the reactions you get.
My close friends know, as do my parents ? but one of my parents had quite an offensive reaction. My partner also knows, but at the moment that?s as far as I want to take it. And that?s also why I write these articles on asexuality under a pen name.