About one percent of the population identifies as asexual. As a result of being such a sexual minority, the general public tends to either be uninformed or ill-informed on matters relating to them. This lack of information has lead to a lot of confusion for their actual and prospective partners.
The Spectrum of Asexuality
So, what can you expect when dating an asexual? We should first acknowledge that, regardless of sexuality, people and relationships are not monolithic. Being asexual does not always mean that someone does not experience sexual attraction or enjoy sex.
Asexuality exists on a spectrum upon which some have high sex drives and engage in sexual activity, while others feel little, if any, sexual desire and abstain from sex entirely.
The latter is more likely to pose issues in relationships where the other partner is allosexual. This asymmetry in sexual desire is a potential problem that can be mitigated by healthy and ongoing communication.
Those entering the relationship have a duty to honestly discuss their expectations, boundaries, wants, and needs. Such conversations can be difficult, and some feel pressured to come across as overly accomodating. Those who place a great deal of importance on sex might feel they have to deny their desires to enjoy a relationship with an asexual individual.
Conversely, asexuals may misrepresent their level of sexual desire and comfort to satisfy their partner. As you would expect, a relationship built on a foundation of dishonesty and self-denial is not likely to be incredibly healthy or long-lasting. Unmitigated honesty between partners is crucial.
As you might guess, asexual people do not tend to center their understanding of relationships around sex. This concept can be pretty hard for allosexual individuals to understand. Media and society have led many to believe that sex is integral to all romantic engagements.
Asexual people tend to build intimate connections with their partners via other means. Kisses, massages, cuddling, deep conversations, etc., can do a lot to deepen bonds between partners. To avoid needless confusion, talk to your partner about their boundaries and what they expect out of a relationship.
Our society has normalized the notion that a lack of sexual attraction and desire is synonymous with an absence of love. This notion is patently false. Sexual activity is not the only way to express love. The majority of our demonstrations of affection are non-sexual.
When you hold a hand, give a hug, write love letters, give compliments, provide emotional support, or even cook meals, you display how much you care for your partner. Love is a complicated, multifaceted thing, and reducing it down to one mode of expression is ridiculous. When dating an asexual person, take joy in these noncarnal things that are often not given their proper due.
Should you find that you are unable to abstain from sex while in a relationship with an asexual person, there are things that can offer you a means of satisfying that urge.
You might find that you deeply love or care for your asexual partner yet feel that you have needs that the relationship does not fully address. Nothing is necessarily wrong with that.
There are numerous different relationship configurations. Negotiating the terms of your relationship can offer possible solutions. In our puritanical society, monogamous relationships are considered the standard.
Alternatively, people view relationships that deviate from the supposed norm as cheating or indicative of dysfunction and disloyalty, but that is not always true. Unlike affairs, polyamorous relationships require the consent and knowledge of each partner.
These nonmonogamous relationship models have the potential to be just as, if not more, fulfilling as monogamy. Nonmonogamous relationships might not be for everybody, so discuss such matters with your partner beforehand.
Do Not Pressure
Relationships between people with disparate levels of sexual desire are relatively prevalent, so dating asexual people will not necessarily present unique difficulties.
Like in all relationships, it is essential not to make your asexual partner feel pressured to participate in sexual activities with which they are uncomfortable. Do not goad or badger them into renouncing their boundaries.
If dating an asexual individual, you should make sure that they feel comfortable. Asexuals frequently have their sexuality questioned, dismissed, and challenged, so your relationship should be a safe place. The aim of a relationship should never be to wear your partner down or change them, especially when it comes to their sexuality.
Asexual Expressions of Affection
Compliments are a normal part of relationships, but asexuals may differ in what they consider complimentary. Many asexuals have expressed discomfort or confusion when called sexy and often will not offer compliments based on attraction.
Not being praised for appearance might make some people feel uneasy, as they may conclude that their partner is not romantically interested in them. This perception is generally inaccurate.
Asexuals often have little regard or frame of reference on matters of sex appeal, which is why they are more likely to complement things like intelligence or skill.
Asexuals are often not physically or sexually attracted to their partners, so expecting them to affirm attractiveness or sexual desirability can cause some issues. It is essential to understand where your partner is coming from and what they value. Enjoy them for who they are and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Dating an asexual person can present some difficulties. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome these issues so long as both parties are willing to work together and communicate.