People who have no sexual desires and feelings are asexual, and just because asexuality isn’t well known does not stop it from being a valid sexual orientation (or the lack thereof).
Anyone can decide to be celibate. However, this isn’t the same as being asexual. Asexual people feel like they aren’t choosing not to have sexual desires and feelings. Not having them is at the core of who they are, and much like any other sexual identity – being asexual is not a choice.
Dating an asexual person when you aren’t can complicate things a little bit. However, that’s not to say that such relationships can never be successful. Different kinds of relationships can work when people decide to love each other despite all their differences.
However, they must acknowledge their differences can leave their loved ones with unresolved needs. Therefore, it’s essential to find common ground so that people can feel understood in the relationship.
What Happens When the Person You’re Dating is Asexual, and You Aren’t?
When you’re in a relationship with an asexual person, it’s essential to understand what asexuality is so you can make the relationship work with your partner. Asexuality is a diverse sexual orientation, and it also exists in a continuum just like all elements of sexuality.
Some asexual people may have a romantic attraction to other people, and others may identify as aromantic. Being aromantic means, they don’t experience romantic attraction. Since asexuality doesn’t mean the same thing for different people, you must talk to your partner and understand their needs deeply. While this is a prerequisite of any healthy relationship, it is far more so here.
Even though asexual people don’t experience sexual attraction or desire to other people, some are indifferent to sex while others are repulsed by it entirely. Some asexual people choose to have sex when they’re in relationships despite not having a sexual attraction for their partners—some report enjoying sex because it offered them emotional and physical pleasure.
If you’re in a sexual-asexual relationship or considering dating an asexual person, the tips below will help you keep your relationship together.
Understand and Accept Your Partner’s Asexuality
The first thing you have to think about when getting into a relationship with an asexual partner is your willingness to accept that they’re asexual. It isn’t easy to accept that your partner isn’t sexually attracted to you, especially if you don’t understand what asexuality means.
For some asexual (aces), their sexual orientation is a vital part of their entire life, so it’s essential to acknowledge their experience.
The worst mistake you can make for your partner as a non-ace is to try and change them or invalidate their feelings or experience. Doing this reinforces the notion that there’s something wrong with aces, that they’re broken, or that their experiences are due to a mental, personal, or physical issue that they could overcome if only they tried.
Denying your partner’s sexual orientation will not change who they are. Once you acknowledge that your partner is asexual, it will help you understand who they are. There are plenty of resources about asexuality online if you need to learn more. Keep in mind that asexuality means different things for different people.
No one experience of asexuality is the same as another. For instance, some aces are sex-adverse, hypersexual aces, those whose sexual attraction and desire fluctuates, and those who like sex.
As a result, what you read on online resources may not describe your partner’s asexuality. The best way to understand what it truly means for them is to talk to them about it. Talking to your partner about their asexuality is the best place to start when explaining your frustration or feelings of what you don’t understand about your partner.
It’s Not You; It’s Me: Don’t Take it Personally.
When you’re in a relationship with an ace, you might start to think that your partner’s lack of sexual attraction to you is your fault. It isn’t. There’s nothing you need to change about yourself and nothing you could change that would result in your partner feeling sexually attracted to you.
Their disinterest in sex and their lack of sexual attraction to you is not about you. It has nothing to do with your body, how you dress, or who you are. It’s also not about your performance in the bedroom.
Your partner is asexual because that’s who they are. There’s nothing you can change about that. Rather than taking their asexuality personally, consider evaluating the insecurities you have about your partner not desiring sex with you or not being sexually attracted to you.
We’ve always been socialized to feel sexy about ourselves, so when our partners aren’t sexually attracted to us, we feel insecure about ourselves.
The truth is, your asexual partner doesn’t need sexual attraction to be with you or love you. If you’re feeling insecure about anything, keep in mind that you’re dating an asexual and that they may have a range of reasons to be attracted to you. Sexual attraction isn’t the only thing that matters in a relationship.
Your partner could be intellectually attracted to you, or romantically attracted, or even aesthetically attracted. Talk to them about it and find out what makes them tick. All these other different forms of attraction are just as vital in your relationship.
Don’t Put Blame or Pressure on Them
Whether you are dating a bisexual, transgender, gay, or heterosexual; any relationship where one or both partners are under some pressure is unhealthy. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding asexuality. Society says asexuality is unnatural or that it isn’t normal. As a result, asexual people in relationships with non-ace partners end up feeling pressured.
Society says that sex is a fundamental part of intimate relationships and that it’s healthy as such; asexual people feel internal pressure or pressure from their partners to subscribe to society’s parameters of ‘normal’. When there are issues in the relationship related to sexual matters, it is often asexual people that are blamed.
Most of the time, no one ever questions the desire for heterosexual partner’s to have sex. On the other hand, therapy will be suggested for asexual partners. People always assume that asexual people are doing their partner’s a disservice by not offering them sex.
These types of ‘ideals’ can cause unnecessary pressure on partners or lead to sexual boundaries getting crossed. Understand that you can drive your partner away if you pressure them to have sex when they don’t want to. Putting pressure on them will take away the willingness they might have had to have sex with you.
Be willing to evolve with your partner, practice patience, and be secure with your partner. Your partner will respond soon enough – but on their own terms.
Master enjoying every part of your sexuality and that of your partner. Understand what your partner’s stamina and capabilities are when it comes to sex. Keep in mind that the journey should be interesting, pleasurable for both of you, and fun.
Encourage Open Communication About Sexual Boundaries and Needs
While it’s vital not to put pressure on your partner, it’s just as essential to be honest about your sexual needs if you’re in an ace-non-ace relationship.
Of course, in the beginning, you might not want to seem like a jerk for bringing up your sexual desires and needs with your asexual partner. It can be frustrating when you can’t talk about what you need, which can affect your relationship attitude.
As long as you’re open and honest with each other from the beginning when you start dating, you can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and drama. Talk about your sex life with your partner and make sure you’re both comfortable about where you are in the relationship.
As a non-ace, it’s essential to talk about your sexual needs, your partner’s boundaries, and what’s working or not working for your relationship. Be open about whether your needs are being met; talk about the best way to respond when your partner opens up about their feelings. Keep in mind that dating an asexual person is a journey or a learning process, and it’d be great if you walked through it together.
While you should understand your partner’s asexuality and their boundaries, it’s just as vital that they understand your sexuality and your needs. Understand that you shouldn’t confuse sexual entitlement and sexual needs. Sexual entitlement refers to society’s expectations about who should give who sex, and sexual needs are a valid experience.
Sexual entitlement is not healthy in any relationship. The goal of your relationship should be to find common ground where your partner’s boundaries are observed and where your needs are met. A couple in an ace – non-ace relationship can still allow sex to play a vital role in connecting them and ensuring a sense of unity as long as open communication is involved.
For instance, if the asexual partner is open to having sex, both partners can agree on the number of times they’d like to have sex. This ensures that one partner’s needs are still being met even though the other one’s mind doesn’t dwell on sex.
Partners can still have sex even in an ace –non-ace relationship because both partners understand that sex isn’t only about satisfying one partner sexually.
Be Open-Minded About the Definition of a Relationship
When you’re having a little trouble finding common ground between your partner’s boundaries and your sexual needs, it will help to be a little more creative. Relationships will involve compromise, especially when both partners don’t have similar sexual needs.
Aces are all different with different kinds of boundaries. Some of them will have sex with their partners once in a while, and others will have sex with their partners more frequently. It would help if you kept an open mind about different types of relationships.
Consider whether you and your partner would work together in a non-monogamous, polyamorous, or open relationship. There are also other forms of intimacy you can consider. Remember that your relationship can be unique and doesn’t have to conform to society’s set ideas about what a ‘normal’ relationship should look like.
Sit down together and create the rules for your relationship. Remember that both of you should be comfortable with the rules you set up for your relationship. You may have to start-stop-start plenty of times until you agree on what works for both of you. Sometimes, when neither partner in the relationship can compromise, the relationship may have to end.
It can be dangerous when people use sex for validation in a relationship, especially where one is asexual, and the other isn’t. It can lead to a loss of self-esteem or push a partner to seek validation from someone or somewhere else.
Survival of the relationship can only happen when you change the state of your mind, ensuring you get a different kind of validation from your partner and becoming more secure in the relationship.
Explore Other Ways To Be Intimate
You can attain closeness and intimacy with your partner even in the absence of sex. Asexuals are like anyone else and have their unique boundaries, desires, and needs. Share what your needs are or boundaries if you have any. A lingering kiss is a great way to maintain intimacy with your partner.
Other ways to be intimate include giving massages without any expectations from your partner. Think of it as a way of touching and communicating what you feel about each other. Master the art of gazing deeply into your partner’s eyes and let them know how much you appreciate them. Understand that sex isn’t the only thing that can keep a relationship together.
You and your partner can practice love in many different ways and still find happiness in your relationship. Understand that your sexuality is your responsibility and that you should be patient and give allowances when you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have the same sexual urges that you do. Remember that you can also take matters into your own hands. Think about masturbation.
It’s a great way to meet your sexual urges when you have a partner who might not be in the space to satisfy you physically.
All relationships require effort, and it’s up to both of you to agree on what you can each do.