Dating While Asexual

Daunting. Positively daunting.

As some readers will know, I’m in a relationship that’s basically a marriage minus the paperwork. We’re seven years strong and things are super.

Recently we’ve been discussing the possibility of seeing other people casually. Our priority is being partners. We always want to come home to each other, share our lives and be there for each other. Our family of two cats and one another is the happiest part of my life, and I fully trust it is for him too. But if he ever wants to completely understand his sexuality, he needs to explore with people who he can, well, explore with. And frankly, I’m interested to know more about the hulabuloo of asexual dating, or rather, how it works since I managed to skip that altogether. So now the door is open to both of us. And so, ladies gents and all in between, I created an Okcupid profile.

Right off the bat during profile creation, I noticed there’s no option for ‘asexual’ when listing your orientation. I get it. We’re like 1% of the population, and we’re seldom talked about, so I expected this (but maaaybe you could add it sometime, hmm? HMM?). I opted for Bisexual, since I develop romantic attractions to men and women.

This means I need to list somewhere in my profile that I’m asexual. The question is, where?

I tried putting it right at the beginning, thinking that it seemed right. People should know right away before they decide they like the rest of my profile and are disappointed, right?

No, wrong, it felt very wrong. Being asexual barely defines me, I’m 10 times more interesting than that. Besides, I’m looking for new friends and some causal dating sans sexual encounters. I’m not seeking a permanent partner, so I don’t think it’s even all that important. That information is now at the very end of my profile.

I learned that when you put yourself out there, you’re going to get a lot of people questioning if you really are who you say you are. With in a few hours of creating my profile, I received multiple messages asking me how I could be asexual because x y or z. However, I’m a sucker for educating, and while no one has an obligation to explain themselves, I opted to answer any respectful questions. But the numbers grew tiring, and I eventually added a link to a comic about asexuality to my profile. To my surprise, the questions actually stopped, indicating people are actually reading that thing. Cudos, y’all.

Once my profile was up to snuff and I had answered enough questions to build a decent representation of my personality, I started searching for other asexuals in Toronto. And, well… numbers are bleak. I messaged a couple of people who seemed compatible with me, but much to my dismay, no reply. That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to be as simple as “find asexuals, send message, gain community.” They need to feel just as interested in a friendship with me as I do with them, and just because I’m asexual doesn’t mean they’re going to be interested. I learned this when I received messages from other asexuals but just didn’t feel compelled to reply because there was no feeling of connection. It didn’t help that none who messaged me live in my city, and I’m not particularly interested in online friendships right now.

But then something unexpected happened. Amongst the messages from horny dudes and one very foul mouthed gal, and sappy guys with a pension for cheese, came a couple of messages from people who I really seem to click with, a couple who recognize and understand my asexuality, and want to be my friend. Sure I can’t relate to them in terms of sexuality per say, but I get a fresh start with people who are meeting me as asexual and accept it. I think that may be almost as good.

While this works for me, I understand that for other asexuals seeking primary partners this sounds bleak and unfortunate. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy, because it’s not. I do have some recommendations though.

  • Searching for people who actually use the word “asexual” in their profile will not bring up all, or even most, of the people who aren’t seeking sex. A lot of people don’t identity as asexual perhaps because the definition doesn’t quite suit them or they just haven’t explored that side of themselves yet. Pay close attention to how people answer questions about sex, and whether or not their personality graph indicated they are “more or less” interested in sex. Also try searching terms like “grey-sexual” or “demisexual.” You may not be perfectly compatible, but I couldn’t ask for a better person than my grey partner.
  • Be open to an open relationship. Perhaps you meet someone and you get along splendidly, but you can’t fulfill them sexually. Maybe they’d be okay with seeing others for physical fulfillment.
  • Even if the end goal is one partner, try seeking many friendships who understand you in the meantime. Being asexual can feel lonely. You’re stuck in a world where you’re the odd one out, all the time. You don’t face the same boundaries that LGBT face, you’re not going to lose a job for being asexual and it’s unlikely that you’re going to be harassed, but finding community can feel impossible. Developing close friendships can help with this, and you never know where one could lead.
  • Try visiting AVEN or reddit/r/asexuality for more support. There are many threads regarding dating that you can turn to for advice and/or support.

When I joined Okcupid, my first priority was meeting other asexual people to relate to, my second priority was meeting cool people to hang out with. But my priorities shifted. My silly online dating experiment has become more about making new connections with people who are getting to know me as asexual, instead of me having to explain it or ignore it altogether. I’m meeting someone tomorrow, here’s hoping it’s a promising friendship with someone who gets it.

Do you want more posts about asexuality? Are you someone who can relate? Do you like to learn about it, or would you prefer I stick to lingerie and games?