Dating While Ace

There are a lot of questions around asexuality, and naturally dating is a topic that comes up often. Can you date if you’re asexual? Can you be in a relationship? When do you have to tell your partner? Do you tell them at all?

Asexual dating isn’t that far off from typical dating. There’s no secret language or asexual code (though how rockin’ would that be). You’re getting to know someone, spending time with someone new, and seeing if you get along and like the same pizza toppings. You still have to navigate social norms, try and balance feelings and reason, and juggle schedules and obligations. But many sexual people use sex and intimacy as interchangeable concepts, and for a lot of people, that’s simply not the case.

There are many different kinds of intimacy, to me. There’s physical intimacy, where you can have sex with your partner, tell them what you like, what works for you, and not feel like you need to hide or run away. There’s also emotional intimacy, where you can be honest and trust that your partner won’t use your words against you later on.

Personally, I’ve begun telling my partners that I identify as asexual. We talk about it, I reassure them that there’s no inherent flaw with them, and then it’s over. But I do like to wait a little while, and there’s such a huge emphasis placed on sex in this society that it can feel disingenuous to date if you are sex-repulsed or don’t plan on having sex with the person you’re seeing. But it’s not lying or hiding something from your partner; it’s just waiting until trust has been established in order to discuss what many see as a marginalized identity.

For me, it doesn’t feel right to not tell my partner at all. Waiting is fine, discussing it is great, but I do think it’s something that needs to be dealt with. Not in the way that you need to deal with jealousy issues or anything, but in the way that it’s very easy for me to forget to have sex with my partner and they’re more likely to take it personally if they don’t know my attraction isn’t based on them.

I’ve had some partners react poorly. Sometimes they don’t believe me. Sometimes they just shrug it off and move on. Although most of the time anyone I tell is generally accepting, but I’m always curious how other people on the asexual spectrum navigate dating. When do you tell your partner? Do you have conflicting feelings about telling them or not telling them? Let me know in the comments!

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