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Navigating Online Dating and Relationships as an Asexual

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You might think that dating as an asexual or dating an asexual person, is a bit of an oxymoron. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about people who are asexual, from what it actually means, to how they feel about sexual health and intimate relationships with other people. Asexual doesn’t mean that people do not have feelings, but it does mean that they don’t do relationships or intimacy in the way that many other people do.

Dating in any context can be a difficult prospect. With today’s fast-paced world of online dating, this has never been more true. And, if you happen to be someone who doesn’t love like most people, well, that might add another layer to the challenge. But we know that there are many ways to live and love, and we want to bring more understanding about those who don’t necessarily live like the majority.

While we can’t make misinformed people and bad dates go away, we can help dispel some of the confusion about asexual relationships and what the dating world is like for people who don’t have your average type of relationships. The very term “asexual” brings up a lot of conflicting imagery and ideas, but what does it really mean? There are a lot of people who don’t fall into a typical heteronormative relationship, so it’s good to try and understand the dating world for people who live alternatively a little better.

To do this, we sat down with Natalie, an asexual who has been navigating the world of online dating. Natalie shares a few useful tips that she thinks can help those who are in her position and enlighten those who aren’t.

Asian woman smiling while using phone in cafe.

#Dating: Hey, Natalie, thanks for sitting down with us to have this conversation. There is a lot of confusion about what being an asexual is. Could we start by discussing what the term means?

Natalie: Hi, sure thing! A lot of people think that an asexual is someone who straight up doesn’t have any feelings for anyone. But any asexual can tell you that’s definitely not true! The label can be pretty confusing for people who have never had any experience with it. To me, being asexual means that I don’t need the physical parts of a relationship. And for most asexuals I’ve met, that’s probably how they’d describe it too. There are some people who don’t want any sort of intimate contact, whether physical or emotional. But for me at least, it’s the physical side of things that I prefer to avoid, not intimacy in general.

An young couple sitting on a bench in front of a city building, enjoying the urban scenery.

#Dating: That can be pretty hard for those who aren’t asexual to understand. What struggles have you faced when trying to date as an asexual?

Natalie: (laughs) So many! A lot of people like to try and convince you that you “just haven’t met the right person yet”. Of course it’s frustrating when people think they can change your whole sexual identity, but when I get that response, I know right away that that’s not the person for me – and I can move on. What I’ve learned over the years is to not let people make you feel like you need to be changed.

People thinking they can change you is something that you definitely deal with as an asexual, both on dating apps and in real life. It’s because some people just don’t get it. One time, I was asked why I’m even on dating apps if I don’t want sex… But dating apps are about so much more than that nowadays, you can connect with people who you’d never normally meet in real life!

The thing is, having to answer questions like that can really help you understand yourself better and make it easier to answer those questions the next time.

Woman on window sill, focused on phone screen.

#Dating: And what did you say in response to that person’s question?

Natalie: Well, I told them, even if you’re not asexual, you probably don’t spend 24 hours a day having sex. What do you do with your partner the rest of the time? You talk, you share stories about yourself, you eat together, confide in them and give your heart to that person. For asexuals, we still want the connection that comes with all those things. It’s just that the emotional and social intimacy of a relationship doesn’t need to be accompanied by getting physical.

An couple sitting at a table in a restaurant, enjoying a meal together.

#Dating: How do you broach the topic with potential dates?

Natalie: I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years, but what I’ve found is that it is best to be open and honest from the start. There are a lot of people who will immediately lose interest, but you have to be okay with that. That’s just not your person! When you live differently to other people, you have to accept that many won’t understand.

Sure, it might feel disappointing at the time but you want to let those people go anyway. Neither of you will be happy in the relationship. If they keep hoping for something more than you are able to give them, and you just keep hoping they will understand, well that’s a recipe for pain and heartache.

Disappointed man and woman sitting on the ground with cityscape backdrop.

#Dating: It sounds like dating for asexual people is a tough thing to go through?

Natalie: I’m not sure it’s really any harder than traditional dating, just different. It’s not always easy for people who want traditional relationships either!

I have to say though that there are a lot of positives that come from the experience as well. The thing I would tell anyone out there who wants to find a partner for an asexual relationship is to be realistic. Like dating generally, it is a tough world out there because we all have different needs and wishes. I like to remind myself that finding that proverbial diamond in the rough might take a while but it will be worth the wait.

A woman with curly hair sitting on a couch, engrossed in using her phone for communication and entertainment.

#Dating: Have you had any success on dating apps?

Natalie: You know, I have. There are some really good people out there! I found it hard dating in real life in a small town but thanks to online dating, I’ve been able to get to know people from all over the world! I’ve met lots of other people like me and recently I found someone with potential, so fingers crossed there’s something long-term there!

Plus, there have been times with other people when we haven’t connected romantically but I’ve been able to stay friends with them, which is also good if you ask me.

#Dating: Are you confident that you will find what you are looking for one day?

Natalie: I am. I feel like I have a lot to offer and would love to share that with someone else who can respect me for who I am. Ideally, I would find someone who has the same sexual identity as me, it would be a point that we could really bond over. In a lot of ways, I’m just looking for an exclusive best friend and I really do believe I will find that one day. There is someone for all of us out there.

Thank you to Natalie for her candidness and bravery, and for taking the time to discuss this topic. We know that for many people, it can be tricky to talk about the challenges they face when navigating the world of dating. This conversation really helped to shine a light on some of the intricacies of dating as an asexual. We hope that this helps you in some way on your journey to finding the right relationship for you, no matter your preferences or sexual identity.

Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.


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