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17 Super-Honest Stories About Dating As An Asexual Person

"I am in a relationship, and the challenge is in other people not understanding that we aren't having sex."

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One of the biggest misconceptions about asexuality is that if you identify somewhere on the ace spectrum, you probably won't ever be in a healthy, happy relationship.

BBC

Of course, that's simply not true. A lot of ace people date, get married, have kids, and all that other mushy relationship stuff. Meanwhile, some don't, and that's okay, too. Navigating relationships can be confusing and complicated for everyone — asexuals included.

We asked people from the BuzzFeed Community who identify on the asexual spectrum to tell us the best and worst things about dating and being in a relationship while ace.

Here are their confessions of love, heartbreak, and everything in between:

1. "The mix of liking being with him but not always knowing what I wanted to do with him was extremely awkward and uncomfortable, and we finally decided to step back from the relationship for a while as I tried to figure myself out."

"I only ever had one boyfriend and we broke up due to my asexuality without me yet realizing I was ace. I just knew that I liked him and I tried to express that physically, but then I'd abruptly get uncomfortable, but not know how to express that. The mix of liking being with him but not always knowing what I wanted to do with him was extremely awkward and uncomfortable, and we finally decided to step back from the relationship for a while as I tried to figure myself out.

Now, I kind of have the opposite problem. I understand myself a lot better, and I want to have a closer relationship with someone, but I don't feel enough attraction to really know who to have that with. I'm pretty certain I only want emotional closeness, cuddles, and maybe kissing — but not sex."

—Anonymous/29/Asexual

2. "I am in a relationship, and the challenge is in other people not understanding that we aren't having sex."

—Kat/36/Queer

3. "I'm wondering when I should bring it up."

"I've actually just begun going out with someone for the first time since realizing I'm ace (I've never dated a lot, even before I started to suspect I might be ace). I'm wondering when I should bring it up. During my last relationship when I did try to talk about my difficulty with sex, the conversation got shut down very quickly because it made him uncomfortable. He insisted sex was instinctual, which it's not for me."

—Anonymous/32/Queer

4. "I think the best thing is that there's not this idea hanging over my head of, 'what's going to happen when we get old/fat/have kids and aren't attracted to each other anymore?'"

"I'm married. We work together really well and we're best friends, but I think that's because good relationships are about more than sex or sexual attraction. I think the best thing is that there's not this idea hanging over my head of, 'what's going to happen when we get old/fat/have kids and aren't attracted to each other anymore?' Because for me, it was never about that."

—Dan/26/Queer

5. "If I was to enter another relationship it would be important to be upfront about my sexuality because I don't want to fall in love with someone who I am simply not compatible with again."

"My past relationship suffered due to a lack of intimacy and at the time. I didn't really know what asexuality was and it wasn't something that I had yet identified with. If I was to enter another relationship it would be important to be upfront about my sexuality because I don't want to fall in love with someone who I am simply not compatible with again."

—Rachel/27/Queer

6. "When you become comfortable with the knowledge that they want you for the things you are willing to provide to the relationship."

"One major challenge I faced was thinking that my partner must constantly want to have sex because my feelings were so strongly opposed. One of the best parts is the connection you form doing other activities happens so much faster, when you become comfortable with the knowledge that they want you for the things you are willing to provide to the relationship."

—Sam/19/Lesbian

7. "We like to joke that I would never cheat on him 'cause I'm not attracted to anyone else."

"I've been with my husband for about 16 years. I fell for him instantaneously — he was mine and that was that. I'm lucky; my demisexuality has never been an issue. We like to joke that I would never cheat on him 'cause I'm not attracted to anyone else."

—Colleen/33/Demisexual

8. "The bonds I have formed in relationships have felt much deeper than those in relationships that form just because the parties want to bang each other."

"In both my past relationships, I was able to be open about my placement on the ace spectrum and they were understanding. I felt that I could respond to their needs accordingly, and in return, they could respond to mine. I think the best part of being ace and in a relationship is that we focus much more on the intimate side of romance (without sexual attraction there to distract me) and the emotions that go alongside it. The bonds I have formed in relationships have felt much deeper than those in relationships that form just because the parties want to bang each other."

—Maria/23/Asexual

9. "To be able to find someone I am madly in love with and who is perfect for me in so many ways — of course it had to be someone on the other side of the world."

"I have always thought I was unlovable because people seem to value sex more than a person. Even after finding out about asexuality, there is still the expectation that if you are in a relationship with someone who is not, then it is the asexual partner that should be compromising their sexuality. As if sex is a basic human need. For me, even the thought of having sex is horrific.

Thankfully I found something better. He is a straight man but he values the real love over sex and would not push me to go further than I am comfortable. We have been talking for almost two years now, but unfortunately, to be able to find someone I am madly in love with and who is perfect for me in so many ways — of course it had to be someone on the other side of the world."

—Anonymous/30/Asexual

10. "The best part is that my partner and I have excellent communication and understanding around sex, which reflects our relationship as a whole: respect, consideration, and communication."

"Balancing the needs of my heterosexual partner with my own lack of need for sex is the hardest part. The best part is that my partner and I have excellent communication and understanding around sex, which reflects our relationship as a whole: respect, consideration, and communication."

—Stephanie/27/Ace

11. "When you find someone who still wants to be with you, it feels so much more special."

"The best part about dating as an asexual is that when you find someone who still wants to be with you, it feels so much more special. You know you're not gonna end up with someone just for sex. I think it can make for better bonds. But the biggest challenge is finding people who have any idea what you're talking about, or who accept it."

—Sarah/26/Biromantic

12. "Initially, he took my disinterest in sex to be the same as a disinterest in him."

"I just entered my second year of a relationship. The first year was really challenging. I had not admitted to myself that I was asexual when we first started dating, I thought that I just needed to be more enthusiastic. So we were having regular sex and I started to feel a paralyzing dread about maintaining this relationship. I felt guilty for 'tricking' him into a relationship that involved sex, even though that was not my intention at all. Initially, he took my disinterest in sex to be the same as a disinterest in him. It took months and months of conversation for both of us to be truly comfortable with my identity. It took me almost a year to stop feeling afraid that he would wake up one day and feel resentful towards me 'trapping' him in a relationship without sex.

The best part of dating and being asexual? There is so much more time for the important stuff! Like reading books while snuggling on the couch and going on adventures."

—Chelsea/29/Asexual

13. "I was already with my boyfriend of five years when I realized I was ace."

"I was already with my boyfriend of five years when I realized I was ace. It's difficult for him to understand my feelings towards sex as I don't particularly seek it out but I realize it's an important part of a relationship for him and I have no problem with that."

—Summer/21/Asexual

14. "You're just completely happy being with them."

"The main challenge has been making sure they are fully aware of what it means to be ace. It hasn't had a large effect on the emotional side of my relationship, but it is relatively new. The best part about it is that you get to fully appreciate any bit of time you get to spend with your partner no matter what you end up doing. You're just completely happy being with them."

—Narissa/22/Ace

15. "A year into our relationship, I began to be sexually attracted to him and, of course, he was thrilled."

"I don't have any challenges with my current boyfriend. He's wonderful and respects me and my boundaries. A year into our relationship, I began to be sexually attracted to him and, of course, he was thrilled. In the past, I didn't date because every time I tried I was told I couldn't know because I hadn't done it or I was really just depressed or (because I am also trans) that I was only dysphoric."

—Caleb/22/Trans

16. "Finding a person who will accept you for being ace is the best part about dating. Otherwise, it's quite hard."

"I've been dumped a few times for it because people aren't fond of the idea of not having sex, which is annoying because I might be attracted to someone, but I can't know unless they give me a chance to figure it out! My current partner was super wonderful about giving me the time I needed, and putting no pressure on me to have sex if I didn't want to. The ball was totally in my court. Finding a person who will accept you for being ace is the best part about dating. Otherwise, it's quite hard."

—Riley/20/Asexual

17. "Dating can be so awkward and the pressure to be sexual at the start is really uncomfortable."

"None of my partners ever believe [that I'm ace] because I do have sex, and they tend to chalk it up to being naive. Usually, as the relationship progresses they get a better idea of what it means and how it works in a long-term relationship. I think the best part of being ace is being in a long-term relationship. Dating can be so awkward and the pressure to be sexual at the start is really uncomfortable."

—Katie/29/Demisexual

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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