Question of the Week: June 7th, 2016.

If you want a partner, would you prefer that they be asexual?

My longest relationships have been with people who don’t identify as asexual. As a sex-favourable asexual my personal experiences with asexuality don’t really reflect how many other aces experience asexuality or come to an asexual identity. Other than sharing a label I don’t think we’d have much in common. That being said, sharing a label can be an important bonding experience. For a short period of time I dated someone on the ace spectrum and discussing asexuality brought us closer together. On the other hand, asexuality also may have been one of the reasons we broke up. Bonding over asexuality may be more significant in friendships than relationships for me.

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is petuniaparty.tumblr.com
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16 Responses to Question of the Week: June 7th, 2016.

  1. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Given that this would be a queerplatonic partnership with one or more people, I can’t say I’d have much of a preference. However, given what I do activism-wise, I meet a lot more interesting aces than allos, so the dating pool (if you can call it that), as well as the friendship pool has a definite bias.

  2. Elana says:

    This is very timely because I was just thinking about how I don’t have a good mental model (though I’m sure I could find a couple examples online somewhere) of an ace-allo relationship. I know I’d make sure to tell the person that I’m ace early on, but then…
    This is theoretical now, but I’d really love to have models of an ideal scenario, since I tend to imagine devastating rejection more easily.
    Dating another ace does sound easier.

  3. queenieofaces says:

    I’ve only dated aces since 2009–that’s less preference and more that the pool of people I would be compatible with overlaps a lot more with folks who are ace than not. For non-romantic relationships, sexuality matters a lot less to me than other things, like how well we get along and what interests we have in common.

  4. epochryphal says:

    yeah, unfortunately sometimes trying to work things out with another grey and/or arcflux person, we just never sync up and it’s doubly frustrating.

    at the same time it’s really Really important to me that partners understand how weeeiiird attraction/romance/etc are for me and how Meaningful certain stuff is. which is by no means guaranteed by dating another ace, but it does seem to improve the odds?

    • queenieofaces says:

      Ohhh, I know the “please understand weird attraction” feels, which is probably why I’ve dated a disproportionate number of wtfromantics.

  5. Siggy says:

    Back when I considered dating aces, we would have had to met online, which was just too much of a barrier for me. And I just wasn’t sure whether I’d prefer a relationship with or without sex, and I guess a lack of cuddling would be a definite dealbreaker. I gave up after chatting with one or two people.

    And both people being ace I don’t think would have helped much in terms of us understanding each other. Lots of aces are in the early stages of educating themselves and finding their footing, and many of those people aren’t necessarily reading any resources that go into depth (like learning about gray-As or aces who like sex). This was in 2010–at best they were reading AVEN threads, but more likely not even that.

  6. The idea of dating someone who is also ace sounds good in theory. But then I think about how I’d have to find an ace I’m attracted to aesthetically and sensually (because sometimes I don’t experience both and both are kind of requisite for me if I want to date someone), have a good rapport with, and who’s comfortable with making out and a fair amount of touching. The latter is a lot easier to find in allosexual partners. But we all know dating allos can comewith a whole set of difficulties. Dating isn’t something I have a lot of experience with and honestly the process is made more daunting due to my identity. It’s frustrating.

  7. Mara says:

    While my sample size is very small (one of each), I’ve actually had better luck dating someone who’s not asexual than someone who is. I feel like either way you have to talk about boundaries and things, so you still have a lot of ‘work’ to do with an ace partner (work is definitely not the word in looking for but it’s the only one I could think of), and really since there are more allos you’ve probably got more chance of finding an understanding person who you like and who likes you then you are to find an ace who you like and likes you.

  8. Writer Ace says:

    I would much prefer to date someone who’s ace. I’ve spent a total of (approximately) 31 months dating (a total of two) allo people, specifically straight men, and it’s incredibly draining for me to be in a relationship with someone who wants to have sex with you. Even if they’re cool with not having sex (BF #2), it can still strain the relationship, and you always know that it’s there. While I tend to think of it as wanting to date ace people (which I haven’t done yet), I guess it’s really that I want to date someone who doesn’t want to have sex with me, which can also include sex-neutral or sex-averse allo people. My best friend is straight and sex-neutral, and I’ve talked to her about the issues with dating someone who wants to have sex with you.

  9. Sciatrix says:

    *makes face* Since 2010, when I wound up in a bad situation which wasn’t actually anyone’s fault, I haven’t pursued committed relationships with anyone who isn’t ace. (That’s sort of a moot point, since that’s when I met my current partners, but even if I was to go hunting for a new partner tomorrow I would probably rule out allo people.)

    It’s less about the sex or pressure aspect–I find monogamy vaguely confusing anyway, although I want to be an emotional priority–and more about the fact that I need to have my identity and background understood. I need to not be playing educator in my relationships, and I need to be able to seek support without first having to provide context for my feelings.

  10. acetylcholine says:

    I started dating my current SO prior to realizing I was ace… There have definitely been some challenges as we got used to each other, but things seems to be settling into place 🙂

  11. Rachel says:

    Oy, that’s a complicated question. Relationships are entirely hypothetical to me (never had one), but for me it would depend more on the person than their orientation per se, as most of the people I know well enough to even fathom doing the QPR thing with are allo. Problem is, I doubt most allos, even my close friends, would jump at the chance to have a sexless, non-romantic relationship with me. Conversely, while other aro aces would no doubt be receptive to this model, simply having the same orientation is not a guarantee of compatibility in terms of values, desires, hobbies, life goals, etc.

  12. Jen says:

    Sometimes I do wish my partner was ace or grey-a… just as I’m pretty sure he probably wishes I was allosexual. I get jealous easily so it’s a constant struggle for me to accept that he is attracted to other women and that he has had a bit more experience than (only a tiny bit more but my jealous side likes to hone in on that). Early in our relationship, we struggled with him wanting to have sex and me not ready for it, and although we’ve found a happy compromise, there are some days when I don’t want to compromise and I feel bad because he’s learned that it’s better to back off.

    All this being said, I’m sure I’d have a different set of struggles if I was with someone on the asexual spectrum. I do have a high libido, and while I can take care of that on my own, I would feel like it’s inappropriate especially if they’re repulsed and we happen to be in the same room. While I know there are aces and greys like myself who are into burlesque, what if they weren’t okay with it? Then I couldn’t take them to shows, and that’s a huge part of my life.

  13. Funaria says:

    I was married before I figured out I was ace. (I hadn’t even realized such a thing was possible, though I knew my brain regarded sex differently than my husband’s brain.) It would definitely be a lot easier if he was asexual too, but at this point we’re pretty well committed to making it work. If we ever do divorce, I’m sure my asexuality would be the driving force behind it. In that situation I would probably just not bother trying to find a new partner, ace or otherwise.

  14. Coyote says:

    Belated comment to ask that let’s not use the word “relationship” to mean exclusively “romantic relationship.”

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