Understanding Aces: A Short Guide to Asexual Relationships
Published on 04 Feb 2022 - Updated on 04 Feb 2022
For the uninitiated, asexuality is little to no sexual attraction to others. But, neither does it mean that asexuals cannot have relationships, nor does it mean that they cannot fall in love. It might be tricky to navigate an asexual relationship, but that doesn’t mean that one cannot have a healthy relationship with them.
Although we acknowledge that asexual relationships are seldomly talked about, most relationships are as wholesome and healthy as any other. If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who identifies as an asexual, then you’re going to need empathy, a learning mind, and a deeper understanding of your partner.
First things first – start with deciding if this relationship is for you. If you think your sexual needs are a non-negotiable in the relationship, you might need to communicate this with your partner. If you and your partner are comfortable, polyamorous relationship can be an alternative. However, if you are monogamous and think the relationship can work without or limited sex won’t affect you personally (you rockstar!), read on.
Acceptance is the name of the game. Accept that just because your partner doesn’t feel sexually attracted to you doesn’t mean that they don’t love you because love doesn’t equal sex. Respect their comfort zone, their choices, their sexuality and create space for them to be themselves with you. This might be as new for them as it is for you, so accept with empathy and openness to learn. Explore their asexuality with them by checking in consistently, asking questions rather than assuming, and giving them time to be comfortable with themselves.
Expectations are tricky, especially in situations where they might be of completely different nature for others to fulfill. Calling out your asexuality as abnormal or unnatural can be unfair. Instead of letting your sexual frustration get the best of you, sit back, and communicate with your partner about your needs. Talk to them about theirs and co-create a solution with them. Asexuals can experience arousal or orgasm and can also be comfortable with certain sexual practices but, make sure they don’t feel pressured to do it. Respect their boundaries, and consistently check-in for consent. Because we all deserve love, happiness and acceptance for whoever we are!
Intimacy means a lot of things, and it’s okay if it means something different for you and your partner. Intimacy can be romantic- hugs, cuddles and holding hands- or sexual, and in asexual relationships, gestures play a huge role. Communicate with your partner about what intimacy means for you, listen to what it means for them, and how both of you can fulfill it for each other. Redefine what intimacy means to you, and it could lay the foundations for a wholesome relationship.
These are only a few methods to guide you through a relationship with an asexual, everyone has their personalities, so this guide might not be a glove that fits all. Be open, understanding and listen to your partner. Sometimes, looking beyond sex might find you in a happy relationship.