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Introduction

I was at an Ace meetup and, after listening to my dating travails, someone asked me, “Hey, why don’t you start a blog on Ace dating?”

So here I am. Why am I doing this?

I’m a thirty-five year old woman who discovered she was asexual three years ago after reading this Washington Post article. I knew I wasn’t interested in sex and dating the way people are supposed to since high school. But I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling or that terms actually exist to describe my experience. During the ensuing years, I regularly attended my local Ace (a slang term for asexual) Meetup group and become an event organizer. I became interested in asexual activism. I now identify as a bisexual, demisexual woman who does want to be in a relationship one day.

I want to focus on my dating (mis)adventures here with minor diversions now and then (like posts about my family and friends). I hope that I can educate the general public on what it’s like being an Ace person seeking a relationship and help other Aces by sharing my story.

Love is like walking on glass

I thought 2019 was going to the year that I found The One and I was going to get married and have children. It hasn’t turned out that way (though I still have a month and a half to find someone and elope lol).

I feel burned out. In the past 2 years, I met what feels like countless men with no avail. There were a couple of people who seemed promising but didn’t work out for various reasons like lack of personal chemistry or I felt we had different values.

I lost my virginity this year. I think my virginity was a burden that I was glad to get rid of. I think I was afraid of how I would react in a sexual situation. But I chose the person and the manner in which I had sex and I learned that I can own my body and my sexuality.

The person who hurt me the most was Jackson.* I allowed myself to be taken advantage of a man. It was an instantaneous attraction and I was overcome by this person who is my masculine ideal. In the beginning, I had an excuse because I didn’t know what kind of person he was. But later, I gave him chances after chances. I wonder if I equate love with pain or self sacrifice. Or if I feel like I have to take whatever I can get because I am an Ace person with very little experience.

When things ended with Tom, I felt like something very special was destroyed. That was a particular kind of pain- I lost both a best friend and a potential something. With Jackson, I felt like I was being dragged through the mud. When I first met him, I was such a naive, wide-eyed person. I’ve felt a weariness for several months.

Love is like walking on glass. I just hope that I’m not like the Little Mermaid and lose my voice trying to find a man.

* All names in this blog are fictional to protect individual’s’ privacy.

Etiquette guide for dating an asexual person

Dating is a social ritual that has some rules set by the culture that you’re in. These rules are highly contextual and they can be complicated by various factors like the life stage you’re in (for example, teenage years vs. college years vs. 30s/40s/50s/60s), religion, and whether you’re in a long-distance relationship. If you are interested in dating someone who is on the asexual spectrum, there are certain guardrails to be aware of in order for the relationship to work.

I’ve been thinking about posting an etiquette guide on dating asexual people since I’ve started this blog. I waited this long to publish this post because I didn’t want to be seen as some priggish person prescribing rules for the masses (though I definitely have opinions about what is proper behavior in my daily life). Plus, asexuality is a spectrum and some asexuals are aromantic and not interested in romantic relationships at all. Nuance is very important and I think that it’s silly to write an etiquette guide without acknowledging that every relationship has its nuances and context. People should do what works for them.

So this is a loose guideline of what I think allosexuals should do when dating an asexual person:

  1. When your date comes out at asexual, don’t ask about every single detail about their sexual history and sexual likes and dislikes. Asking intrusive questions about someone’s sexual history is rude, especially if you haven’t known each other for long. It is generally socially unacceptable to inquire whether someone masturbates or whether they are a virgin on the first or second date. Don’t be that person.
  2. On the other hand, be gently curious and welcome a conversation when your date comes out as asexual. You’re inviting them to be open and vulnerable to you. You should signal to the other person that you want to have a dialogue. If you know nothing about asexuality, admit that you don’t and try to work with your date to gain knowledge so that the relationship can work.
  3. Do your own research. There’s plenty of resources online and books out there for you to read and listen to. Your date should not be your sole reference point for all things asexuality.
  4. Don’t try to change your partner. No matter how attractive, sexy, or intelligent you are, your partner will never stop being an asexual person. Asexuality is a sexual orientation just like how homosexuality or bisexuality is a sexual orientation.
  5. Sometimes, your asexual date may not have all the answers. They may be at the beginning stages of being aware that they are asexual and may be confused about what they want in a relationship and you. Even if they have been out for a long time, they may still need time and help navigating their relationship with you. Because relationships are complicated.
  6. Regularly check-in with your partner. Ask whether they need more or less cuddling, sex, personal time, us time, etc.
  7. Treat your asexual date like everyone else most of the time. Go out on fun dates, watch movies together, and talk about all the important things in life. They want what others want with a different twist.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list. If anyone has other do’s and don’ts, please comment here.

Another ending

I messaged Jackson* on Thursday that I’m interested in seeing other people and I don’t want him to contact me anymore. Today’s Saturday and he hasn’t responded so I guess our relationship is totally over.

I’m a little sad that this relationship didn’t work out because I felt like it was so promising. He had so many positive traits- he’s an engineer who owns his own business and he seemed stable and responsible (I know, this is boring but I want meat and potatoes in my men and not an exotic bottle of hot sauce). He is also a very attractive older man who stays in shape and has a sexy Polish accent. I feel like I was swept off my feet and I was not seeing him clearly.

But lying and the ensuing distrust has a way of being corrosive to a relationship. It started when I confronted him about lying about his age. Then little things popped about that made me suspect that he’s married or in a long-term relationship (like he wouldn’t pick up the phone during the weekends and I never saw the inside of his house even though we were dating for 4 months). I asked him about that and he denied it, claiming that I’m the only one he’s dating. I told him a couple of months ago that the main reason why I was trying to date someone is to get married and have children and, if he didn’t want that, we should move on because I’m not getting any younger. He didn’t give me a firm answer except to say that he didn’t want to lose me. I decided to end it this week because all I had was distrust.

I don’t feel devastated about breaking up with Jackson. I just wish things worked out. But this relationship was definitely a learning experience for me. I’ve never thought that I would be able to have regular sex with someone and be okay. I learned that I am a sexually desirable person and can exert some kind of power over a man. And I learned that I should believe someone when they show who they really are the first time. I think I tend to operate in the world with the belief that most people are good and to believe in them. So I gave Jackson chances to prove himself when I should have stopped seeing him a while ago.

I had several firsts while I was seeing him- my first STD test, my first pregnancy scare and peeing on multiple pregnancy tests, and being able to answer the question about my sexual activities during my OB/GYN visit. All of this makes me feel normal; like I experienced all the things that regular women do.

It’s still an open question whether I want to continue my efforts to find a romantic partner. I’m tired of men. I know some people are exhilarated by the chase but I find it stressful. I probably gained 10 pounds from being anxious about this area of my life in addition to worrying about my career. I also wonder if I’ll want sex again. I feel like I won’t miss it. I should give myself a break for a couple of weeks and start seeing my friends again. I can reassess my situation again when I don’t feel so tired.

*All names in this blog are fictional to protect individual’s privacy.

Status update: still pending

I’ve been thinking about my future lately. I’ve been seeing Jackson for 4 months now. It’s been quite the dramatic relationship with an on-and-off quality. I discovered early on that he is actually 15 years older than me rather than the 6 year age gap that I was initially led to believe. He’s away on vacation with his mom at Poland. I have to decide what to do about him before he comes back.

I wonder if I was happier when I was single and not interested in dating anyone and hanging out with my friends. I had a full life and I don’t need a man. I’m feeling a certain weariness in trying to find the right partner. I think I have a cynicism about relationships that didn’t exist several years ago due to my experiences.

I’ll have to think about more subjects to write about here on my blog. Just in case I really do call an end to my quest for a romantic partner. My sister had her baby last weekend so maybe I’ll change the subject of this blog to how I am the best spinster aunt ever. 😁

*All names in this blog are fictional to protect individuals’ privacy.

Passing as normal

This is a submission for May 2019 Carnival of Aces hosted by Demisexual and Proud. This month’s focus is on various issues relating to asexuality and gender. I already talked about this area in several posts:

  1. Beauty standards for women and how that feels as an Ace Korean-American
  2. Being sexy while Ace

I want to discuss the idea of “passing”.

I’m pretty confident that I pass as a sexual person, unless you know me very intimately. I’ve surprised several people by coming out as an Ace person who knew me casually. They assumed that I was just didn’t want to settle down with anyone. But my family and really close friends knew that my romantic and sexual history were a vast wasteland. They knew I wasn’t sowing my wild oats. It’s been only during the past couple of years where I’ve actively been dating and trying to establish a relationship with someone.

But what does it mean to pass as a sexual person? When I first discovered what asexuality was, I was resistant to attending meetups because I felt like I didn’t fit the stereotype of an asexual person. The stereotype of asexual person that I had in my mind was a pale skinned, clueless nerd who played video games all day in their parents’ basement with no social skills. In contrast, I’m relatively attractive, educated, have a professional job, and can socialize with people when I have to (I’m an introvert who is somehow surrounded by people all the time). I’m also a cisgender woman who presents as female in a very middle of the road, lawyer-ish way. My gender presentation does not indicate at all that I’m asexual. I later learned that Ace people come in all different kinds of flavors, but I didn’t know that back then.

Also, it’s the default to assume that someone has sexual desires and to assume that young women want to get married and have kids. Since I actually do want to get married and have children, it seems like I am perceived to have sexual desires to the outside world.

I feel like there’s a certain privilege to passing as allosexual. I also pass as straight, when I’m actually bisexual, and mentally healthy, when my history with depression will always be there haunting me. I can navigate the world with minimal harassment. I can’t totally escape the racism and sexual harassment or misogyny that exists, but I’ve come to expect it. I also know that I would get more grief if strangers can see all of my intersectionalities.

I think that asexuality is not mainstream enough yet to be accepted in workplaces like LGBT people are (and even they are still struggling in 2019). So I find the ability to pass very valuable in the workplace. I care A LOT if my employer, work colleagues, or clients know that I’m Ace. It’s something that I never discuss in the workplace.

Now that I’m a relationship where I am having regular sex with someone and enjoying it, some of my Ace friends wondered if I’m a regular sexual person now and whether I should drop the Ace label entirely because it’s just easier to live as a sexual person. I’m bothered by that line of thinking and believe that my sexual history can’t be explained unless I am asexual. How did I stay a virgin for so long unless I was Ace? It’s not for the lack of opportunities. I could’ve lost my virginity in my teen years with no problem, but I didn’t. Additionally, I don’t want to give up my identity as an Ace person for convenience or to pass even more than I am. It’ll feel like a betrayal to all the internal work that I’ve done to understand myself and help the community.

These are my initial thoughts on passing and asexuality and gender. I’m curious to know what others have to say on this topic.

I’m back!

This is my 50th blog post! I’m amazed that I’m still writing about my love life.

The last time I wrote, I was furious about being involved in a hookup and thinking that I should give up on dating. I learned that people can be horrible and use others, even if I thought I could prevent that by being honest about my sexual history. However, I thought that my first time at having sex was pretty damn good because I got to choose the person who I was with and how the sex was going to happen. I think that’s a bonus of having sex later in life. I think I would’ve had a horrible time if I had sex when I was a young girl because I was so confused about what I was and I didn’t know what I wanted. So it wasn’t all bad.

I’m currently seeing Jackson* and we’ve been dating for a little over a month. I’ve been reluctant to write about him here and talk about him to others in real life because I feel like I’m going to jinx it by blabbing about him. It’s been an intense courtship where we’ve been seeing each other multiple times a week and talking every day. We’ve seen each other so often that it feels like we’ve known each other for much longer than a month. But there’s so much that I don’t know about him.

One of the reasons why I feel like I don’t know him that well is because we’ve been having sex or doing something sexual every time we see each other. It was like that ever since the first date, where we kissed and pawed at each other like teenagers. This obviously cuts down the time that we spend getting to know each other’s personal histories.

I feel like it’s funny that I’ve spent most of my life not having sex and now I’m doing it with someone like rabbits. Jackson really needs sex as a way to forge a romantic bond with someone. I’ve never been repulsed by sex; instead, it was just an activity that I wasn’t interested in. However, sex satisfies my need for physical affection and intimacy. And I’m discovering that I’m willing to provide for my partner under the right circumstances. I feel pleasure in knowing that he desires me. He is a good, considerate lover and I find our time together to be emotionally satisfying.

My time with him has been making me question my identity as an Ace person. I think my identification with asexuality was helpful when I was still a virgin because the label was a tool to explain my sexual history. Now that I’m enjoying sex, phone sex, and other activities on a regular basis, I don’t know how much use I’ll get out of the labels anymore. But, I guess that’s why the terms “demisexuality” and “greysexuality” exist.

Given my track record, I don’t know if my time with Jackson will last. I’m a little wary, tired, and wondering if I’m going to discover that he isn’t perfect after all. But it feels like I’ve seen him more in one month than all of other my dates combined. I’ll have to wait and see.

*All names in this blog are fictional to protect individuals’ privacy.

Singledom

My dating life is on pause for the foreseeable future.

I started seeing a new person, Nicholas,* a month ago. We had two dates. I had sex with him on the second date and lost my virginity. I was dumbfounded because I never moved so quickly with someone. I also enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed it enough so that I wanted to do it again.

I decided at one point that I want to stop dating irregardless of how my relationship with Nicholas turns out. I’m tired of dating. It’s never been fun for me, but I feel I’m getting nothing out of it.

I tried diligently to meet up with him again after our night together. But there was always something happening that prevented us from getting together or him being flaky. Two weeks went by with no follow-up date. I know that if I did a “drive by” to his place to hookup, he wouldn’t have complained, but I didn’t want that for myself.

I had enough yesterday and I messaged him saying that I don’t want to see him anymore. I didn’t get a response back, though I was half-wishing that he would argue with me that he’s really serious about the relationship working out and that I should give him another chance. I took a shower before I had to run off to work and felt the thought of me being truly alone and childless hit home and become real. I shed some tears which I didn’t expect. I was probably more stressed about this than the other stuff in my life that I have to handle at the moment.

I’ve been single for a long time, so things won’t change for me. But I’m sad because my desire for children and a life partner seems to be foreclosed. And it’s upsetting to think about whether I can find someone else that I can be attracted enough to be physically intimate with, since it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. I deleted my dating apps on my phone a couple of weeks ago. I feel really done with dating.

I was eating lunch my parents today at a Japanese restaurant and my mom said that I should keep an open mind and that maybe I’ll meet someone like a K-drama. I just laughed. We’ll see about that, won’t we?

*All names in this blog is fictional to protect individuals’ privacy.