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.


First date, first impressions

I had a first date from someone I met through OkCupid. It was terrible (aren’t most first dates that way?).

We had agreed to meet at a cafe after I finished work. I knew within seconds of meeting him that we weren’t compatible and wanted to leave the cafe immediately. But I stuck around anyway out of sheer politeness and we talked for approximately an hour and a half. Our conversation crystallized my initial impression of him and I knew for sure that I was not interested. For example, he said that he doesn’t speak to his family, not even with his sister who is currently studying in New York. For me, my family is very important even if I complain about them all the time. It shows how different we are in our value systems. There were other problems like he found even polyamory to be too restricting; he wanted no restrictions whatsoever for his romantic relationships. I found that stance to be childish and selfish.

This date made me think about how first impressions matter. I tend to rely heavily on my first impressions to navigate the world. I’ve felt my intuition has rarely failed me over the years. It’s probably unfair and illogical.

Despite this date not going so well, I hope I go out more to meet people. I felt like I was afraid to meet people for a long time.

While I was writing this post, I was listening to:

Celine Dion’s Power of Love and All by Myself

Being sexy while ace

I wonder what it means to be sexy as an Ace person. I spent a couple of weeks sitting on this blog post trying to figure out what my thoughts of being sexy were. Do I think of myself as a sexy person? What does being sexy mean exactly for someone like me?

I already talked about fashion and style in a previous post where I talked about the fact that I may care what I look like but looking sexy isn’t a priority. But there’s still lots to talk about this topic.

I view myself as a late bloomer. I was definitely the awkward teenager who was more interested in reading books than partying with my friends. I spent my childhood unconcerned about my looks and didn’t pay any attention to makeup or fashion. In fact, I a viewed myself as an intellectual who was above caring about my looks. I viewed beauty standards as standards that enforce the patriarchy to oppress women. And my position was a direct rebellion to my parents, who probably care about one’s looks above all else (it’s very Trumpian). In this context, the idea of being sexy was ludicrous. I was aggressively uninterested in being sexy.

I’ve changed over the years. I still view beauty standards as weapons that are used against women but my thoughts have become nuanced over time.

I was a sociology major and political science minor when I was a college student. I was that kid who took way too many lefty sociology and gender studies classes for her own good. I feel like I should describe the state of women’s rights in formal academic language with references. But my lay person’s view of history and sociology is this:

Historically, women were powerless to determine their lives and futures. So, sexual attractiveness was sometimes a tool to achieve some kind of power over men and gain social currency among women. Additionally, being sexually or physically attractive makes people more receptive to you and your ideas. But at the same time, women were and are socially punished for not conforming to feminine ideals. I watched the women’s final for the U.S. Open where Serena Williams was penalized a game point for “verbally abusing” the referee when a man wouldn’t have been penalized for the same offense. Women are still struggling to exist in a sexist world.

I’ve personally transformed to someone who is unintentionally sexy. I’ve always been conservative in my presentation. Nowadays, if I can dress business formal all the time, I would. I think my efforts to look a certain way has the side effect of looking sexy to some people (if they’re into the professional looking women).

I think I’ve become very pragmatic about the idea of being sexy. If I can use being sexy as a another tool in my toolbox to get what I want or to make my existence in the world easier, I’ll take it. I’ve come to realize that the world is unfair and will judge you on frivolous things like how you look. But it’s never my default setting. Like, I’m never going go out in public with my cleavage showing or anything like that. I think it’s fine if other women want to, but I’ve never been comfortable displaying that kind of sexuality for myself. I want to avoid receiving sexual attention as much as possible. So all of my efforts in my style is meant to help me be taken seriously. (However, I have to say that the most provocative thing that I love to wear is backseam tights, which is at once retro, conservative, sexy, and somehow tied to fetish wear. It’s one of the few things I love to pull out during cold weather.)

There is also a racial issue with the idea of being sexy. I think some people will fetishize Asian women no matter what she looks like. So, I’ll be a sexual object to some people no matter what I do.

I think that my views on what it means to be sexy is complicated by the fact that I’m demisexual. I understand what someone means when they say “oh, that’s sexy” or “(s)he’s hot” because I can feel sexual arousal or attraction sometimes. And yet that mindset is not automatic for me so I struggle in a world where being sexy is of high importance to so many people. I don’t place a lot of value in being perceived as sexy. This means that I puzzle over women who take over an hour to get ready to go out (my skincare and makeup routine and blow drying of hair take around 15 minutes tops). And it’s not on my top 5 priorities for a potential partner either (my criterion is that my partner not be hideous or morbidly obese, which is different from requiring him/her to be sexy).

This topic makes me think that I’m trying to navigate the world the best I can. I know the world works a certain way that I don’t like but I don’t necessarily have to agree with the rules.

Blind date and secret crushes

I had a blind date yesterday. I met Henry* at a fancy Japanese restaurant in Manhattan for sushi. My sister set up the blind date for me. She used to work with him at a past job. He currently works as a data analyst in Upstate New York.

I thought the date went well. The conversation flowed and there was no awkward silences, moments, etc. And he’s a foodie like me, so there was a lot to talk about there. We’ll see how things turn out. But I suspect that he went out with me just because my sister asked him to and nothing’s going to come out of it. I didn’t receive any messages from him today. I mean, I could’ve texted him with something clever. I already texted him after we left the restaurant to thank him for dinner. But I don’t want to be the one who makes the first move.

I thought I moved beyond past relationship baggage. However, I had severe anxiety the night before the date. I still feel very skittish about putting myself in a vulnerable position. I think I acted foolishly and allowed myself to get hurt in the past. So I don’t want to put myself out there until I know for certain that I’m on sure ground.

I hope it does work out. I’m ready to settle down now with someone. And Henry and I have similar personalities and interests, so I thought it would be nice to meet him.

I went to a food festival today in Brooklyn, It was nice and I went there with five other people. The park where the food festival was located was right by the water and you can see lower Manhattan.

I’m secretly attracted to one of the people who went with me. We’ve become pretty good friends since we starting talking to each other in February at a meetup. We shared food together since he’s an adventurous eater like me. He mentioned a couple of times how he appreciates my company. I want to confess to him that I’ve been crushing on him for a while but have refrained from doing so because he has a girlfriend. I know that it’ll be dumb for me to say anything so I’ve just said that I appreciate being his friend too.

We played billiards together at a bar after everyone left. I haven’t played billiards since high school and told him so. I was game to learn anyway, especially since I want to host a meetup at a pool hall next month. He taught me how to play and showed me some pointers. I didn’t realize how sexual the game can be until that moment. I was watching him demonstrate how to use a cue stick to hit the ball. He also touched my hand and showed me how to strike the ball with the cue stick. I felt sexual desire and longing.

People have crushes don’t they? I wish it didn’t have to stay that way.

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

Coming out?

This month’s Carnival of Aces is about coming out as an asexual, which is hosted by Demiandproud.

Demiandproud has a nice flow chart of the stages of coming out. I guess I’m at the stage of “identity acceptance.” I’ve never felt that there was something wrong with me because I lacked the desire to have sex. I just felt confused about what I was. When I found out about asexuality, I was relieved to finally have a label for my experience.

Since I learned that I’m Ace, I’ve been active in my local Ace community as an event organizer and leader. I’m on the board of two Ace organizations that are trying to get nonprofit status. Many of my friends are also Ace which is nice because they understand me more in some ways than others do.

I also came out to my best friend that I was Ace and she was cool with it. I spoke with my mom about my lack of desire and difficulty forming romantic relationships. I chose not to go into a technical discussion about what asexuality is because I think that would’ve confused her. She seemed to take it well and I know she suspected what I was a long time ago. She still hopes I find a partner one day just so I’m not alone. But I’m fine with it since I wouldn’t mind finding a partner too.

Despite all of my actions, I’m a deeply private person so I’m resistant to coming out to everyone I know. I feel like only a handful of people truly know me for who I am, and I prefer it that way. Additionally, I work in a conservative profession and don’t want to be known as the person who proudly announces that she’s asexual. I know intellectually that coming out combats stigma, but I don’t want to risk my reputation or career for the greater good of the community. It feels weird writing it down that way, but I guess that’s how I feel right now.

And I feel like you need a certain amount of privilege to feel safe to come out as Ace, as LGBT, as having a mental illness, or anything else. I feel like I don’t have that as a person of color who wants to maintain some kind of relationship with her family and wider community.

Additionally, my identity as an Ace person is invisible to a stranger or acquaintances. However, the longer someone knows me, the louder it becomes because I am perpetually single. And yet I feel like it’s my prerogative to disclose my identity to that person.

The only time I feel like I’m obligated to come out is when I’m dating someone. I feel like it’s unfair not to say anything since sex is such an important issue in a relationship.

I’m not sure if I’m making sense at all here. I support the idea of coming out on principle. However, I’ve chosen to come out only to people I trust and feel like individuals should not feel pressured to come out. However, I wouldn’t want them to be closeted or repressed either.

I hate flirting

I mean, I don’t hate it, hate it. I just don’t like how it feels contrived. I can feel myself straining to be clever and lighthearted. All I want to do is just talk to someone in a friendly way and not stress out about about how to word something.

I also don’t like how people want to talk to you ALL DAY when you first meet them. I’m talking to some people online so this means I have to check my phone all the time. I just want to ask, “Don’t you have a job or something?” I know, this is rude. But, maybe I get grouchy when people expect constant and immediate access. My list of people who I provide that for is limited to family and close friends, because who has the energy and time for that shit? Sigh.

Lets see if I get beyond just talking to people online to actually meeting them! I’m sure it’ll be just as painful and pessimism-inducing as the flirting. XD

Mini update

I’ve been debating on what to write about the past week. I wondered if I should write about how I view Tom* now, but I decided not to. I still respect him even if we don’t talk to each other anymore. I feel like I should keep my thoughts to myself.

I had a job interview on Monday at a NYC governmental agency. I was super excited when I received a call asking if I was available for an interview. If I do get the position, it’ll be a step up for me and be a way for me to affect public policy. I think I did well during the interview and I hope to hear back soon. If I don’t hear back, I’ll be disappointed but I know I have to keep trying to look for other opportunities.

I fell badly yesterday so I have a huge bruise on my left thigh and cuts on both legs. My sister’s wedding is happening on Sunday. I’m fortunate that I chose a formal dress to the event so my legs will be covered. I have an image of me limping during the wedding in my formal gown.

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


Why am I surprised by this?

This is a conversation that I had a couple of days ago on OkCupid:

Him: I seriously had no idea what demisexual meant and looked it up. Your profile has led me to some education, good luck with your search 🙂

Me: Thank you! I appreciate you telling me that

Him: No problem. I just thought there didn’t need to be a word for it honestly. I mean when it comes to women their sexual enjoyment is 98% linked to their emotions to begin with as far as all the women I’ve ever spoken to were concerned

Me: …..

I didn’t engage with him any further. I wonder if I should have engaged the man to educate him in some way, especially considering that I am an advocate/activist in real life. But I don’t want to fight all the time. I just want people to understand me.

One of the things that has to change is people’s urge to question the way others chose to identify. Isn’t it a cliche that the absence of labels equals invisibility? I wonder if this is a red line for me- like I won’t even bother considering being with you unless you’re woke.

I feel like this makes me sound like a flaming liberal. Politically, I’m a progressive. But I’m very much an institutionalist and conservative with a small “c” in the sense that I believe that social institutions should be upheld and change has to be made incrementally. I’m inherently suspicious of radical change, even if I do agree with the overall principal.  So I’m often the “suit” in the room full of activisty types.

Returning to the personal, I sometimes feel like every act I take is political in some way because I exist with multiple marginalized identities. So I wonder whether my preferred way of handling my personal matters will advance the asexual community (or other communities that I identify with). This is… exhausting. And I don’t know if I’m doing a good job.

While writing this post, I was listening to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and Heavy Metal Lover.