Dating is hard. Dating while Ace is hard AF.
This is so because the whole entire premise of dating doesn’t work well with Ace people. When you’re dating, both participants of the date are supposed to know if they hit it off and continue on with the process. Maybe they’ll kiss on the second or third date. Subsequent dates may quickly lead to heavy petting and sex.
I’m demisexual so it takes me a long time for me to feel sexually attracted to someone. I can appreciate people’s looks. I’ve experienced normal lust with exactly two people in the past. But it takes me years of knowing someone and trust to be willing to be intimate with that person.
For example, I was in an “intense friendship” with a guy when I lived in the DC metro area. Let’s call him Tom (obviously not his real name). I met him at an Ace meetup and we were friends for two years. I stayed overnight at his place probably three times before he suggested that we move things along. I didn’t want to presume so I brought my pajamas that day. But I must have been ready too considering I wore my nice underwear.
In retrospect, if I didn’t have those previous overnight stays, I never would’ve agreed to being intimate with him at all. And we talked maybe 2-3 days a week via Facebook messenger and met during the weekends, which satisfied my need for contact.
I really liked him because we were compatible personality-wise. You should think of two very straight-edge professional people being together, though I am slightly more adventurous than him. He also made me feel safe. The fact that he is also an Ace person played a large role in my feelings. However, these feelings didn’t appear when I met him; they grew over time. And my feelings didn’t quite feel like romantic love. If there’s a feeling that falls between platonic and romantic love, that’s what I felt.
The process that I’m describing is a lot slower than what normal people experience (at least to me). While most sexual people fall in love/lust quickly and establish a relationship, the opposite is true for a demisexual person. A demisexual person needs to know and trust someone for a long time before sexual or romantic attraction is a possibility.
And the process that I’ve described with Tom doesn’t fit with what you’re supposed do in a romantic relationship. Like, I can’t imagine a romance movie featuring a sleepover with everyone fully clothed. And most people talk way more with their romantic partner than I ever did with Tom, especially when they’re first establishing their relationship. And yet, those things worked for me while my time with him lasted.
One of the challenges of dating is figuring out how to come out as being Ace to my date. I’ve indicated on my OkCupid profile that I’m demisexual. I’ve also disclosed to the most recent person I was seeing that I was Ace and he took it well. I feel like keeping this a secret is unfair to the other person, especially since sex plays a key role in a relationship.
Another challenge is knowing how to negotiate your and your partner’s expectations around sex. I’m a very private person in real life (though this blog is challenging that notion). I also shut down during conflict and resort to silence whenever possible. So I know that I need to be better at communicating my thoughts and feelings.