Many people just don’t understand how a relationship with someone who is asexual is any different from a typical friendship. What makes it an actual partnership? Do intimacy and romance even play a role? Is sex completely off the table? Are they just scared of commitment or heartbreak? Are they scared of sex? Should I take this relationship seriously? What makes it any more important than the relationship I have with my best friend? Well my friends, the way I see it, it’s all about how you feel inside.
What Is A Friendship?
How do you feel about your friends? Do you love them? Perhaps. Do you want to live with them? Maybe. Do you sometimes get freaky on the side? Got some sort of friends-with-benefits thing going on? Have you ever considered getting married to or having kid with your friends? Would you take them as your date to a wedding? Do you kiss your friends? Do you cuddle with them? Maybe you do all of these things with your friends. Maybe you do none of them. It is not my place to tell you how to live your life, or what to do with whom, or how to feel about different situations. Everyone is different. Every relationship is different, too.
So how, then, do we differentiate between a really close, deep friendship and an intimate relationship between one or more people who are asexual? First off – what does asexual even mean? Didn’t I learn in science class that asexual creatures are ones who reproduce with themselves? Can some people do that too? Is that even possible? Or do they just love masturbating? What’s the deal?
What is Asexuality?
Alright, since you asked…
Asexuality simply means that you do not wish to engage in sexual actions. The plain definition of asexual is “without sexual feelings or associations.” There are, however, many, many variations within the asexual community. Some asexual people do, in fact, engage in sexual activities. Sometimes because they genuinely want to, and sometimes because they just want to please their partners (don’t judge, I know you fake it sometimes too when your partner is being a horny beast). Others don’t engage in sex at all. To some asexuals sex is just something they have no interest in, and to others it is extremely disgusting. It all depends on the individual. And, as always, it is on a spectrum (nothing is black and white).
A good resource for finding accurate information about asexuality is The Asexual Visibility & Education Network. It provides you with tons of resources, as well as a large asexual community. Click here to check it out.
So What’s the Difference?
Okay, so we’ve got asexual covered. We know what that means. But I still don’t get it. What makes a relationship with someone who is asexual different than a friendship? Well…here’s how I’ll define it: a romantic relationship with someone who is asexual involves being in love (or the potential to fall in love). It’s about what you feel inside for someone. And yes, sometimes it includes living together or getting married or having children together. But also, sometimes it doesn’t. Personally I am asexual, but I am also solo poly. Since at the core I feel like living alone and separating myself from my partners (no merging of finances, etc.), my romantic relationships with others will not involve living together. Although, I do currently live with my husband, and will continue to do so until our children are a bit older. I also might choose to marry another person some day. And maybe if I find the right woman I’ll want to have kids with her. Sometimes, I even have sex with my husband. Shocker!
But for me…sex just isn’t important. It doesn’t mean anything to me in a relationship. Not to say it means absolutely nothing. But it just isn’t something I care about. And often times it is something I try hard to avoid. I’m pretty grossed out by the general sweatiness of the act, as well as the uncomfortable feeling of it. However, I do have emotional and physical needs. I still want to be cuddled and kissed. I still want to be comforted. I love massages. I enjoy talking deeply with my partners and sharing secrets and making plans for our future.
Being asexual can be a completely different experience for each asexual individual. But ultimately, being in a relationship with someone who is asexual is (or can be) exactly the same as being in a relationship with anyone – minus the sex. So what’s the difference between being friends and being romantically involved with an asexual? Your feelings. Your feelings are different. The way you treat the relationship is different. Have you fallen for this person, or are they just someone you care about? That’s up to you to decide. But inside, it is very, very different. Trust me.