Women Answer: How Can You Have An Intimate Relationship With An Asexual Partner?
Can you have intimacy without sex?
One common misconception about asexuality is it’s impossible to have an intimate relationship with an asexual partner. Dating an asexual person isn’t for everybody, but it’s totally doable — so long as you understand what that entails.
An asexual person doesn’t feel sexual feelings or desire. Some are completely repulsed by the idea of sex, while others are willing to engage in it — though it really doesn’t do much for them. And just because a person is asexual doesn’t mean that they’re aromantic, or devoid of romantic attraction, which is why it’s possible to have a loving, intimate relationship with an asexual person. (Though there are aromantic asexuals out there.)
The secret to making a relationship with an asexual partner lies in compromise. “Relationships of all kinds can work when two people choose to love each other despite their differences, acknowledge where their differences can leave a partner with unresolved needs, and find middle ground that helps both people feel understood,” relationship expert Chantal Heide tells Huffington Post.
We trawled Reddit to find accounts from women about how they have intimacy in a relationship with an asexual partner. Here’s what they said.
1. “It tends to strengthen the other aspects.”
“[Asexual relationships] work pretty much like any other relationship, but with less naked time.
My husband doesn’t have much of a sex drive. Every now and then, he’ll be in the mood, so I’ll do something to please him, and all the while, I’ll be thinking about like, my grocery list or what colour I want to re-do the bathroom. So, it’s really no different than the unenthusiastic sex lots of married couples have, with the only difference being that we were never enthusiastic to begin with.
That’s right, baby! We got to skip straight to the drudgery stage! (Just kidding. When that’s your normal, it tends to strengthen the other aspects, a bit like how blind people probably hear more than most of us.)” [source]
2. “We express love in words and deeds rather than through sex.”
“It’s the same as other romantic relationships, just with next to no sex or sexual touching. We feel love and affection for each other, but we express it in words and deeds rather than through sexual contact.” [source]
3. “Yes, we sometimes have sex.”
“Never said we don’t have sex 😛
Asexual means I’m not sexually attracted to anything or anyone. I never get turned on by anything, and I never have a craving for sex. I could go the rest of my life without ever having sex.
That being said, I am all about hugging and cuddling and kissing and stuff. I’m way into closeness and physical contact.
I’m still totally capable of having sex, and I’ll do it every once in a while because he enjoys it. He makes it fun for me, though, knowing I don’t really get much out of it. So he makes a point to keep me laughing, and we have a lot of fun, quoting Star Wars at each other or making horrible punny jokes or talking in weird accents the whole time.
But sex isn’t a frequent thing for us, and it isn’t and has never been an issue between us. Sex isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of a relationship. Just like if a man with E.D., or severe depression, was physically unable to have sex, would you expect his wife or girlfriend to move on just because she wasn’t getting any? Or what about married couples with kids who just never seem to have any alone time, following the whole trope of ‘I’m married now so I guess I’m never getting laid ever again!’ It’s more than possible to have a totally fulfilling romantic relationship without necessarily having sex. :)” [source]
4. “We still dream about a life together.”
“It’s like a normal relationship, except when you go to bed you actually sleep, and there’s less genital-grabbing.
You still love each other and think each other are pretty and cute. Still cuddle and touch affectionately, happy kisses and look forward to spending time with them. Still do favours for them, and go out on dates. Still dream about a life together, and argue about who was supposed to do the dishes.
Still share their joy and pain, encourage them to do their best, sympathize with a bad day at work. Still play small jokes on each other, or make small sacrifices to see them smile.
Still wake up early for work and watch your partner sleep for a bit, feeling peace and adoration in the quiet morning.
Really, aside from the lack of sexual undertones and active genital mashing, I don’t think there’s a difference.” [source]
5. “We have a lot of fun together.”
“I am currently in a committed long-term relationship, going on 2 years. It’s great to be totally honest. He’s got a sort of low libido and while he is sexually attracted to me he says he was always annoyed with the focus on sex in his past relationships so he’s super happy with the setup too.
We have a great lot of fun together, we write role-playing characters together and he watches me play Sherlock games because I’m a puzzle/Sherlock nerd and I watch him play horror games because I’m terrified of everything and couldn’t play them on my own and we take my dog out places and we just… we hang. We have our mushy romantic moments but mostly it’s just getting through life one day at a time with my absolute best friend in the world.
I find it relieving every day that he doesn’t find sex important, and because I have anxiety I double check that all the time (he knows why, and he understands). I thought it was impossible but now I get thrown around as a name in my local ace community to be like ‘believe friends! It is possible!’
Should also note, I also don’t date, I go from friend to relationship pretty smoothly as well. Dating doesn’t seem to have a point to me, I find the idea of going out with someone you don’t know that well but like really confusing because like… how do you know you like them yet???” [source]
6. “You need to work through guilt.”
“You do things you dislike or that bother you for a person you genuinely love, sex is no different. Sure, I’d rather cuddle than have sex, but it can’t be helped.
One of the biggest hurdles I think is the guilt that the other partner likely feels for having sexual desire and the need for the satisfactionn of it. You either work it out together and have a normal relationship or don’t and doom the relationship to failure.” [source]
7. “I enjoy bringing pleasure to my partner.”
“My current long-term relationship works out particularly well because my partner has a low libido. My asexuality is usually a non-issue in my other relationships because while I don’t desire or benefit from sexual contact, I’m also not repulsed by it, and I get a great deal of emotional gratification from the idea that I can bring pleasure to someone else.” [source]
Would you consider having a relationship with an asexual person? Why/why not? Let us know what you think about having a relationship with an asexual partner in the comments below.
You might also be interested in reading this: What Happens When You Suffer From Intimacy Anxiety Disorder?