The Asexual Handbook Pt. 5: An Ace’s Life With (or Without) Intimacy
Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual themes.
Hello, my darling readers! I am happy to be returning to all of you after a long few weeks and…a very delightful weekend! Having done much traveling and exhausting myself with a total of 16 hours on the road in the span of 4 days, I am content to be home and back to the grind so that I may give you more insightful information on the asexual life. I’m still loving my ace ring, and I’ve had the opportunity to explain my sexuality to several other people in the time I’ve been away; it’s a wonderful feeling to be both informative and supportive of the ace community!
So, to begin this week’s discussion, here is an interesting update on my life: I am no longer single!
This weekend was notably exciting in more than one manner! I just entered a romantic relationship with my close friend of over a year. She and I got to spend the weekend together, and from our encounter alone, she has undoubtedly captured my heart and captivated my mind many times over. While I have no intention to be a braggart, I find myself feeling unbelievably alive just from being around her (which I consider as more than a minor miracle). While what we have is a long-distance relationship, I feel a beautifully haunting connection towards her that is different from all others I’ve found myself involved with. For once, I feel a glimmer of hope at the possibility of sharing my life with someone who understands me on a deeper level…while additionally respecting my preferences for being asexual!
Yes, that’s only one of the several, beautiful aspects involving the bond between her and myself! There’s a strong possibility that my lovely girl in question is also on the ace spectrum, which is a pleasant revelation. I remember as she and I were still determining our status as a couple, the conversation we had about sexuality, and my concerns about her needs and desires. Even before I was aware of her preferences, she expressed nothing but understanding and reassurance while informing me that my lifestyle would not affect her feelings toward me.
With determinations to make and personal matters to tend to, my lover’s kindness and respect towards my sexuality was a large factor in submerging me deeper within my affections for her.
Even before I first classified myself as asexual, I had become thoroughly familiar with the concept of intimacy and my personal boundaries surrounding it. What is often considered as typical for intimacy – sexual affection, arousal, etc. – does not fit on my list of expectations or personal wants. Therefore, before pursuing a relationship, this information comes front and center on the basis of discussion. To some potential romances, the lack of sexual desire is quite the hurdle to overcome. I’ve read through several horror stories pertaining to individuals on the ace spectrum who feel obligated to provide sex for their partners, whether that means breaking their sense of comfort or participating in intercourse when they didn’t truly want to. Not to say there aren’t aces who willingly have sex to satisfy their partners or actually desire to have sex in general (because they exist and are in happy relationships!), but the idea that sex is an expectation for all relationships is toxic and ultimately unpleasant. If anything like this seems familiar to you, it might be a good idea to consider opening communication about this with your significant other; if they are unwilling to listen to your personal needs…then there’s a deeper problem that needs to be addressed.
Intimacy, to me, is not sexual intercourse and heated passion. It never has been and never will be. For me, being intimate is the slice of heaven given to me while holding my beloved’s hand, cradling her against me – a snuggle, a laugh, and a warm smile. It can be the comfortable silence during phone calls or sending a message that says “I love you” with a little kissy face at the end (I admit, I’m guilty of that one, haha!). Sharing a moment with someone that fills me with warmth and adoration is more intimate to me than baring my body – better yet, I consider this as baring my soul, which is crucial in my personal interpretation of romance; I also deem this as something that one needs to determine for their own preferences.
My beliefs may or may not apply to your personal experience with intimacy, but be aware that this is definitely a fluid process for everyone! What you do and do not consider as intimate may or may not fit someone else’s perspective and vice-versa. We are all unique people, so this is normal, as long as proper respect for a method of affection is given. Affection isn’t for everyone, but respect should definitely be an equal standard in ALL relationships, sexual and non-sexual alike.
I’m well aware there’s a lot for me to think about, now that I have someone aside from myself whose opinions and needs bear priority. Once more, until next time, I give to you my usual send-off: never forget to keep loving yourself and all of your beautiful colours!