Asexual dating: What it's like to be in a loving, sexless relationship.


By Melanie Garrick and Loretta Florance

Dae and Tash have been happily dating for six months, but they also are not — and never have been — sexually attracted to each other.

The pair are part of Australia’s very small asexual community — researchers believe they make up just 1 per cent of the broader population.

“There are not many asexuals and I know probably in person about three, which shows you how rare it is,” Dae said.

“It’s hard to find someone else that is asexual because it’s not talked about.”

“Finding an asexual partner has been frankly fantastic … for a while I didn’t think I would ever find anyone,” Tash said.

Asexuality is an absence of sexual attraction. Some asexual people are in romantic relationships where sometimes they desire sex, and some are in romantic relationships where they never desire sex, and some are not in romantic relationships at all.

Sex and relationship therapist Cyndi Darnell said it was only in the last 10 years that researchers had even begun to try to understand it.

“We don’t even understand heterosexuality especially well, we think we do because we tend to use heterosexuality as the default setting … but the reality is that human sexuality has always been very diverse, it’s just that the field of sexology is relatively new,” she said.

“Our knowledge of human sexuality is still in its infancy and our knowledge of asexuality is an embryo comparatively.”

Dae said even within the LGBTQIA community, asexuality often went unrecognised or was misunderstood.


“I’ve found that asexuality gets shoved aside. In pride parades it kind of goes back to that society is sexualised just because I’m having sex doesn’t mean I can’t fall in love,” Dae said.

Dae said there were a number of online dating sites that either catered specifically to asexual people, or allowed you to identify as an asexual, though they were not fail safe.

‘Are you sure you’re asexual?’

Tash and Dae met at a medieval re-enactment group in Sydney.

They immediately clicked on an emotional and intellectual level and started dating soon after.

“Being asexual you’re not attracted sexually. I can appreciate Dae’s aesthetics, but it’s roughly the same was I’d look at a marble statue in a museum — they are very pretty and you can admire the creation or everything that’s gone into creating it, but you’re not really attracted to it,” Tash said.

For Dae, intimacy “means something pretty different to what it probably means to other people”.

“We hug, we kiss on the cheek — there’s a lot of verbal intimacy rather than physical intimacy … but we don’t do anything sexual, we have no plans to do so or desire it,” she said.

Getting their heads around Tash’s sexuality has been hard for extended family members to understand.

“I’ve had several extended family members say don’t knock it till you try it … asking me: ‘Are you sure you’re asexual? How do you know until you’ve tried?'” Tash said.


“All these responses are very frustrating, because give me credit for knowing my own body and preferences.”

Love and sex

Tash and Dae agreed that growing up asexual without realising it meant entertainment was difficult to relate to, particularly as society has become more sexualised.

“It’s really weird how much it’s in cinemas, and when there’s kissing on TV, I have to close my eyes and look away,” Tash said.

“I guess in some ways it feels private, but I don’t expect people to do it only in private because that’s stupid, but at the same time why is this the whole point of this show? Sometimes it feels like the whole point of a show is to kiss.”

Ms Darnell said that society had been conditioned to believe that love and sex go together, which made asexuality difficult for many people to understand.

“I think it’s jarring for people to hear that you can be not interested or not attracted to anybody sexually, because everything that we have been taught from when we’re very small is that at some point you’re going to meet the one and you’re going to live happily ever after and the implication is you’re going to have sex with that person,” she said.

“People are very uncomfortable when you sit outside the square and it’s not the person who sits outside the square who has the problem.

“I guess my advice would be to try as much as possible to not internalise it. Being true to yourself is the only way you’re going to move through this with ease and grace.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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