As a person with non-normative boundaries (an asexual person), dating might seem impossible. How early do you let someone know you are asexual – when you realize there is interest there, when they ask you out, on the first date? Some might think “what is the point”? Won’t they (we are talking about dating in the real world where finding another local asexual person is supposedly like finding a blue unicorn, not to mention finding another asexual person that you are in to) 1. ask what that is, and then 2. not want to date (after realizing what it is you won’t do or don’t want to do).
Needless to say being friends first, things about you come up.
But talking about asexuality, and therefore sex, with people you don’t really know that well, or at all, seems awkward. So how do you get around it? You don’t want to lead someone on, and you don’t want to be led on either.
So just don’t date? Hellz no.
Think about people who don’t want children. Guessing that “most” people want kids, do people bring up the topic of kids on the first date or forgo dating altogether because having kids/not having kids is a deal-breaker? Probably not. No one unloads every single thing about themselves on a potential interest in the beginning so no one gets hurt/led on/wastes time! Do we really think about relationships like that? Letting people into our lives and pursuing people always poses a risk of having the relationship not work out for a million different possible reasons. You go out with people in hopes that the interest will turn into something stronger and your values and desires won’t be too different.
Going back to the kids example, most people want kids, but a lot of those people unthinkingly figure children into their future just because they never really thought about not having kids. If someone who assumed they would have kids falls in love with a person who doesn’t, it is possible that person might not really care that much about kids anymore. Same thing with people who assume they will fall in love with someone of the same religion. Just watch reality shows – there are countless couples (damn, I just revealed I watch reality shows) where one person doesn’t really want to have sex/doesn’t lust and their partner is frustrated and unhappy. Wouldn’t those people who don’t want to have sex be happier with an asexual person who doesn’t want to have sex? (Let’s remember sex is a huge category, so define it as you will). Or isn’t it possible, for those asexuals who are demi and gray and/or don’t mind compromising on sex, that other people want to take it slow too, to establish emotional and romantic connections – they just never thought it was possible and YOU are giving them that possibility? (Awesome sauce).
Trust me, other people are not worried about spilling all the things about themselves that might make you not love them (everyone has something) on the first date. And we don’t consider them to be unethical or sneaky, etc. Just be confident, know that you deserve to be wanted, that the way you do life is pretty cool, and know that you never have to be coerced into something you don’t want to do. Go out and have fun. If you want to date, you should. You are not strange, weird, broken, or out-of-the-ordinary. Everyone in the world has their own personal relational boundaries, desires, and preferences. Just think of yourself as ahead of the game and particularly savvy in articulating your own.