Asexuality 101 - When should you come out?


Written by Stephanie Silberstein

Since asexuality is not as visible a sexual orientation as of March 2011, asexuals who want to date might find it difficult to find other asexuals. In addition, some asexuals enjoy some physical or even some sexual contact and might be happier with a sexual person than with another asexual. Although asexuals risk their affections being unrequited by some sexuals due to misunderstandings and differences in viewpoint, asexual/sexual pairings can work if the communication is good, so there is no reasons for asexuals to limit themselves to other asexuals if they do not want to.  

When it comes to dating sexuals, however, many asexuals worry about when they should come out as asexual.

Obviously, a serious, long-term relationship is not going to work if the asexual keeps hir sexual orientation hidden or secret. You may want to consider coming out on the first date, during a pre-date telephone or email conversation, or in any online dating profiles that you maintain. 

Some asexuals are reluctant to do this because they are afraid sexuals won’t give them a chance because of their asexuality. These fears are unrealistic and can actually hurt a relationship. People who don’t want to give asexuals a chance aren’t good partners for asexual persons in the first place. If you hide who you are, you’re going to be extra nervous or even paranoid that your partner somehow sees through you and knows you are asexual. First dates are nervewracking enough as it is; why add extra fear to the equation?  

Most importantly, keeping your asexuality to yourself so that you won’t be rejected sends you the wrong message. If you put your fear of rejection over expressing who you are, you internalize the message that something is wrong with being asexual, that it’s better to be sexual, that those people who may reject you are right to do so and you are wrong for not experiencing sexual attraction.

That doesn’t mean that you should blurt it out inappropriately or tell everyone you meet, but you certainly should consider coming out as soon as possible to potential romantic partners.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about coming out:

  • Timing is everything. You may be nervous about coming out and want to get it over with, but you are more likely to be able to communicate effectively if you tell the other person calmly, at the right time, and in a way s/he can understand. Look for an opening in a conversation where you can naturally bring up the subject.
  • Plan ahead of time.  A lot of people don’t know what asexuality is and may have questions about it. Think about how you are going to explain your asexuality and plan some responses to common questions or reactions so that you are not caught off guard if your date asks you something, doesn’t believe you, or is weirded out.
  • Remember that coming out is a process. Many people think of coming out as one conversation, but it actually is just the beginning of communication. If your date wants to know more about your asexuality, you’ll have the opportunity to share your feelings and points of view as you get to know one another better. Don’t try to explain everything about asexuality in one evening.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. If your date accepts you as an asexual person, you may be so relieved that you feel like bringing up your asexuality over and over. It’s great to be excited, but make sure you talk about other things as well and give your partner a chance to talk about things that are important to hir.
  • Put things in perspective. Some sexual people are open to dating asexuals, while others aren’t. If a date rejects you or makes fun of your asexuality, allow yourself to be hurt or disappointed, but try not to generalize. That one person is just one person, and if s/he didn’t want the real you, s/he wasn’t right for you. It doesn’t mean you will never find anybody or that you should never come out to a sexual person again.

Ultimately, you are in charge of who you come out to. If you don’t feel comfortable coming out to a date, don’t, but ask yourself why you are uncomfortable and whether you really want to date a person that inspires this type of feeling in you. The more you come out to potential dates, the more comfortable you will feel inside your own skin – a quality that is very attractive to many people and will help you find the right partner(s) for you.

A lot of people ask for “coming out” advice, so this is an excellent read on the topic. :)