Identifying with Gray Asexuality in a World of Sex
Treading between asexuality and sexuality is the gray asexual’s challenge in the dating world. In a world that is defined by sex, how do they adapt?
Some of you may have experienced a time when the idea of sex held no appeal. In those moments, the idea of rolling around in bed with someone else made you feel indifferent or even exhausted at the thought of having to exert that much effort for sex. Don’t worry. It happens for a lot of reasons, but there is a minority that feels that this is how they will always see sex.
What does it mean to be gray asexual?
If you are not yet aware, most people nowadays believe that gender is not a box to be ticked, but a spectrum of different preferences and identities. Rather than saying that there are X kinds of sexual orientations, we say that there are different types of people who have different preferences.
Still, there are times when one needs to label their sexual predisposition in order to discover their identity. In a simple world, there are two types of sexual predispositions: sexual and asexual. However, there is one more that needs more recognition because they’re not built for any of those two groups.
They have their own sense of identification and they choose to call themselves “gray asexual.” This term refers to the gray area between feeling and not feeling sexual attraction.
Before you can understand what that means, let’s take a look at what being asexual means. Asexual people generally feel little to no sexual attraction for other people. When they finally do feel sexually attracted to someone or something, it’s either a passing feeling or one that doesn’t incite any physical reactions.
When it comes to gray asexuality, however, people who identify with this label tend to border between feeling sexual attraction to others and returning to their asexual tendencies. Here are some of their identifiers:
– They feel sexual attraction, but not as often as sexual people.
– They don’t feel like acting on their sexual attraction.
– They are confused about their feelings of sexual attraction.
– They don’t feel that sexuality is a meaningful concept.
Gray asexuals in relationships
Dating gray asexuals may not be as different as dating asexual or sexual people. You go out, get to know each other, meet each other’s friends and family – you know, regular stuff. Just because a person identifies as gray asexual does not mean that they do things differently outside the bedroom.
The only difference is that sex may or may not be on the table as often as the other person would like. With any new relationship, gray-sexuals will have to discuss their current views with their partner. It is important that they tell their partner what to expect and how they can compromise.
Sex is not necessarily off the table, especially when a gray asexual person willingly chooses to date a sexual person. There’s just more emphasis on the conversation surrounding sex, because one person might need it more than the other.
And the main thing about grey asexuals is that they are more adaptable than asexual people because they don’t identify with asexuality so strongly. Some of them may refuse to have sex forever, but some may decide that they are willing enough to do it for the person with whom they want to be in a relationship. [Read: Pansexual confessions: What is it like to be one?]
What happens when gray asexuals refuse to have sex?
If a sexual person chooses to date someone who is asexual or gray-sexual, they need to understand that sex may not ever be on the table. If that is the case, they’ll have to accept that or discuss an arrangement that might work. Some people are willing to be polyamorous these days, so that may be a solution.
The most important thing to remember is that YOU SHOULD NEVER FORCE THEM. Do not guilt them. Do not coerce them. Do not emotionally blackmail them. They may be toeing the line between asexuality and sexuality, but the choice of sleeping with another person still falls on them.
The same goes for gray asexuals who want their sexual partner to give up sex altogether. The choice has to be made by their sexual partner. Some sexual people are capable of giving up their sex life, but gray-sexual partners must allow them to make their own choice.
Some gray asexual people will prefer dating asexual or gray asexual people as well, since it gives them the freedom to not have to compromise when it comes to sex. Whichever path a person chooses, there needs to be communication of needs and limits. [Read: How to build trust in a relationship and make it last]
How to discuss your sexuality with your partner
It’s no easy feat to explain something that you don’t quite understand yourself. Just tell your partner what you know at this point. It helps if you read up on it on helpful sites like AVEN before talking to your partner. Here are some tips to remember if you are grey-sexual and your partner isn’t.
#1 Explain to your partner what asexuality means. This is the best place to start. There is no way to side-step that fact. Tell your partner why you identify with being gray asexual as a start.
#2 Give them some time to breathe. Some people can’t handle this type of information in one sitting. If your partner needs it, give them some time to think about what you’ve just told them. Give them some resources to read if you think it will help.
#3 Ask them how they feel about it. Once they’re ready to talk about it again, you need to consider their feelings on the matter. This revelation is not just about you, it’s about you two and your relationship.
#4 Tell them what you’re willing to give in case you get serious. By now, you’ll know what it is that you’re expecting out of the relationship. Let your partner know and allow them to process it. [Read: Compromise in relationships: 12 tips to give without losing]
#5 Ask them what they’re willing to compromise on as well. Sex is usually the main point of discussion, and it helps to give each other time. Talk about it as much as you can until you can finally come to an understanding.
#6 Consider your options. No matter what your partner decides, you need to be ready. At this point, you need to discuss how you and your partner will proceed in the relationship.
Here are some tips to remember if you are sexual and your partner is gray asexual
It can be difficult for someone to admit that they are different from most people. You may not agree with their views or choices, but you have to exhibit sensitivity and tact during times like these. You can expect the same from your partner as well.
#1 Make sure you ask them everything you need to know. Some sexual people will feel blindsided when they find out that their partner is asexual. Asking about all the things you need to know will lessen the impact of discovering an extremely different way of life.
#2 Don’t make assumptions based on what you’ve heard about asexual people. “They hate sex,” “They don’t want to see penises or vaginas,” etc., etc. There all these misconceptions about asexual people, and it doesn’t help when you believe them before hearing your partner’s side.
#3 Listen to your partner before you make any sudden negative remarks. The idea of not having sex can be very alarming for some people, so try not to yell, “What?!” when your partner tells you about it. [Read: 10 ways to be a better listener in your relationship]
#4 If you need more time to think, ask for it. No one can make a huge decision in just one sitting. Tell your partner that you need to think about this some more. Don’t let them assume that you’re breaking up with them, unless that’s what you really want to do.
#5 Read more literature about what it means to be gray asexual. The more you know, the less uninformed things will run through your head.
#6 Tell your partner about the things that you need in the relationship. You have needs. They have different needs. It’s all about compromise, but it’s very critical that you tell your partner this from the start. If they can’t give it to you, you have to rethink your views on the matter and see if you can give way.
#7 Ask your partner about what they need as well. Again, this is not just about you. Once you know exactly what your partner needs, you may be able to arrive at an acceptable compromise.
#8 Consider your options. Yes to a relationship? No to no sex? Whatever decision you make, do it because you want to, not because you have to. [Read: How to give space in a relationship and not drift apart]
Now that you know a little bit more about being gray asexual, does this help you understand their dating preferences better? Are you willing to subscribe to their lifestyle, if you ever find yourself dating one?