Expanding your online dating options
“If you see the categories that are coming up on dating apps, that’s part of that legacy of just not taking asexuality seriously.” But as mainstream awareness of asexual identity continues to grow, online dating services are finally starting to do more to acknowledge asexual users.
Cerankowski says that knowledge and acceptance of asexuality have surged, particularly since 2010, which they credit to increased activism, scholarship, and pop culture representation.
Instead of friendly conversation about shared interests, first dates often involve fielding intrusive questions about their orientations and histories, especially from those who don’t believe that their identities are “real.” “‘Are you sure?
“You have this one dating app that’s leading the way around gender identity and sexual orientation,” Cerankowski says. There are no identification or filtering options for aces, so if you want to identify as asexual or aromantic, you have to work around the app’s existing infrastructure.
But workable online alternatives for aces seeking their preferred levels of partnership and connection are few and far between.
Free apps like Tinder and Bumble, and paid services like don’t have specific mechanisms that allow users to identify themselves as ace, or to filter for asexual and/or aromantic matches.
Ok Cupid director of product Nick Saretzky acknowledges that infrastructure changes like these aren’t simple — but that they are important nonetheless.
“It [was] very complex to change a dating app that had been around for 10 years, and [we] were aware it would be a pretty significant investment in terms of time and money,” Saretzky said by email.
According to Bumble’s head of brand, Alex Williamson el-Effendi, the app is planning to launch focus groups to research a potential new feature that would allow users to select their sexual orientations.