Sexless Dating: A Step Closer Towards Inclusivity in Dating Apps and Websites
Dating and relationships have always been complicated, be it in any era. From the traditional meet-cutes period to the modern dating scene, finding Mr./Miss Right has been a challenge. Dating apps were introduced to let people who could not hit it off with the cute barista at the cafe, the good-looking nerd in the library or the hot life-of-the-party at the bar due to various reasons form connections with others. These apps felt convenient, they allowed easy connections with people from the comfort of any place without having to actively take the effort of actually approaching someone.
But this quick and easy approach has also brought its own set of problems. Since there is no other criteria to judge, a person has to put their best foot forward by posting their best pictures and qualities which may or may not be true. There is an option of instant rejection which leads to low self-esteem and self-doubt. The dating apps have added new terms to the GenZ dating dictionary: ghosting, love-bombing, bread-crumbing, situationships and many others. There is also a lingering fear of matching with fraudulent profiles. Since there is no obligation or real-life connection with anyone, it is very easy to break off contact with another person without having to give any reasons. This has paved the way for comfortable and casual dating with no-strings-attached.
However, even with all of their shortcomings, dating apps have worked wonders for some people by helping them find their happily ever after as well. It is undoubtedly a good place for exploration while trying to find “the one”. If not in finding love, dating apps have certainly helped people gain confidence, make new friends and meet new kinds of people. With an increase in the number of users on dating apps, apps specially catering to the needs of members of certain communities have also been developed. The members of the queer community have found it difficult to establish fulfilling relationships in the real-world and so, LGBTQ+ dating apps have helped them find potential partners and date according to their desires.
The world is becoming more inclusive towards all kinds of people by viewing them as humans rather than attaching any other labels. There are increasingly open discussions on gender, sex, sexuality, romance, love and marriage. With so much discourse on these topics around the world, particularly on the Internet, how could dating apps be far behind?
With the intent to include people identifying as asexual on the spectrum and those who are unable to have sex due to various reasons, dating apps like Entwine and The Sexless Tribe were launched. These apps were specially created for people looking for emotional intimacy rather than physical relationships. Entwine, on its website, promises a safe dating experience by eliminating sexual expectations from relationships and helping users find similar people who would accept them for who they are. The Sexless Tribe was started by an abstinent woman, Shakia Seabrook, who felt that the sexually abstinent community was not getting enough representation. It is a group of abstinent people who are either not looking for a sexual relationship at all or are not willing to engage in premarital sex. They organize regular meet-ups, group events, podcasts and other activities. Ziva is another dating website for people who are looking for love but are not willing to engage in physical activities, at least not immediately. Though these apps and sites are only available in the USA or limited countries, have few users currently and need more advertising and publicity for popularity, they can undoubtedly be considered a step closer towards inclusivity in dating and relationship apps.
Being Sex Positive does not simply mean being open to talks of sexual experiences, sexual pleasures and all things sex but it is, at the same time, choosing to accept people who do not enjoy sex or do not wish to engage in it for their own reasons. It is choosing to accept people regardless of how much or how little they enjoy or have sex. Sexual performance and abilities do not have to necessarily override the other qualities of an individual and these websites and apps are helping to spread that message. Hopefully, these sites and apps would become more accessible to people in other countries so that they can overcome the challenging aspects of conventional dating that they cannot adhere to and build positive and meaningful relationships.
To what extent would these dating apps be successful is another question altogether, but it is definitely a step forward.