OkCupid: Non-Binary Dating Guide - Gender Basics & Dating Tips Table of Contents Non-Binary Dating 101: What Does Non-Binary Gender Mean? Who Do Non-Binary Date? Non-Binary & Sexual Orientation Dating a Non-Binary Person - 7 Useful Tips & Advice Non-Binary Dating FAQs OkCupid As A Non-Binary Dating App Dating can be difficult for anyone, but the world of dating holds particular challenges for non-binary people. Establishing how you want to connect with others and finding someone who’s on your wavelength is difficult for anybody. It is even more complex when you are not on the binary scale through which most people understand the world of dating. Add to this the fact that the “traditional binary dating rules” don’t apply and it can feel like you are entering very new territory. While this can be a bit intimidating, it can also be liberating for both partners, regardless of whether they are enby, cis, or binary trans. Are you in a relationship with someone who identifies as non-binary, or are you considering dating or having some kind of relationship with someone who is enby? If non-binary dating is relatively new territory for you, it’s normal to wonder what to expect. Finding love is all about give and take. You want the other person to feel comfortable, appreciated, and seen, while also having your own needs fulfilled. So here’s how can you move forward with a non-binary (or “enby”) partner without falling into common misgendering traps. This article provides advice and guidance to anyone interested in dating a non-binary person. We’ll start with how to refer to your partner, then cover gender-neutral partner names, and how to address a nonbinary person both directly and when introducing them to others. But we’ll also look at more complex topics such as gender dysphoria and what this means for physical interaction and sexuality. By the end of this article, you’ll have information that will help you to engage with a non-binary date in an open, appropriate, and supportive way. Non-Binary Dating 101: What Does Non-Binary Gender Mean? Knowing the terminology can be extremely useful when talking with non-binary people about their identity, interests, and needs. So let’s take a look at some of the most important non-binary dating terms and vocabulary. Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine. They are identities that are outside the masculine-feminine gender binary and therefore are non-binary. What is an “enby”? Pronounced NB, this is a common abbreviation for non-binary. This is in contrast to cisgender, or cis, which is the term used to refer to people who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. Cisgender is the opposite of transgender, or trans, which refers to someone who identifies as a gender other than that which they were assigned at birth. A transgender individual may identify as male, female, or non-binary. So, while transgender and non-binary are closely related, the terms are not interchangeable. Non-binary individuals will often use the terms AMAB or AFAB enby(or trans enby) when speaking about the gender they were assigned at birth, indicating “assigned male at birth” and “assigned female at birth,” respectively. Individuals who identify as either male or female often (but not always) use the pronouns “he/him” or “she/her.” Non-binary people will usually refer to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns such as “they,” “their,” or “them.” They may use neopronouns, which are pronouns that have been created specifically to be gender-neutral such as “xe,” “ze,” or “sie.” They may also prefer gender-neutral partner names for themselves, such as “partner” or “lover,” over terms such as “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” But the only way to know their preference is to ask. Non-binary is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of gender expressions. While some expressions are more common than others, never assume that all non-binary people identify and feel the same way. Types of Nonbinary Gender Identity: Bigender or trigender - means having two or more genders, the person may identify as both at the same time, or they may move back and forth between them Agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree, or neutrois - identify as having no gender, or a gender that is neutral in its expression, rather than leaning toward male or female Genderfluid - means moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity; people who are genderfluid may feel more masculine on some days and more feminine on others Transmasculineor transfeminine - a non-binary person who identifies more with either the masculine or feminine gender respectively, but does not consider themselves restricted to that gender Third gender or other-gendered - those who do not give a name to their gender Pangender - meaning “all genders,” this is a term used by individuals who prefer not to restrict their gender to our current collective understanding of gender Curious how to use neopronouns? If someone chooses to use the pronoun xe, here’s how it adapts to different contexts: Xe is the subjective - Xe has arrived! Xem is the objective - I spoke with xem. Xir is the possessive adjective - Xir book is interesting. Xirs is the possessive pronoun - that bag is xirs. Xirself is reflective - Xe told me xirself. The same declension principles apply when using the alternative neopronouns ze and sie. Do you feel like you identify with any of the gender identities described above? If you would like to do some more exploring, here is our "Am I non-binary" guide, that can help shed light on some of those feelings. Who Do Non-Binary People Date? Non-Binary & Sexual Orientation Non-binary is a gender identity which is different from sexual orientation. Gender identity is about who you are, while sexual orientation is about who you are interested in. Many of the terms that we use to refer to sexuality, such as hetrosexual and homosexual, don’t make sense within the non-binary world because they assume a gender to oppose or match. For this reason, there is a different vocabulary for referring to non-binary sexual orientation, but the terms are often equally applicable to cisgender sexual orientation. Androsexual - exclusively interested in men Gynesexual/Gynosexual - exclusively interested in women Bisexual - interested in more than one gender, traditionally used to indicate an interest in both men and women Pansexual/Allosexual - potentially sexually interested in all people, regardless of gender identification Skiliosexual - attracted to non-binary Asexual - individuals who experience little or no sexual attraction (however, they may still be interested in forming romantic connections) How do you know the sexual orientation of a non-binary person? The same way you know the sexual orientation of a cisgender man or woman: Let them to tell you. Read more about the gender identity options available on OkCupid. Dating a Non-Binary Person - 7 Useful Tips & Advice Most societies accommodate binary people, but it is not always clear how our systems and traditions may or may not accommodate non-binary people. This is especially true when it comes to dating. How society has taught most people to relate to others on an intimate level is overlayed by gender assumptions. But when our acts, however well-intentioned, misgender the other person, they can be harmful. Non-binary dating encourages questioning your assumptions and being open to asking questions and learning. Non-binary people often have to overcome a lot of challenges, such as transphobia and misgendering, when dating. And when you date a non-binary person, you need to be prepared to face those challenges with them. It is important to treat your non-binary date or partner in a way that recognizes and respects their gender identity. But it is also important to know how to treat your non-binary partner around others, and how to express your own gender identity and sexual needs within the relationship. Below, you will find useful advice for binary individuals who are dating or interested in dating a non-binary person. 1. Ask your date their pronouns and use gender-neutral partner names. How do you address a non-binary person? Your partner will have a preferred set of pronouns for referring to themselves, which could be gender-neutral such as they or them, or neopronouns developed specifically for non-binary people. Using the right pronouns is essential to avoid misgendering.As well as pronouns, your partner will likely want specific gender-neutral names for you to refer to them by. As your relationship develops, no doubt you will develop your own personal vocabulary, but consider some of the following as a place to start. Gender Neutral Partner Names My datemate My person My boo My lover Paramour Cuddle buddy Significant other, or SO Other half Steady Soulmate Companion Imzadi (for Star Trek fans) 2. Ask what to call a nonbinary person when introducing them or talking about them to others.In a heteronormative dating world, being your authentic, non-binary self can be invigorating, but it can also be a risk. Non-binary individuals are often targets of harassment, prejudice, and even violence. “They-ing” your non-binary partner to a friend or a stranger can be a coming-out moment for them. Create a game plan with your partner before walking into a potentially unsafe situation.Your date may be out to their friends, family, coworkers, some combination thereof, or none of the above. Context matters, so it’s important you know the right terms for the right situations. This includes which pronouns and names to use, but also, when the time comes, the terms to describe your relationship. Ask your partner what they would like to be called. Your non-binary partner may be fine with - or even prefer - girlfriend or boyfriend; just make sure you ask instead of assuming! 3. Never ask for a non-binary person’s deadname. We are all assigned a name, along with a sex, at birth. But when we don’t identify with our birth sex, we also often don’t identify with our birth name and may choose to change it. If someone no longer identifies with or uses their birth name, it is called their deadname.It is considered extremely rude to inquire about someone’s deadname. Call them by the name they ask you to call them. If they want to share their deadname someday, that’s their call to make. 4. Ask them how they like to talk about their body. Many, though not all, non-binary people experience dysphoria as a result of their gender identity. Dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because their gender identity does not match their gender assigned at birth. If you have not previously dated someone with gender dysphoria, you may assume that everybody is comfortable with the common terms used to describe our bodies and sexual behaviors. But if you identify with different parts of your body in a dysphoric way, seemingly innocuous terms can be distressing when used to describe you.Dating someone with gender dysphoria often means taking extra care when it comes to being intimate, or talking about being intimate. The best approach is to get to know the individual and discover what they are specifically comfortable or uncomfortable with. Open conversation is the best approach. 5. Don’t expect them to educate you on their non-binary experience. It’s natural to be curious! Just be aware that non-binary people often have to explain and justify their existence, so sometimes being asked to answer questions can feel like a burden.Adding “if you feel like talking about this” to your question about being non-binary can be a good way to show your person that you honor their willingness, or unwillingness, to share. 6. Be prepared to educate others! Dating while non-binary, or dating a non-binary person, can awaken your senses to just how binary our world is. This can put stress on your relationship, some friends and family might start treating you differently, and you may get some awkward, or even transphobic, reactions while out in public. You’ll want to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to deal with potential issues. And remember, just as you were curious, others are likely to be curious as well. If you are dating a non-binary person, expect others to have questions. 7. See them as they truly are and not just the gender that makes the most “sense” in your opinion based on their appearance. Also remember, your or your partner’s gender can change throughout your lifetime. You may have even met your partner before they came out as non-binary. This can also mean that what you want in a relationship can change. Remember that change doesn’t make you or your partner’s wants, needs, and feelings any less valid. With any relationship, leaving room for change creates a healthy foundation. Non-Binary Dating FAQs Below, you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about non-binary in the context of dating. Can a straight person date a non-binary? Mutual attraction knows few rules, and it is not uncommon for individuals who consider themselves straight to be attracted to someone who identifies as non-binary. If the attraction is returned, then a straight person can certainly date a non-binary person. Can non-binary be straight? By definition, a non-binary person cannot be straight, as “straight” refers to attraction to the opposite gender on a binary scale. Non-binary individuals do not identify as belonging to that scale. However, binary individuals may be exclusively attracted to either men or women, in a similar fashion to a straight person. How to ask a non-binary person out? The same rules of risk and respect apply when asking out a non-binary person as they do for anyone else. Expressing your feelings honestly often means risking rejection, and you should always respect the other person’s desires and boundaries. However, you may also want to prepare to change some of your own dating habits, as they may not be appropriate when engaging with a non-binary person. Buying someone flowers or expecting someone to open a door for you might seem innocent enough, but these small acts have a lot of gender-related cultural baggage. Be understanding if your date finds these things upsetting, and be prepared to talk about what they would prefer. Using OkCupid As A Non-Binary Dating App Whether you are non-binary or intersted in exploring the non-binary dating world, the OkCupid app and website is here to support you. We are working hard to accommodate a broad range of preferences, including 20 sexual orientation options and 22 gender options as well as over 60 identities, for users to choose from. OkCupid is for every single person, no matter how you identify or who you’re interested in. Whether you’re straight, bi, questioning or anything in between, OkCupid is where you can find meaningful connections. We also have strict protocols for reporting harassment to protect both you and other users. Click here to use OkCupid as your preferred non-binary dating app. OkCupid uses Match Questions to help you match on what matters. Here are some questions which you may find helpful: Would you date a transgender person? Should bathrooms be gender neutral? Are gender and sexuality labels important to you? Do you have any gay, bisexual, or transgender friends? If you still need help, you can email a friendly human.