Now, there are two possible meanings ofthe right person: one more stary-eyed romantic and one more down to earth. There is the popular belief that somewhere out there, there is a "the one for you"; there is some person of preordained importance, some special someone who was made for you and you for them. And your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find that person.
And then there is the more down to earth idea of the right person. There are a number of people who unexpectedly find someone they really click with, someone they really like, someone unlike those who came before, someone they feel new and powerful emotions for. It may largely be the sheer power of these emotions that can give rise to feelings of being made for each other, feelings that can lead to the more mystical conceptions of "the one for you."
This knowledge, this belief can be called upon to explain away claims of asexuality, and by using some supposed authoritative knowledge about the asexual's future, current sexual disinterest is "accounted for without having to acknowledge even the possibility that the person might be asexual. Those on the receiving end of the right-person response can find it frustrating: they are coming out as asexual and find asexuality dismissed.
Still, there are people who typically don't experience sexual attraction but do when they meet "the right person." Such people exist in the asexual community. Among the common terms specific to asexual discourse, the one that took me the longest to understand is demisexual (or demi for short.) I had long thought it equivalent to Gray-A(sexual), but, I've learned, it's not. Gray-A refers to people in the gray area between sexual and asexual. Demisexual is more specific.
It is based on a distinction between primary and secondary sexual attraction found in Rabger's model of asexuality found on the AVENwiki: Primary sexual attraction is a sort of instant sexual attraction based on some sensory stimuli (i.e. how they look, smell, sound.) Secondary sexual attraction is sexual attraction that arises after developing a close emotional bond with someone. Sexuals are typically assumed to experience both and asexuals neither, but there are some people who only experience secondary sexual attraction. That is, they generally don't experience sexual attraction, and, if fact, may go years at a time without experiencing it. But they do feel sexual attraction to people after forming close emotional/romantic bonds with them. Demisexuality is reported by both males and females, and an identity as demi may in addition to or instead of an asexual identity, depending on the person.
So, someone who is demisexual and has never been in a romantic relationship before will likely have no idea that they're demi; for someone who has never formed a deep romantic/emotional bond and doesn't experience primary sexual attraction (using Rabger's terms), they have no idea whether or not they would feel secondary sexual attraction.
In light of this, let's consider some of the more common replies to the right-person response. One is "I have met the right person, and I still think I'm asexual." (Searching for "the right person" will yield examples on this thread on AVEN, this one on Apositive, and a post by Rainbow Amoeba.) This seems quite valid, but it doesn't apply for romantically less-experienced asexuals.
Additional replies include an age-based response and a recognition that even if love is found late in life, sexual attraction tends to start a lot younger. Both of these are used in a recent post by the blogger Glad to be A recently writing about this subject:
[The right-person response is] perhaps harder to argue with if you're a teenager (even though you may indeed be asexual), because some people do come to love and sex a little later in life. I do think that most sexual people experience sexual desire and attraction fairly early on, but there may be some exceptions. But it does make me raise my eyebrows when I hear it directed at a 30-something like me.
Arguments based on the fact that sexual attraction typically starts well before falling in love, even for people who don't fall in love till later in life, can be found elsewhere. (For example, The right person theory by Rainbow Amoeba.) Something similar can also be found on AVEN's general FAQ:
I can't identify as asexual. What if I find the right person and start being sexual with them?
If you have yet to meet a single person who has aroused you sexually it's pretty safe to say that you have low or no sexual attraction to others. You aren't losing anything by exploring your asexuality and talking to others with similar experiences. If one day you find that special someone, that would be wonderful!
Identifying as asexual isn't committing yourself to abstinence, it's recognizing how you work. You can have relationships and you can be sexual if you so choose.
This makes sense and allows for fluidity, but it still bothers me: it neglects to mention possibility of demisexuality. Ultimately, people should be willing to be open to new experiences in the future. For those who have fallen in love and still had little-to-no interested in sex, they have very strong reason to reject the "right-person" response. For asexuals who haven't, if they're aromantic, they also have good reason to reject it. But for those who haven't "fallen in love" but know enough about themselves to believe it may be possible, it seems foolish to presume to know what would be felt: foolish to assume no new sexual interest, and foolish to assume sexual desire will magically bloom. Still, for people in this group, I think an asexual identity makes a great deal of sense for where they are now, and I think that asexual discourse can be of great value for figuring themselves out. And if they do fall in love and decide that they're demi, the asexual community seems to be the main place where that subject is talked about.