It can be hard enough even when you have a certain level of self awareness but don’t realise that you’re ‘fitting in’ with society because that’s what you think is expected, rather than what you actually want.
Amalena Caldwell is an autistic writer who blogs as Some Girl With A Braid: ‘I’m pretty sex-positive and much more open to talking about things than most people are – which I have to remember to rein in sometimes so I don’t make others uncomfortable.
Whatever situation I’m in – romantic, sexual, or even just work – I struggle to stay focused on the task in hand(! ‘Since my diagnosis, I discussed it properly with my husband and we are now happily celibate.’ And that’s the point – everyone has different ways of dealing with things. Some names have been changed and quotes edited for clarity.
There’s no law saying that everyone should have a full throttle sex life – so long as all parties involved are happy, that’s all that matters. If you’re affected by the issues discussed here and would like to discuss it with likeminded others, join in at the Scope Community Forum.
‘I brushed it aside and didn’t think about it for years, deciding to just focus on boys because it was a lot easier.
‘Then someone pointed out to me that they saw me looking at girls and I realised I didn’t have to just like guys or girls like the boxes society likes people to fit into. Guys, girls, trans, and anyone else who happened to catch my eye.
‘My last book, The 52 Seductions, was a memoir about sex in a long term relationship that I wrote pre-diagnosis.
‘I now read it again and it’s so clear to me that it was really about me working out how to cope with sex as an autistic person.
You try a new move only for your partner to shriek in horror, or they ask you to talk dirty to them and suddenly you can’t think of anything to say.‘A common response when I told people I was autistic was ‘but you wrote a whole book about sex!’ The assumption is that we’re altogether sexless.’ We’re mostly anything but – but that assumption, alongside a common difficulty in communicating openly, can have drastic consequences. ‘I’d never learnt to retract my foreskin as I grew up, so it became tight and painful.‘My sexual partner told me that I should consider circumcision, but when I saw a specialist, I was told it was in fact caused by poor hygiene.‘This was never ever discussed by my family growing up.