My Autistic Sexuality, Part 1

I’ve never seen anything, anywhere, about being sexual as an autistic person. And I’ve noticed (as a frequent reader of romances and sex blogs) that the way other folks talk about sex is very very different from my needs and experiences. My sexuality is different from anything I’ve heard of. And it’s time we start talking about autistic sexuality.

MY Autistic Sexuality

This is my autistic sexuality, okay? Not necessarily anyone else’s. A lot of it relates to tactile hypersensitivity. So autistic folks who are mainly hypersensitive in, say, their hearing or smell, and hyposensitive to touch will have very different experiences. But when I mentioned writing this earlier today to a friend who is also autistic and hypersensitive, we shared a ‘Hell yes!’ moment. So it’s not JUST me.

I originally started writing this for my partners. Because talking about sex is still really hard for me (partly for reasons covered below). Friday, I was reminded of my old (and sort-of-ongoing) desire to get into sex blogging. How I wanted to talk about my sexuality in hopes of connecting with others who shared it and sparing folks the years of ‘what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-me’ that I went through figuring all this out.

I can’t write about sex on a regular basis (again, partly for reasons below). But I could take this writing, that I need to do anyway, and share it.

Part one is about arousal and the before-we-get-to-sex stuff (mostly). Part 2, which I will hopefully be able to write in time for next week’s post, will be the actual sex stuff.

So here you go.

Part 1: My Autistic Arousal (mostly)

  1. I live in near-constant dissociation. This is how I handle my hypersensitivity. But it often makes me oblivious to stuff going on in my body. Stuff like arousal. For whatever reason, my mind interprets the physical signs of arousal as itchiness. If you see me scratching my crotch, I am likely aroused and either unaware of it or don’t feel I can do anything about it.
    My arousal almost always starts in my body. But it’s started by my brain. Words. Okay, touch never makes me aroused. I think it’s because of how hard I disassociate but I’m not sure. Pictures and books are the most common instigators. Sometimes my own writing or thoughts. But if I’m not aware of being aroused and I don’t feel aroused? I just get itchy. It takes an active effort for me to release the disassociation and feel the arousal.
    Maybe. Or it may be that I don’t have instigators for arousal as-such, and it’s just that I’m interested in pictures/books/etc when well…
  2. I seem to get aroused on a schedule, probably hormone related. About every two weeks, I get aroused, and it gets stronger over time unless I do something about it. If I don’t do anything it seems to fade after 3 to 5 days.
  3. Being aroused and being in dissociation usually triggers anxiety. It can lead to panic attacks but…
  4. If the anxiety goes long enough, usually the arousal ‘gets bad’. I think this is hitting some residual trauma stuff, but it might be a hypersensitivity thing — over stimulation. Or both combined. I don’t have the right words to describe what it feels like in my head. But any skin-to-skin contact starts to feel bad in a very specific way. Erotic contact is worse. And my arousal starts to feel bad in that way — like, if I make the effort to drop the dissociation and let myself feel the arousal, it feels bad in this way.
    Whether or not this problem starts from trauma, it will definitely pull up trauma stuff if it goes on long enough.
  5. If I can dissociate myself heavily enough and get busy doing something that distracts me, the badness will usually go away. Sometimes it just stays til the arousal goes away. Which (see above) can take a while.
  6. Sometimes things can start to ‘go bad’ during sexual activity. Still haven’t fully figured this out, but overthinking is definitely a sign it’s coming/trigger. Usually can’t come back from this but recently Michael has been able to pull me back from the ‘bad’ so we can continue. I don’t know how she did it.
  7. If I realize it’s starting to go bad before it does, sometimes pain helps bring me back.
  8. I can’t stop being aroused except for positive sexual activity. Once the arousal hits, especially the hormone-induced arousal, there’s nothing I can do but ride it out. No cold shower or equivalent that can make me stop being aroused. Doing sex will stop the arousal, at least temporarily. The better the sex, the longer the arousal stops. Sometimes it’ll be just a few hours, especially if things ‘go bad’. If I’m lucky, it’ll be good enough to shut down the arousal until the hormone period passes.
  9. If I’m lucky, because while I do like sex as a thing, it gets REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING to have my body demanding sex whether I’m healthy enough, in the mood, have time, have privacy, etc etc. and if I don’t do something my mind will punish me for it.
  10. Like, the first time each round, I’m usually excited and into. After the second or third time, I’m ANNOYED and want it to be over so I can get on with my life.
  11.  I’ve seen a couple of places selling tiny dildos, like fit-inside-you-and-disappear things. And that’s like my holy grail of dildos, because when the itching starts, I could put it in and it would give me just enough stimulation to pulling me out of dissociation without overwhelming me. That would keep the anxiety from kicking in (see point 4), hopefully long enough for good sexy times to happen.
    1.  Just as a random, completely  irrelevant note, my birthday is coming up. 😉

So yeah, that’s it for now. Hopefully I can follow up next week with the sex part of my autistic sexuality.

When My Sexuality Can Be a Joy (possibly TMI)

I want to reach a point where my sexuality can be a joy. I want to be one of those old folks who has lots of sex and revels in freaking the younger generations with hints of the naughtiness she gets up to while they’re imagining her celibately puttering around the kitchen or playing parcheesi. (Which is actually a pretty fun game, but I’d probably be playing magic or Carcassonne.)

Two usually non-sex things are making that a challenge.

Sensory Issues + Sex = badness

The more common (and more annoying) these days is my autism.

I know, not one you’d expect to be causing sex problems. Relationship problems, sure, but sex problems?

Well, one of my major autism challenges is sensory issues. I hit sensory overload very easy, mainly because I don’t have the nifty ability NTs have to filter out ‘background information’. It’s worst with sound, but second worst for me is tactile.

And, you know, getting comes with quiet a few tactile sensations. There’s the various tinglings and warm feelings and wetnesses. And it just…

You know the recommended way to handle an autistic kid who has a meltdown? Remove or remove them from all sensory stimulation possible. Don’t touch if you can avoid it. Remove all stressors possible. You’re ideal is a quiet, dark area where no one intrudes until they are doing better.

How the fuck do I remove sensory stimulation being caused by my own body? It just ain’t fucking happening. Do it’s a negative feedback loop that can leave me a mess for days on end.

Yes days, because for some reason once I get horny it doesn’t go away until I do something about it. I have never found any equivalent of a long cold shower that works for me. And yes, that sucks too.

Trauma + Sex = badness

The second issue is PTSD/anxiety. This one makes more sense in broad strokes but the specifics are harder to describe. On the other hand, the specifics are no one’s business if I don’t choose to share them, so… anyway.

Yeah, sexual abuse means PTSD and anxiety can be major issues around sex. In fact, there were such major issues that at one time I didn’t think I had a sex drive. It turned out to be… more complicated than that.

Anyway, for whatever fucked up reason, (see above) being an anxious place or a bad-memory place or a “I feel like I’m a shit person” place doesn’t stop the horniness. It just makes it really unhealthy, where I feel like a dirty bad person for being horny, and a worse person if I do anything about it, and doing anything about it likely to trigger a panic attack, but again, it doesn’t go away and it’s another negative fucking feedback loop that fucks me up for days.

Progress Counts

It isn’t always bad. Actually, the more I’ve healed from the sex trauma, the more I’ve learned about my autism and how to handle sensory shit to avoid reaching the point of overload, the more I’ve been able to be horny, and do fun things with myself or my partners, and just… enjoy it.

I’m really hoping that in time I’ll be able to build on that progress and eventually the bad-horny times will be so rare they are noteworthy events and the good-horny times are the norm that I get to enjoy and to all the crazy sexy things.

Though, in an ‘irony wins’ fashion, the best solution I’ve found so far to horny+sensory overload is actually to go do all the sexy things as soon as I realize it’s happening.

Sexy Fun as Solution = Goodness

See, while we can’t filter out ‘background stuff’ many autistic people have found that a single, intense sensation can drown out all the sensory overload and give us some rest from it. This is actually the ‘why’ behind a lot of (though not all of) the self-harming stims some autistic people do. It’s also why spinning, spicy food, and weighted blankets tend to be popular with autistic folks.

And, done right, it doesn’t get much more intense that sexy stuff. (Especially if you throw in clamps, wooden horses, and those kind of fun things. Keep Wartenburg wheels and vibes way the fuck away from me thank you very much! Steady constant stim is what we’re going for here.)

This post brought to you by a sensory overload+horny morning fucking with my head. Very tight rope harness with crotch rope is my friend. Yup yup.