Asexuality is different, not weird ~ one Asperger’s / Autistic person’s perspective

(Beginning note:  This post gets very personal, for obvious reasons.  I wrote this because I’m aware that gender identity, awareness of that identity, sexual orientation, and sexual/intimate activities can be challenging for people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum because we differ from the vast majority of the population.  Intimate activities such as foreplay and intercourse can amplify those differences, due to the amount, type, and intensity of sensory stimulation, which might overwhelm our nervous systems.  Since I can only speak for myself, that’s what I’ll describe.  But I know that others will probably be able to identify.  I’m writing this because it’s traditionally a “taboo” subject (thanks to Puritan and similar influences), and so a lot of us out there may feel “weird”, alone, or somehow “wrong”, and have few avenues through which to talk about what we’re experiencing, and hopefully, this might help someone.) 🙂

I identify as a non-binary biological female.  I have what I surmise is the male phenotype of Asperger “Syndrome”.  That might sound like a mouthful.  That’s okay; it took me quite a while (almost 40 years) to figure all of that out and wrap my head around it.

I’m also married, having been with the same (male) partner for over 17 years.

How do I swing that?

As one might guess, it’s complicated–kind of.  It isn’t, really.  I’ll explain (deep breath)…

Yes, I do have a mild sex drive.  No, I don’t become aroused visually (i.e., by looking at anyone), AKA a “physical attraction”.  I never knew what the phrase “physical attraction” meant until last year (I’m 39).  I never even realized people could get “turned on” just by looking at someone.

My libido is usually completely dormant; my mind usually busies itself with (what I perceive as) “more important” things to do and think about.  Therefore, I very rarely act on that libido, in the rare instance that it might consider becoming active.  It’s usually a non-issue.

What about my partner?  I’m pretty sure he would like to be intimate more often.  I would like to be able to give that to him more often, too.

But my neurology simply doesn’t cooperate.  I don’t operate the same way as most people.  Like I mentioned, my brain is usually occupied with other thoughts, things to accomplish, and many other activities that I can’t put into words.

My sensory issues get in the way, too.  The reproductive system contains enormous bundles of nerve endings, which makes it incredibly sensitive.  I was born with the same amount of nerve endings as anyone else, but my nervous system doesn’t know how to process the incoming stimuli.  Definite drawback.

Although I’m familiar with my partner as a person, the thought of having sex is a little…intimidating.  Another person can’t be controlled like a video game joystick; they’re an independent being.  This brings unpredictability.  He also doesn’t know exactly what I would want, or exactly how I would want it.  And I’m very…exact.  Except that most of the time, even I don’t know what I want.  I’m can’t even express any preferences in vague generality.  So I can’t even begin to tell him.

The entire concept of sex is foreign to me–so much so, that it’s almost humorous to think about.  Imagine, two people, vigorously bumping specific areas against each other, getting sweaty.

Sweaty…yes, more sensory issues enter the picture.  The sounds.  The smells.  The feeling of being damp, or even downright wet.  The feeling of air drafts moving across bare, vulnerable skin (that is accustomed to being fully covered).  Yikes.

Um…no.  That seems repulsive to me, and the logic-driven machine that is my brain simply can’t come up with any instance in which the benefit might overshadow–even for a moment–the repulsion.  When I mentally add up the two columns (Column #1 consists of the brain-balancing benefit, the pleasure of climax, etc; Column #2 consists of the sensory issues, the difficulty and awkwardness, the intense level of interaction, the duration of the encounter, the effort involved, etc), the drawbacks clearly outnumber any potential benefits.

Sex hardly ever happens for another important reason: foreplay.  As a biological female, I (biologically) need a little warm-up; attempting to do the deed without proper warm-up is only a surefire route to a painful experience.  And I’m sensitive to pain.

The problem is, foreplay is like the “small talk” of sex.  And I’m really inept and awkward with All Things Small Talk–and that includes physical intimacy.

When one adds all of these (significant) factors up, it’s easy to see why the idea of sexual contact (on the off-chance that it even crosses my mind) hardly ever becomes reality.

This is probably something I’ll approach with my specialist (the one doing my evaluation), because he specializes in people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum (including adults of both/all genders), and he offers ongoing support to increase the quality of life for people on the spectrum.

Until then, life will go on, just as it always has.  I’m fortunate that my partner doesn’t pressure me in any way.  He’s very respectful, to the point of being passive.  He doesn’t become irritable or vengeful, even if it’s been a long time since we’ve been intimate.

And although I don’t desire sex, that lack of desire has absolutely nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me.  I know that I’m not weird or defective; nothing’s wrong with me, and nothing’s wrong with being asexual.  I also know that I’m not alone.  A lot of us are asexual, and that’s perfectly fine.  Asexuality, like the Asperger’s/autism spectrum itself, is a neurological variant/orientation.

My opinion is that not everyone needs to have sex.  I don’t believe that it’s a biological necessity, a viewpoint that tends to run directly contrary to the prevailing conventional wisdom.  (Who made them the supreme authority, anyway?  Who says we’re somehow strange?)  Humans die without sleep, water, or food (in that order); I haven’t had sex, even for my partner’s sake, in several years.  And yet, here I am, still alive and well.

My biology indeed works.  I do indeed have all of the same sensory nerve cells.  I can indeed reach a climax (ha–you can guess how often that happens.  But biologically, I am able).

But who cares about climax or sex, when you simply don’t feel a need to have it?

I usually don’t care, because I’ve never needed to care.  But I think I want to try, even if only for my partner’s benefit.  At least, sometimes 🙂

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

26 Comments

  1. Same here, sister. Once in a while I like the theoretical idea of, but the actuality is sorta yuck. We’re being celibate right now for churchy reasons, but if his annulment never goes through, I get to sign a paper saying we’ll live as brother and sister or divorce or lose my teaching job. Part of me…sometimes…hopes it doesn’t go through so we can be celibate forever. I feel bad for him, but he’s Autistic, too. He prefers to be with me with or without sex (though he’d vastly prefer the sex, I know) and since we “get” each other otherwise (good luck tracking down another Aspie female this late in the game), it is what it is. I used to pretend and could humor him, but honestly…I don’t LIKE it that much and after the miscarriage with our would-be second child, I just stopped wanting to pretend anymore, too. But then I feel bad…for the reasons you describe. It’s sorta unfair to him. One of the things I like best about the Autistic universe is that this is a common thing so it’s not so weird to talk about, you know?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep, I do know 😊

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Yes, I hear you, and your first sentence gave me a smile. I became sad for you as I read about your loss; I’m so very sorry to hear about that. 💐 I like your arrangement, and I completely understand your dilemma. ❤️

      Thank you very much, again ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a great post. This is pretty much my reality too (only I’ve been married coming up to two years now).
    It’s funny when I was dating I liked the idea of sex. I’m a Christian & subscribe to the idea of not having sex before marriage, but I think this belief protected me a lot. I could think about sex more because it was never going to be a reality. Now I’m married and sex can happen, the thought of it kind of grosses me out (sometimes outright makes me gag!).
    I feel awfully guilty a lot. I don’t think I’ve quite accepted this part of my identity yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! There’s absolutely no shame in finding sex a wee bit gross 😊 It really is, as we think about it! I’m glad you were protected by your religious viewpoint; that’s really cool 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Always wondered why I didn’t find I was sexually attracted, never understood the attitudes and behaviour of those with high libidos.
    Thanks for sharing. Asexuality is the unspoken… maybe hangover from the old ” Frigid” accusation… I’d like to think it came under the Q in LGBTIQ.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. without getting too much into your business, it sounds like your desire to please your partner paired with the challenges in doing so, would be best met by an increase in playfulness/foreplay– and just practicing those things as a couple– as you would practice anything new or just being learned (like math in school.)

    the understanding has to be that the practice is to get more accustomed to foreplay itself, and that it wont lead to sex every time. personally, i only had sex a few times last year. ive dated, but i dont like hookups and i only had a gf briefly. it can be frustrating to have foreplay that doesnt lead to sex, but (and this is important) if everybody knows theres a GOOD chance it wont lead to more– i would have very happily spent more time engaging in foreplay with the women i dated last year. in fact the first one i dated, there was nothing but foreplay and cuddling, and it was really good. maybe dedicate 2017 to a little more foreplay? with windows closed and fans off, or the breeze will be really annoying.

    you and i are opposites in this regard. i appreciate your situation– i dont know how i could relate to it really– for example, i hate dancing (a lot) more than getting a root canal. *shrug* but im very tactile and love to move in someones arms, especially while cuddling. i know hugs are intense for some on the spectrum and they are for me too, but for me its one intensity that destresses, rather than stresses. im rare even among those who are rare 🙂

    anyway, im not trying to miss the point here. asexuality is something i want to understand better (if only to cure it! but im not evil, and given what we have in common, i appreciate very much that not everything ought to be cured) lets just say that the reply is very well-intentioned, and should be ignored if its unhelpful. its written from one friend to another. cheers ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! They’re always welcome and always well received 😊❤️ I know what you mean, actually. I’m also a cuddler and a hugger. I do love touch; in fact, I crave it and thrive on it 😊 Sex gets a little…sticky and intense (in a sensory-assaulting way), which I, too, would like to be able to turn off or down at will sometimes! ❤️ I definitely like to be close to my closest people; I don’t have a hangup about personal space (not that I think there’s anything wrong with that, nor do I judge those who do!). I love spending time in my partner’s arms; he’s a bit less sentimental, which has caused (chronic) issues in our partnership. I think he might actually be an Aspie himself, although as much as I know him and as much as I know about Asperger’s, it’s actually pretty tough for me to tell lol 😊

      Thank you again for sharing your insight! I always love to read different points of view, even if (especially if) they’re different from my own! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. (You can tell I’m reading all your old posts, can’t you? 🙂 )

    I’ve known that I’m not keen on sex for a long time, I just didn’t have a word for it until a couple of years ago. I now identify as asexual, and non-binary as well – I’ve picked androgyne as the word that describes me best.
    I haven’t got a partner, for a number of reasons, and I’m very happy that way. That means I don’t have to negotiate who gets what sexwise. (Not saying one situation is better than the other, just to say that this is what happens in my life.)
    There have been discussions on AVEN (The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network) about whether being autistic and being asexual is somehow connected. Nobody knows, but there seems to be a lot of overlap between Aspies and Asexuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! I love your term “androgyne” – for some reason, it rings particularly beautifully to me 😊

      I’ve noticed the same thing – I’m not sure why it happens, but there definitely seems to be a strong connection.

      Isn’t it neat to discover the terms that describe what you’ve been feeling all along? If there’s a word for it, it means we’re not alone 😊

      That’s awesome that you’re combing the archives! Thank you! I really appreciate it 😊 I do the same on other people’s blogs; I might like and comment on a post they wrote in 2013 lol – I figure old posts need love, too 😉💖💖

      Like

      1. Your blog is amazingly helpful to me in my current situation, as are other blogs by people on the spectrum. I’m discovering more and more of them, and when I do, I read all the posts in chronological order, except I will read a new post if it catches my eye, until I’ve caught up with myself.
        I’ve been wary about commenting on old posts, I somehow think that it will annoy people. Don’t know how I got that impression, though. I can think of so much to say, maybe I should start my own blog instead of filling up the comment threads.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, absolutely! Please feel free to comment on any post you like 😊. And oh yes, it would be amazingly lovely if you started a blog! 👏🏼👏🏼. If/when you do, please feel free to put the link in one of the comments sections – you’ve got a sure follower here 😊❤️

          Like

    1. You’re very welcome, dear friend! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy it helped 😊. Indeed, there are many of us out there; you’re not weird, you’re not wrong, and you’re never totally alone 💜

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s