Sexuality on the autism spectrum
Autistic adults have, in general, differences
in sexuality from the norm. Many more are asexual than in the average
population. It is believed that there is a slightly higher pecentage
of gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered autistics than in
the average population.
Bisexual or homosexual Aspies may find more potential
for sex and/or relationships in the gay community where there is
less emphasis on conformity. Girls and women who are autistic can
have more chance at success in relationships, generally speaking,
than men. This is due to differences in social requirements, where
a man is often expected to ask a girl for a date, rather than vice
Living in a society where long-time relationships
and starting a family are the norm it can be very hard for socially
inexperienced men with Asperger's to find a partner and some stay
away from dating for that reason.
Some of those on the autism spectrum are celibate
by choice, feeling that they are asexual, or that there are more
important things in life. Others have resigned themselves to celibacy
due to the fact that romantic or sexual relationships can be much
harder to find due to a misunderstanding of social skills and the
difficulty of finding a suitable partner.
Aspie/aspie couples are often more succesful than
aspie/neurotypical couples; yet this is not done often as aspie
gender ratios has a lot more diagnosed males than females. It is
thought that there is often underdiagnosis of females. Sexual feelings
may develop later than usual, and relationships can start in the
20s and 30s, rather than in teenage years, as for neurotypicals.
(source: Aspies for freedom wiki)
There are plenty of high quality sex/relationship
guides around, so this section is deliberately brief. The key to
learning from these guides is knowing that they are nearly always
written from the perspective of someone who has had personal success
or who has had success in teaching non-autistic people and who are
trying to teach specific things from particular perspectives.
This leads to many important things being glossed
over or not mentioned, and many unimportant things being included
or incorrectly emphasized in the guides. This in itself doesn't
mean that they are useless. In fact, if they were, the reputations
of the writers would suffer. Extracting useful information from
them can be difficult though, but not impossible. One good way to
achieve this is to read all the guides you can find and look for
Some regularly recurring themes in sex/relationship guides
• Self-respect and self-confidence
• Respecting your partner and potential partners
• Connecting with your partner, or rapport, which is very important
when meeting potential partners
• Communicating with with your partner, which involves negotiation
• Developing trust with your partner.
• How to fake the important things. This is not always necessary
or a good idea.
Here are some things rarely mentioned in guides that are particularly
relevant to autism spectrum people:
The courting process allows EITHER party to slow
the pace of the process down or quit at any time, but communicating
this can be difficult. Not communicating this properly can be destructive
to the relationship.
There is NO special protocol for initiating and
developing relationships that nobody told you about and that everyone
uses in secret.
This doesn't mean that there aren't protocols,
but that the protocols involve using the same rules and communication
methods used in the non-autistic world to do many of the things
mentioned above under "recurring themes". Also, the protocols
vary wildly depending on the partners and situations involved.
These communications are nearly always played
out when both partners are in plot mode and playing the social status
game as best as they possibly can. Some guides refer to this as
"turning the brain off", or "animal instinct",
if they refer to it at all.
Some autie-to-autie relationships have developed
successfully almost entirely outside of 'plot' mode, but these are
usually clumsy events. Even so, they are often more rewarding relationships
than autie-to-non-autie relationships.
Everybody has quirks in their sexual preferences, and it is usually
possible for lovers to negotiate the ones that cause no harm. This
is more true for stronger relationships.
Men and women
Men and women both enjoy sex and love, but men
tend to "fall in love" with the ones they "sexualize",
and women tend to sexualize the ones they fall in love with.
Since men want sex from relationships, they often
try to be, or appear to be more loving to attract sexier women.
Since women want love from relationships, they
often try to be or appear to be sexier to attract the most loving
and supporting men.
The idea in both cases is for each partner to
give the other what they want in order to receive what they want.
Just as there are men who make a practice of one
night stands for the purpose of acquiring sex from many women, there
are women who make a practice of one night stands for the purpose
of acquiring love from many men.
These men and women can be destructive to the
self esteem of non-autistic people in general and devastating to
autism spectrum people. This doesn't necessarily mean that they
should be avoided or that all people who behave like them are like
The trick to understanding these men and women
is knowing that they go for "unattainable" people. Many
of the rules regarding discretion and promiscuity are designed to
weed such men and women out. In my personal experience, autism spectrum people can be caught out by such rules when meeting people.
Men tend to want to be respected, but women tend
to want to be cherished.
Going for the less attractive potential partner
is NOT a good way to improve your chances.
o The relationship between partners typically does NOT change in
the bedroom. If it does, rapport either deepens or the relationship
changes for the worse.
In many ways, the social interactions between
partners outside of the bedroom can be considered practice for inside.
This may be why figuring out "what kind of a person" someone
is is such a popular pastime.
Where to meet potential partners
To attract someones takes exposure. Where ever
you are, to get a person to like you and to spend time with you
will take time and work getting to know one another. That is why
most places where people meet are where men and women frequent automatically
because they don't have a choice. Women have no choice about going
to work. The work place is the number one area where people meet
often. Everyone has to work. Even the most beautiful women have
to make a living somehow. They go to work and they have to talk
to the people that are there. At work you will encounter women as
you carry on with the tasks of the day. This section is more focused
on men as they still tend to be in the initators, or are expected
to be, in starting relationships. This brings us to the number one
spot to meet women:
Statistics show that some 70 percent of married
people got together at work. The key ingredients are time, getting
to know each other and similar interests. Women search for men with
similar talents to their own and none of the flaws in what is called
compatibility. We all have flaws, but we try to limit those by meeting
a person with different flaws of our own. When it comes to aptitudes
and natural talents women look for men similar to themselves. This
insured the dissolution of bad genes and concentration of good genes.
At the same work place people tend to have similarities in their
abilities, especially when is comes to the same lines of work. Combined
with time and the opportunity to get to thoroughly know one another,
the right people automatically click together. That is why it's
so important to work at something you are good at and really enjoy.
Church is supposed to be a spiritual place and
not a dating service and yet it's a known fact that a lot of people
meet and get married through church. The kind of church to join
is one with similar background to yourself as well as your faith.
The more similar people are the more chances there are for compatibility.
Even in one denomination there are different locations. Join the
one with people the most similar to yourself. The more you like
the people there the more you will be eager to help out and as a
result you will get noticed.
Studies show that people build special emotional
bonds at an early age. The girls you have met in high school, especially
near the age of sixteen usually will have a special memory of you.
People were not meant to get married and have kids as late as they
do it today's day and age. In the old times, girls used to get pregnant
in their teens. Nature equipped girls with a special imprinting
during those early years. Keep in touch with a girl you knew in
high school. She probably has deeper feelings for you than you knew.
Needless to say, every group has their own spots
they like to hang out at. It's different for every group of friends,
but the facts are that a lot of people meet through a friend or
a friend of a friend. It could be a buddies ex or a friend of your
ex girlfriends friend, whatever the case. Most people consider it
immoral to date your friends ex girlfriends, but look at it this
way, statistically most people end up doing it anyway. Just don't
hit on your friends current girlfriend or somebody that he is currently
dating. Chances are she is more interested in him, and in this case
jeopardizing the relationship is more than it's worth.
The way to get access to your buddies girls is
to be facilitating with you own female friends. This does two things.
It makes you popular with the ladies because they want to meet guys
just as much as we want them. Second, it gets your buddy to be less
possessive. When he's involved with someone, she's not going to
like him being jealous over someone else. This is when all of his
female contacts become fair game.
Gym memberships are increasing world wide. However,
it's not in the gym or the wait room where couples tend to meet.
Instead consider joining a team that gets together once or twice
a week on a regular basis. Good sports are volleyball, soccer and
frisbee. These are usually stand alone organizations you just have
to find them. The idea is that team sports set the tone for interaction.
Also, body smell such as from sweating during physical activity
helps females determine genetic compatibility from pheromones and
Androstenone smell. To recap, yes most successful marriages do start
off in the work place or from the high school years. However, with
the right ingredients of time, compatibility and interaction other
places could be an opportunity for meeting women as well.
As with work, everyone has to go to the grocery
store or supermarket. Again, this includes even the most beautiful
women. One advantage of supermarkets is that single men and women,
as well as single parents, must shop there. Also, visits to the
supermarket are likely to be very frequent, as frequent as for example
going to church services. It is thus possible to meet and get to
know men or women by regularly visiting your local supermarket.
In the UK, Sainsbury's stores are particularly good for meeting
So can you meet a woman just about anywhere? Successful
pickups have happened at bars, clubs, coffee shops, mall, elevator
you name it. It's not a question of getting a date. To find the
right woman takes time with her and getting to know her. Meanwhile,
all those other places are great practice.
If you have reached this "level of development"
and you still find this information useful, you may be focusing
too much on detail and not enough on plot.
These rules may have cultural and situational
biases. In general, they should be applicable in at least the UK
and Australia in situations where you meet someone you may never
"Making a move" is when one person starts
flirting with another during a conversation.
A chatup is when the other person flirts back.
How does one know exactly when a move has been
knocked back? This isn't always obvious. If nothing happens, she/he
may be deciding whether to accept or how to not offend. Alternately,
they may not have noticed the move.
What behaviors become appropriate once a chatup starts?
Smiling and good eye contact. These are also flirtatious
behaviors but can appear creepy if not returned.
Focusing only on the partners face, the things they say and the
things they pay attention to.
Touching is possibly best left to the woman to initiate and this
doesn't mean that the man should start touching too, nor indeed
that it is wrong for a man to do so.
Asking more personal questions that may otherwise appear creepy
such as where someone is going or where someone is from.
Subtlety in flirting is more complex but necessary. Being subtle
hides the proceedings from public scrutiny. This is showing respect
for your partner and it is important in knockbacks too.
Showing respect for ones partners lessens the
chance that other potential partners will be put off.
Asking for a woman's number becomes permissible
after you both have a sense of rapport and are talking comfortably.
Towards the end of the conversation is best.
Saying something like "it would be nice to
talk to you again" or "would you like to go out with me
some time?" is better than asking in a way that sounds pushy
such as taking out the phone and asking "what's your number"?
Never suggest a time/date when asking this question.
It makes it too easy for them to knock you back indecisively by
saying they're doing something then.
It is usually bad form to let a woman whose number
you've just taken see you taking another woman's number.
When things get intimate
If a person asks "do you want to come back
to my place" it usually means for sex though if it does, there
are no guarantees that it will happen.
If you want to do so, smile and give a definite
positive answer such as "yes" or "sure". A negative
or hesitant answer is always offensive.
The actual act of asking this question is more
of a risky social endeavor than a positive answer so long as the
answer isn't over enthusiastic and a negative answer is a more risky
social endeavor than a positive one so don't feel embarrassed in
answering positively. They will probably be relieved and pleased
if you do.
Guys sometimes ask this question of women, but
it is a bad idea for an aspie male.
By making potential partners jump over all these
hurdles, people are often trying to avoid retribution from competitors
and also short term relationships in which only their partner benefits.
Some good relationship/sex guides and resources
The Lovers Guide, Dr Andrew Stanway,
video and book series. Besides offering high quality advice on many
subjects, it is a rather high quality piece of pornography. Suitable
for males, females and couples.
Dial a Woman/Dial a Man, Rosalind Neville,
books. Written by someone who runs a relationship agency and who
listens to women talking about all the mistakes their men make.
Adam Perry, various magazine articles. A man who
slept with 3000 women in 15 years and who now teaches sex education
in UK schools.
Sex Tips for Geeks, Eric S Raymond. Written
by someone who has known autism spectrum males and their problems
for a long while. Even this guide has usability problems.
SIRC guide to flirting. Fairly self explanatory really.
A little sparse on reasoning, but strong on basics.
Speed Seduction, Ross Jeffries. Written by someone who
is in the seduction community. Probably a good example of a guide
to avoid, but it's still possible to learn a lot from these things.
Wikipedia: Category:Human_sexuality; w:Human_sexual_behavior;
Dating with Women.
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the
Free Documentation and is adapted from an article called A Survival
Guide for People Living on the Autism Spectrum. Click here
to read the full publication at WikiBooks.
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home page to view the full range of autism fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
Click here to
read personal stories by adults with Asperger's syndrome.