Autistic women and sex – pain, pleasure, and the power of knowledge and sex
"Researchers still find the idea of autistic women as sexual beings hard to accept, and still perpetuate misunderstandings about when, how and why we have sex." | Photo Credit: @Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock
Unveiling intimacy: the truth about Autistic women and sex – pain, pleasure, and the power of knowledge
Unlocking the realm of human intimacy, this article delves into the often overlooked domain of 'autistic women and sex.' In a world where misconceptions abound, Amy Gravino takes us on a journey through the experiences, challenges, and desires that intertwine within the lives of an Autistic woman. From the complexities of consent to the impact of limited sexual education, we navigate the unique landscape of relationships and self-discovery. Join us as she sheds light on a topic that demands understanding, compassion, and a fresh perspective – one that recognizes the potential for pleasure, pain, and the empowerment that arises from knowledge.
Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex
Imagining every detail:
I couldn’t find the words:
The researchers call for more studies on the victimization or abuse autistic women might experience and why we may be particularly vulnerable in certain situations. They acknowledge that abuse is often underreported by autistic people — but they do not mention that this may be because these women do not fully understand what abuse is or recognize they are being abused.
When my college boyfriend dumped me, he became verbally abusive. I felt that I needed to remain friends with him, and I did not have the confidence to end the friendship. In another instance, I began corresponding with the older brother of a boy I knew in college. What started as flirtatious sexual exchanges turned into him begging, pleading and harassing me to show him parts of my body. As time went on, I stopped wanting to do it but felt unbearably guilty for saying no. My self-esteem was low, and I believed that if I turned him down, no one would ever want me. It was more than a decade before I recognized these situations as abusive.
The researchers also fail to connect the idea that autistic women tend to be uninterested in sex with the finding that these women have many negative sexual experiences. Also, they spoke to only 135 autistic women. The results cannot — and should not — be indicative of the entire autistic female population.
We need researchers to better understand and address the intersection of autism and trauma and how unwanted sexual experiences shape and influence the attitudes of autistic women toward sex. They must also take great care in framing these conversations so as not to cast blame on autistic women for the unwanted sexual events they may experience.
I still think of the disappointment, the uncertainty and the ecstasy of my early sexual experiences. And I think about how different it all might have been if I had known more about sex and love.
As a society, we need to push past taboos and fear to have more frank, open — and yes, difficult — conversations about sex and sexuality.
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Autistic Women and Sex – Pain, Pleasure, and the Power of Knowledge and Sex was originally published on Spectrum , the leading site for autism research news, as Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex.
Amy Gravino, the author of "Autistic women and sex – pain, pleasure, and the power of knowledge and sex," is is an autism consultant and writer whose work focuses on sex and sexuality among autistic people. This article was originally published on Spectrum, the leading site for autism research news, as "Why it’s time to be honest about autistic women and sex."