Autism and sexual desire

I wondered wether there’s something in being on the autism spectrum and having reduced sexual desire-not come across anything in my reading yet so wondered what people’s experiences are? Oh and asking as a woman too. Thanks

Parents
  • There is conflicting research in this area. Some studies suggest autistic men are more likely to experience enhanced sexual desire compared to neurotypical men (using frequency of masterbation as a proxy for libido) and that for women sexual desire is about the same as neurotypicals but less often translates into a desire for sex. 10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.4/dschoettle Other studies suggest autistic people have on average less sexual desire but are more likely to experience the extremes of high or low sexual desire than neurotypicals. 10.1371/journal.pone.0087961

    One study in particular suggests autistic men experience above neurotypical sexual desire and autistic women experience below neurotypical sexual desire 10.1007/s10803-019-04204-9 (behind a pay wall) However this study also reports that 44% of the autistic women in the study self identified as lesbian (much higher than the 1st study and higher than their neurotypical control). The mean age of participants was in the early 20s and recruitment was by internet adverts and ‘word of mouth.’ In short I’m not convinced their sample was representative.

    More generally I’m really wary of past attempts to characterise autistic people as asexual. It’s been used to infantilise autistic people before. It also creates problems for autistic people who are highly sexual. People may erroneously assert ‘well you’re too sexual to be autistic.’ Or say ’you can’t be autistic people you have a girlfriend / boyfriend or because you go around having casual sex.’ etc. Autistic people are hugely diverse and the one thing I think I can assert is we often tend to gravitate to extremes. So I find the 2nd studies finding that autistic people are more likely to be much more or much less interested in sex to be the one that rings truest to me and my personal experience.

  • I used to edit a magazine for alternative lifestyles - the thing I noticed with high-functioning auties and aspies is 'there are no limits'.    If you can think of it, and it's fun, and everyone enjoys the experience, then why not?    Lots of 'exploring the limits of sensation' stuff.

  • I beg to differ for this autie at least.

  • It's not universal - but surprisingly common.

  • How can people who struggle to actually even talk to other people or hate it when they are touched by strangers in general be running about naked sleeping with anything that moves. Doesn't make sense.  Doesn't add up to me. As Victor Meldrew would say, "I don't believe it!" Slight smile

Reply
  • How can people who struggle to actually even talk to other people or hate it when they are touched by strangers in general be running about naked sleeping with anything that moves. Doesn't make sense.  Doesn't add up to me. As Victor Meldrew would say, "I don't believe it!" Slight smile

Children
  • It's very rarely running around naked and sleeping with anything that moves..  Smiley

    Quite a lot explore the bdsm scene - it's all about control and perfection and protocol.  

  • I have had a very varied sex life but it is more intimacy that I struggle to deal with. I can't really be loving. I can act sexy and alluring as that is more theatrical anyway - nobody is constantly sexual, not even Nigella Lawson - but intimacy requires a genuine type of feeling hat I think is unreachable for me. I can try but I feel uncomfortable very quickly. 

    I'm probably a really frustrating wife!!! 

  • i can never work out if Nigella is doing that deliberately or not

  • I met her in person at a book signing and she didn't say anything sexy so I'd guess it is definitely deliberate. 

  • Her whole shtick is an act - it's what gets her on tv and sells her books   

    Toyah is doing a similar thing right now - brilliantly - Sunday's song was Ace Of Spades - while she dances in the kitchen dressed as a French maid.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4WYG26xZ_w

    Sex sells - it's incredibly easy to get headlines and generate clicks for income.     

    Anyone remember Sue Wilkinson's "You Gotta Be a Hustler If You Want To Get On"?   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT0T6ErJEJU   it pretty much describes the internet generation.  Smiley

  • It's posable to feel overwhelmed by something and not hate it. Not all autistic people are super touch sensitive and even for those who are there is good and bad touch. As for conversation I quite enjoy meeting new people, sure it makes me very anxious sometimes but when it goes right the pay off is worth it. It's all about context and control. Also few people say, go to an orgy, say 'lets bang.' and start having sex with a total stranger. Even if you were to pick some one up in a bar you'd get to know them a little first, establish a degree of rapour.

    There can be a big difference between going in for a polite handshake then they pull you in for a hug with someone you've just met and with some one you've been talking to for half an hour. I guess what I'm saying is sometimes people click.

  • Also few people say, go to an orgy, say 'lets bang.' and start having sex with a total stranger.

    That's really not how it works Smiley    I know a few people who have tried to arrange them and it's difficult to get men to turn up - and to perform in front of each other..

    I don't really want to push the boundaries of this website's rules - but the swinging scene is rather middle-class - very civilised - very safe - if you're into that sort of thing.  Smiley

    There's lots of ways to get around touch or skin sensitivity - which is a whole subject in itself - and probably too frank for this forum.  Smiley

  • 'Night People' by John Cooper Clarke.

  • I relate to this alot. I hear the common categories are asexual, bi, poly for many on the spectrum according to Sarah Hendricks (great spokesperson for Natl Autistic Society)...she's got a great video on Youtube.

    Do you feel like pressure/stress in your life affects this? I know I do. Or maybe you can be intimate, but your needs for this are very minimal to be happy? Maybe intimacy makes you uncomfortable/smothered? My intimacy needs/wants change & I wonder if just like going mute/shutdown...there are people who just go 'asexual' for a little while. 

  • damn shes good, well done Nigella  Reel them in.