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
  • Just popping back to this thread with a related thought. 

    My own experience has been of heightened or even excess desire and it's occurred to me that this drive may well have been linked to a need to self regulate, dissipate nervous energy and get close to another human being without having to engage in what I often see as excruciatingly embarrassing small talk.  

    Is it possible to somehow hide behind sex (as part of a mask and an avoidance strategy) and, at the same time, use it as more of a stim?  I'm not sure I actually think about sex in the same way as others do, although I could be wrong.    

    Am I in a minority with this?

  • It's valid and understandable.  I may be one of the autistic male 'horn dogs' mentioned above; it's true when I have been in relationships (not much of my life), I've had more frequent (and probably more intense) desire for intercourse than my girlfriend. Reading one psychological study recently makes me think I'm borderline hypersexual:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789215/

    If I had sufficient social skills for frequent casual sex, I'm sure I'd find it a short cut to intimacy and relief without social complications. ( I have actually found that relationships can then follow on and I don't want to miss that opportunity or the sex; an emotional intimate relationship before sex is practically impossible for me, but one fun date before getting physical doesn't stress me beyond tolerance.)

    So @NAS72060, research into autism and sexuality is sparse and conflicting, but it definitely seems like more autistic people are asexual/ace or demisexual than you'd expect from the population as a whole, and particularly autistic women and non-binary people.  So if you mix with more autistic women, you'll probably find people with low sexual desire who finds other interests far more important.

    On the other hand, it also looks like more autistic people, particularly autistic men, are hypersexual (in terms of desire although very often not activity with partners). It's just one of many areas in which autistic people can find themselves at either extreme.

  • Ah, it is, of course, the female hypersexuality that bother me.  Within our culture it seems to go against the grain and attract lots of criticism. 

Reply Children
  • I would have hoped those double standards had been long buried by now.  I would make no sense to me that a woman who sleeps with someone different every night is doing anything 'wrong' or a lesser person.  If it's enjoyable and safe, it's surely a good thing... but it sounds like for you it didn't fulfil your other needs.

    I do relate to what you say about sexuality as 'a kind of mind control drug', although it is eliminated from the bloodstream more gradually for middle-aged men. The urge didn't really feel part of me from teenage years, rather that it was a kind of control from the outside making me spend time thinking about stuff I really wouldn't otherwise.  Male hypersexuality without an outlet can be depressing.

  • I find it quite unsettling really, the way in which my thoughts, feelings, behaviours and my very sense of self altered with the menopause.  Upsetting too, because it felt as though what I'd thought were personal, autonomous choices (ludicrous though many of them turned out to be) were actually all down to hormone levels in my bloodstream.  Well, combined with my very neurodivergent ways of expressing these.  

    In a way, it felt as though I was returning to my true self - the 10 year old who thought that sex acts described by my classmates were just too ridiculous to be true.  That bit felt like a homecoming But oh, those years of lusting and acting out!  I wish I could erase some of them because they were damaging to myself and others.