Our Sex Life Was Far From Normal
Many people on the spectrum have sensory issues bright lights, loud noises, and even touch can be hard to them to handle. As a result, having intercourse can present challenges. My client often said that after spending the evening out with her ex, she would want to go straight to the bedroom but her partner would often insist on completing his thirty minute bedtime routine which killed the moment. Similarly, her partner had issues with initiation and she often complained of having sex in the same way. Any discussion of change would make him feel inadequate and impact his ability to perform. As a result, she felt she had to keeps her needs, desires, and sexual dissatisfaction a secret.
Dating: Tips For Autistic Teens And Adults
This is a guest post written by Lindsey Sterling, Ph.D. and;Siena Whitham, Ph.D.;Dr. Sterling;is a licensed clinical psychologist in Southern California, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of children, teens, and adults with ASD.;During now-completed;Autism Speaks predoctoral and NIH postdoctoral fellowships, Dr. Sterling deepened understanding of the physiology of anxiety in youth and adolescents with autism. Such research helps advance the development of tailored therapies.
Dr. Whitham;is a licensed psychologist working in Los Gatos, CA.; provides evaluation, treatment, and consultation to children, teens, and adults.;
A few years ago, we posted a piece on the Autism Speaks website, Ten Steps to Help a Teen with Autism Navigate Dating. This is such a pertinent topic, and perhaps equally if not more important for teens and adults themselves to have tips to navigate the complicated dating world.
The term dating means seeing someone with a purpose and being romantically involved with them. Dating activities are often the same as socializing with friends, but the persons thoughts and feelings differentiate dates from friendship. Often, people date with the hopes of establishing a committed relationship.
They Can Be Sensory Sensitive
The normal everyday hustle and bustle can be overwhelming to our loved ones with autism. Normal senses like;sight, sound, and taste can be jarring, frightening and painful. It is impossible to avoid all outside stimuli but understanding the discomfort they go through is a huge first step to loving someone with the condition.
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He Needed Recovery Timefrom Everything
My client used to quip that in order for her relationship to survive with her partner, she would need separate bedrooms and separate bathrooms. This way her partner could always feel like he had the freedom to leave, decompress, and recollect his energy without any interruptions. This may seem strange to a neurotypical as traditionally, married couples share bedrooms and sleep together but many have learned to accept that in a relationship with someone with ASD recovery time is necessary to keep their partner from becoming overstimulated and prevent a possible tantrum or meltdown.
Its important to remember that Autism Spectrum Disorder is a spectrum and no two cases of autism are identical, but there certainly are similarities. All relationships are frustrating and require hard work, but these challenges can be more pronounced in a courtship where one of more partners is simply not wired to inherently understand others and their feelings. The good news is the brain is plastic and over time new behaviors can be formed and people can learn how to better serve their partners.
Being Grateful For Autism
I didnt have my autism diagnosis when we fell in love, even though Aspergers Syndrome was suspected of me throughout my adolescence. For all he could tell, I was just a quirky, delightfully weird, studious nerd of a goth chick. He saw me as someone who;can speak and write eloquently, but who also hand flaps and stims when Im unaware.
For him, my autism diagnosis was probably an unexpected turn in our relationship; all he knew about autism before meeting me was the inaccurate stereotype portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man.”
Despite the stereotypes, autistics;are often affectionate, sexual, and quite capable of expressing empathy in our own ways. Being autistic isn’t a defect, it is another way of being.
In my own case, when Jason felt under the weather earlier this year, I spontaneously dropped by his place with a shopping bag full of over-the-counter remedies from the drugstore and his favorite Canada Dry ginger ale.;I encourage his music career and I even listen to his music on Spotify when I miss him. But when he takes me to a heavy metal concert, I have to take frequent breaks outside to help deal with my sensory overstimulation from the loud noise.
Like other autistics, I can ramble on and on and on about my favorite topics. I can be very socially awkward or reserved;even though Im not shy. Jason’s;parents adore me and they call me a genius. These are the moments, he’ll say to me, that he is grateful his girlfriend is autistic.;
Is Dating Someone With Autism Challenging
All relationships have their challenges because every person is an individual and has their own interests, pet peeves, and quirks. Dating someone with autism can bring unique challenges, given the features of this condition.
For example, autism is linked to rigidity, which means individuals with autism may have a hard time adjusting to changes in routine. Given their fixation on specific interests, people living with autism may also show a lack of interest in their partners hobbies.
Autism is also associated with difficulties with communication and social interaction. For example, individuals with autism may appear uninterested in conversation, as they tend to not main eye contact or to not look at people when they are speaking.
Other behaviors associated with autism include struggling with back and forth conversation, talking at length about ones own interests without giving others a chance to talk, or struggling to understand the perspectives of others.
Given these symptoms, dating someone with autism can be difficult, especially if you dont understand the answer to How do autistic adults behave? On the other hand, knowing about the symptoms of autism and how to respond to them can make autism relationships more successful.;
Related Reading:Does Your Spouse Display Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Things To Know About Dating & Autism
While autistic children are the majority recipients of special attention and early intervention programs, adults and teens can be overlookedespecially when it comes to developing and exploring romantic relationships. Just like neuro-typical adults, people on the spectrum also deal with the ups and downs of finding and keeping romantic partners and intimate relationships.
12 Tips For Dating Someone With Autism
Depending on your childs abilities, there may come a time when they want to explore dating. Below are some helpful tips you can share with someone who is interested in dating your son or daughter with autism . Of course, these are general tips and may need to be adjusted based on their specific needs and preferences, and some may not apply at all. Thats the beauty and challenge of the autism spectrum.
1. Dating people who are not on the spectrum is quite commonOne common misconception is that people with autism only want to date others who are also on the spectrum. This notion is completely untrue as they want to find someone to connect with that they can just be themselves around. After all, autism is a spectrum, so it could take a few dates for someone to even realize the person theyre with is autistic. Thats why it may be important to discuss this with anyone your child wants to have a relationship with.
Tip For Dating An Autistic Person The magic touch
Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Dealing With Differences In Communication
How To Date Someone On The Spectrum
The world of dating and relationships can be tough to navigate. It requires complex, often tedious work to communicate clearly, interpret signals effectively, and understand if your feelings are reciprocated. Because people with autism often have difficulty reading social cues, managing sensory needs, and expressing feelings, relationships that involve someone on the spectrum can be particularly challenging to navigate. But with the right perspective and approach, dually autistic or interabled couples can attain and sustain long-lasting, healthy connections.
Dont Label Them According To Their Disorder
Autism is referred to as Autism spectrum disorder for a reason. There is a range of different presentations of autism.
Some people may have severe communication deficits with autism, whereas others may just present as somewhat quirky with atypical interests.
Therefore, it is important that you avoid jumping to conclusions and assuming that because a person has autism, they will act in a specific way.;
Dont Spring Surprises On Her
With autism, you dont get overtaken with urges or impulses. Theyre muted. We eat the same thing for weeks and months on end. Inviting us for Indian food on less than 24 hours notice?
A spectrum girl isnt shy or timid. She doesnt need to be shown how to live in the moment. To her, your spontaneity just looks like youre disorganized, and dont know what you want. If youre interested in her, appeal to her sense of adventure. Give her time to think and plan. Dont ambush her with surprise trips, and then get all sulky when she says no.
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Dating An Autistic Man
Due to AS being an invisible condition many find an initial date very challenging work and very emotionally draining but if you understand they are coming from a different angle, and accept that, then dating can be fun. Never think of what others say about Autism as you can easily work around feelings. But you have to remember, that whilst you may need a cuddle he may need his distance.
Each date can bring new challenges so remember if he wants to talk about himself then let it flow. It may be hard to begin with but understanding that his social skills set is on a different level and learning all the little hidden identities are all part of the learning curve. Small talk may prove impossible but try to get on a subject that interests him and always try to be honest in a situation, and never brag or joke as it probably wont be appreciated.
Look For A Kindred Spirit
Supplied: Love On The Spectrum
In Love On The Spectrum, most of our lovebirds-in-waiting are trying their luck with other people also on the autism spectrum.
While there’s no rule that sharing a diagnosis is key to a successful relationship, it can help to have something so significant in common.
Paul was diagnosed as a youngster while for Rachel, like many women with ASD, it wasn’t picked up until adulthood.
“It wasn’t until years later that I was diagnosed as autistic, and I realised why I didn’t understand the differences he was trying to explain to me in those first few weeks,” Rachel says.
“It also explained why our relationship felt so ‘easy’ compared to other people. I had always known I was different, but I internalised that to mean there was something wrong with me or I wasn’t trying hard enough.”
Having similar experiences and a similar world view can help you find connection when you’re looking for a partner.
Also Check: What Is The Best Pet For An Autistic Child
Give Us Time To Process Small Or Big
After weve been together for a while and decisions may arise, whether it be something small like trying a new restaurant or something bigger such as getting married or moving in together, understand that transitions can often be difficult at first for us to comprehend. This isnt different for any human being on this planet. Sometimes transitions can tend to make us feel overloaded. Dont feel discouraged. If it works out and we both care for each other we will make it work.
Like autism, love doesn’t discriminate based on race, age, gender, religion, sexuality and disability.;
Love me for the person I am and Ill do the same with you.;
This guest post is by;Kerry Magro, a;motivational speaker,;best-selling author;whos on the autism spectrum. You can learn more about Kerry on;.
They Take Things Literally
Puns, nuances, metaphors, and idioms are too often lost and confusing to the autistic. Hold your horses, its a piece of cake, lets hit the road. We use these phrases every day without even realizing we have said them. However to our loved ones with autism they make language confusing and hard to understand. If you have ever read an Amelia Bedlia book, you will understand how confusing language can be without a point of reference.
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Understanding Your Boyfriend Better
Other Services At Open Doors Therapy
At our autism therapy clinic located in Palo Alto, we offer other services for those with high functioning autism, Aspbergers, and undiagnosed autism characteristics.; Due to the COVID- pandemic we are using online therapy. I offer services including individual counseling for teens and parents, adult counseling, and group therapy. If youre interested I also offer a wide range of social skills groups including neurodiverse working professionals, college students with autistic traits, gifted youth & caregivers, autistic adults, women who identify as neurodiverse, autistic teens transitioning to college , teens & caregivers, and a mothers group. Contact me today for your consultation.
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Learn Her Definition Of Spontaneity
Theres a difference between adventure and spontaneity. Someone on the spectrum has no trouble with one night stands, climbing mountains, or trespassing on haunted private property.
Theres just some decision making involved.
Most people on the spectrum cherish planning and organization. Ive had sex on a schedule for years now, and I love it.
Signs Of A Woman With High Functioning Autism:
An autistic woman prefers comfortable clothes to fashionable and beautiful – practicality first.
She does not spend time on an intricate hairstyle, limits it to simple combing, and often, she does not need make-up.
She may look eccentric without realizing it.
Her voice, behavioral skills, and appearance are more childish and do not correspond to real age.
Non-verbal functions are much more expressive than in men with autism.
She is lost in the awareness of her own self, taking others as a model and reproducing their behavior.
The favorite activity – escaping from reality into the imaginary world, which includes immersion in watching movies, reading books, and computer games.
She creates rules and follows them steadily: discipline, repeating order of activities, and systematic habits.
Her comfort zone is home or any place that can be controlled.
Learning About Each Other Never Stops Especially When Youre Dating On The Autism Spectrum
Lastly, learn about your autistic partners unique needs and honor them.;Common situations that may be challenging for your autistic partner include:
- Social settings: Many people with autism have a need for alone time and time to engage in their special interests. Crowds, family gatherings, or going out with a group of friends can feel overwhelming.;
- Group conversations: Many people with autism feel more at ease in 1-on-1 interactions. In group settings, it can be draining and tedious for an autistic person to make conversation and stay engaged. Robbing the autistic person of the joy of the interaction and getting to know someone.;
- Sensory sensitivities: Becoming overstimulated is common. Sometimes they dont even know it at a conscious level, but it dramatically impacts the way they feel and behave in certain situations. Sounds, textures, smells, vibrations can overwhelm their nervous system, especially if their senses had been assaulted earlier in the day. This can wear them down and drain them.;