Healthy Autistic Sex Lives
This year, for “Autism Awareness Month”, I’m raising awareness about some of the wonderful parts of autistic life!
Alright, this post starts with a disclaimer: I do NOT speak for all autistic people. Some autistics hate touch, and some eschew romantic relationships or have no interest in sex – asexual and aromantic people are totally valid, autistic or not. That said, there are lots of autistic people who love sex and that’s what we’re talking about today: tips for healthy autistic sex lives.
Autistics can be quite good at sex if it’s a thing we like. Thanks to our neurology, we are capable of enjoying sex on levels that most NTs can barely imagine. We tend to be open-minded because we know that different sensory things work differently for different people. We’re often very open to discussing all kinds of sexual things because we see no reason it should be taboo – if you want to do it, you should be able to talk about it. And we can be utterly uninhibited in our enjoyment just as we would be with our stim dancing, fidgets, or any other sensory stimulation. Autistic sex can be awesome – so let’s look at some ways to make it as great as possible!
Consent and Safety
Just to cover the basics:
All parties involved should be enthusiastic about it. If anyone isn’t excited about the encounter – whether yourself or someone else – don’t do it.
Everyone should be tested for basically everything before and after each new partner.
If pregnancy is a possibility and you don’t want it to happen, always use birth control.
Condoms are not birth control, they are disease prevention and should always be used as well.
Find Out What You Like
Sex is a sensory activity and there are lots of sensory options to choose from. Maybe you really love the sensation of skin on skin, so you might enjoy giving and receiving massages during foreplay. Perhaps eye contact is still too much during sex and you prefer to keep the lights off or use blindfolds. There’s loads to explore, ways to incorporate every sense in a pleasurable way.
Some of this will look like kink and it might make you giggle and blush a bit at first. But think of it as just another stim or accommodation. The whole point is to make the sexual experience as enjoyable as possible for yourself and your partner(s). You need have no shame in any sensory stimulation you enjoy – whether that be soft touch, harder impacts, silk or satin sheets, hot or cold temperature play, using music or silence, or whatever sensory components make it good for you – as long as everyone involved is on the same page.
Find out what you enjoy, do it safely and responsibly, respect your partners’ limits, and have fun!
You Can Learn a Lot from the Kink Community
Another disclaimer: I am NOT saying that all sexually active autistics ought to be into kink!
But while we’re on the subject of safe and responsible sex and respecting people’s limits, I must point out that the kink community has a great model to follow. The kink community places a great emphasis on communication, boundaries, consent, and respect for all partners’ limits and comfort. Sometimes they even get it in writing.
If you feel better with some rules and codified parameters to your sexual encounters, you can follow this model whether you’re into kink or not!
You can always have a list of “hard no’s”, even if that list is more along the lines of “no tickling and no lights” instead of “no impact and no scat”. You can totally have a safeword or safesignal in case of sensory overload, even if you’re doing nothing kinkier than missionary-style vanilla sex.
Putting communication, boundaries, and consent at the forefront of sexual relationships makes for healthier sexual and romantic relationships in the long term, on top of making sure that everyone involved feels safe during your encounters.
There are people out there who believe that autistic adults can’t or shouldn’t have sex. They think we’re perpetual children, or that anyone who has sex with an autistic person is a predator, or that it’s disgusting for some reason, or that it’s “wrong” (usually without much explanation as to why). People will try to tell you that you have no right to a healthy, enjoyable sex life as a consenting adult.
If you like sex, and you do it safely, responsibly, and respectfully, it is 100% your right to enjoy it to the best of your ability! Making ableists uncomfortable is just a bonus!
Let’s have some adult conversation here – how does sensory stimulation play into your sex life? Have you ever had a potential partner refuse to have sex with you because you’re autistic? Do you think autistics are better at sex than NTs, or that we enjoy it more?