I’ve been learning an awful lot about myself over the past few months, reaching all the way back to my youth, and chiefly among these revelations has been that I’m autistic and have ADHD.
It honestly explains an awful lot, from my hyper-fixations on new favourite things (be it roller derby through the early 2010s, or even my blog), to my major sensory struggles with sound that make most shopping trips and parties (and outtings in general) extremely overwhelming and anxious experiences for me, or even the little details of needing to carry a towel with me for hours after a shower due to how my hair feels, and how I need to change my clothes a few times a day in the summer thanks to sweat and damp fabric giving me the bad body feels. And that’s honestly just scratching the surface!
In fact, I could write an entire post on how frustrated and sad I am about spending most of my life thinking I was lazy, broken, pathetic, and an unenjoyable person to live with or be around, when in actuality none of that was true and I’ve gone a lifetime without the supports and understanding that I’ve really needed!
This is a sex blog though. So, I thought I’d instead focus on the experiences, growth, and lessons I’ve learned as an autistic queer navigating sex, sexuality, and intimacy. Because there’s been a lot! Honestly, sex in general is kinda a lot, like, on a basic physical level, and that’s not even counting all the overwhelming social navigation and expectations and stuff surrounding it too.
But yeah, here’s a bunch of thoughts on all this:
Lights and Sounds
I’ve written pretty extensively about attending and hosting sex parties and orgies, but one of the things I didn’t touch on much was how little I’ve actually participated in them myself over the last couple of years.
While the concept of larger scale group sex is very exciting, oftentimes I found it near impossible to become sexually aroused due to the sheer amount of overstimulation and stress of it all. Between the sounds of everyone else screaming and moaning, the music, the spanking and kinky play noises, as well as all of the conversations between those not actively having sex, more often than not if I did do anything at an orgy it was with just a couple others in more solitary areas at these events.
Of course there were a couple of exceptions that provided just the right combination of environment and participants, which made me feel comfortable enough engaging in sexual activity in more open spaces around around more folks. But by and large I mostly attended and organized these things for others. What I got out of them most was some casual, social nudism, a safe and inclusive space to swim, and the chance to feel desirable among people who generally didn’t misgender me or see me as “a man”. But in terms of really getting down at these, I often struggled with severe anxiety, insecurity, and sensory issues that kept my housecoat on and my hands to myself.
I now know that in order for me to feel most comfortable and sexiest at intimate gatherings, especially group based ones, I need them to be smaller, tremendously gay, and almost exclusively made up of my people.
This also extends to my daily sex life too in a lot of ways. Especially in regard to temperature! Generally speaking I don’t do well with sweat and feeling “damp” around my body, especially my hair and back, so, during the summer I’m far more likely to seem distracted or anxious during sexy times. It’s almost entirely due to sensory issues, but it’s something that can really take me out of the moment and unfortunately this has occasionally upset past partners or lovers of mine who read into it without communicating with me about it.
Zoning Out & Getting Anxious About it
I admit that at times I can certainly seem “out of it”, “distracted”, or even “disinterested” during sex. It was always frustrating to me because while, yes, my attention can shift quite a lot from moment to moment at the best of times, I’m not disinterested in sex or the people I have it with! There are just times when I struggle with distraction and if I have a lot on my mind, or I’m feeling anxious about something, that can often translate to me staring off or seeming like I’m super focused on one very particular thing that I’m doing.
One of the ways this might exhibit in me is that I may suddenly seem really quiet, non-expressive, reserved, or like I’m just going along with whatever the other person wants rather than responsively engaging in whatever sexual activities are going on. I’m still enjoying myself though, even if it may not seem so! It’s mostly just that I’m having trouble processing something, be it internal or external and there’s nothing bad about that! It doesn’t mean I’m incapable of sharing intimate pleasure with others. If I only had sex when I was completely focused, not distracted, and with the most perfect sensory environment, then I’d simply never have it.
Fact is that all sorts of things can make me seem zoned out. Maybe it’s the sound of the dryer in the basement, or, the heat in the house making me feel physically uncomfortable about the feeling of my sweat dripping down my forehead and back, or, me struggling to find a position that feels “right”, or really not jiving with the sensations of a particular blanket on my skin… hell, maybe I’m just completely absorbed in thinking about my schedule for the next few days and nothing can truly pull me away from that. Not even getting a really good blowjob!
Basically there are a plethora of things that can really pull me out of the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in that moment, and it surely doesn’t mean I’m not interested in sex with my partners and friends. As an autistic person with ADHD, anxiety, and depression, I’m just gonna naturally seem hyper, absentminded, or maybe even a bit fatigued!
In the past I’ve had ex-partners become frustrated or angry at me about this, telling me that they don’t feel connected or like I’m invested in a intimate relationship with them. Which was always really sad and confusing to me, but I didn’t have the insight and understanding of myself that I have now to explain what was going on. Now I do though!
I just need a little understanding, patience, and trust to foster a vulnerable and intimate space wherein I feel most comfortable expressing what I may be experiencing at the time. And I need partners and play friends who respect and are understanding of my mental health needs.
I Love and Accept Myself, and Deserve Partners Who Do Too
I want to make it clear here though that I’m not apologizing for any of these things! Nor am I saying that I feel I need to change anything about myself in these regards. I am who I am, I’m autistic and have intense ADHD and these are some of the ways that I experience that in my intimate relationships. All of this isn’t meant to change anyone’s mind about me, or to shame myself about it in any way. In fact, this post is mostly about how I’m starting to understand and express myself more openly.
I have no intentions of stressing about masking any of this in order to please or fulfill others, and should I encounter people who have issues with these things things then I don’t intend on continuing those bonds. Instead, I promise myself to wholly centre the right people for me who will love, accept, and want me for who I am, as I am. Not some other version of me that they want and expect me to be.
So, if you are autistic and your partner(s), lover(s), or whoever you’ve been intimate with is making you feel guilty, or bad about yourself, making you feel that you need to mask and/or change for them, please be sure to take care of yourself.
Because honestly, it’s not you, it’s them! Being autistic doesn’t make you unfulfilling or burdensome, it makes you adorable, thoughtful, creative, entertaining, and exciting! I hope that you are able to advocate for yourself however you need to in order to find the connections you deserve as well.