May 08, 2020
You’re reading Sex Diaries, a HuffPost UK Personal series about how we are (or aren’t) having sex. To share your story, get in touch on ukpersonal@huffpost.com
When You Have Autism, Consent And Communication During Sex Is Even More Complicated
Read any advice on improving your sex life, from Cosmo columns to online how-tos, and the first thing you’ll see will be about the value of communication. It is incredibly important – but when you are autistic like me, it’s not always so simple. 
While autism affects every person differently, difficulty with communication is one of the most unifying experiences. I used to be anxious about whether I was reading body language, facial expressions and those subtle nuanced changes, and worry about whether or not I was interpreting things correctly. As a result, I became nervous not only about sex, but about any situation which might lead to it – from nights out with Friends to casual dates. 
At one point, I actually swore off sex forever, resigning myself to spinsterhood. I was 20 and being slightly melodramatic, but the reality was that I could not envisage being calm enough about sex to consider being intimate with someone. I’ve had plenty of social mishaps and awkward moments derived from me not understanding the tone or subtle social nuances – but when it comes to intimate relationships, where both you and your partners are vulnerable with each other, those miscommunications can mean greater ramifications. When friend would recount their experiences flirting and getting off with strangers, I would sit there confused as to how they even knew other people were interested.Not having exciting sexual escapades during my first few years at university was isolating. While my friends at university were enjoying the freedom that comes with not living with your parents, I was sat at home alone. When they would recount their experiences flirting and getting off with strangers, I would sit there confused as to how they even knew that other people were interested.
To try and counter this, I make it clear to partners from the start that I’m autistic and that I can need clear directions – vague flirting and an expectation to read body language is more likely to stress me out than turn me on. For some, this might sound like the most unsexy thing in the world, but it doesn’t seem to be for me and potential partners – if anything we are reassured each of us feels safe enough to even have that discussion.
When I came out as a lesbian at fourteen I became the go-to person to ask about sex, queer or otherwise. For some reason, that came with an assumption that I was a font of all knowledge when it came to things like scissoring and how to flirt with Women (oh, how I wish that were true). As a result, I have always been fairly clued up about sex and where to find information about it. That being said, there’s been a lot of trial and error to get to this point. There have been times where partners and I caused inadvertent (but never serious) harm to one another, caused physical pain, or frankly just did not enjoy the sex we were having.
In spite of this, I had found almost nothing about sex and disability. Even now, years later, so little has been written on autistic people and how we have sex – even by autistic people ourselves – that you might be fooled into thinking we were not doing it at all. As a queer disabled girl, I never received any sex education that would be relevant to me, and was forced me to find out things for myself.That’s because autistic folks, like many disabled people, are seen as wholly non-sexual. Disabled people are seen as undateable, and those of us with autism as heartless or empathetic. As a queer disabled girl, I never received any sex education that would be relevant to me, and was forced me to find out things for myself – through both theoretical and let’s just say more practical research. It was incredibly difficult, but being forced to find these things out for myself meant that I was better educated than my peers. I’m more empowered and able to articulate what I want and need with clarity and confidence as a result.
Still, I would not want this for others. In hindsight, I was at a lot of risk. I was never taught about navigating boundaries, taught about how to know people’s intentions, even taught about my own safety and communicating my own needs. There’s little data on the subject, but what we do have indicates that autistic people are at higher risk of being victims of Sexual Abuse.
Sex and disability is still a topic society has not learned how to discuss. Even now, writing this piece, I know there will be people perturbed by the idea of disabled people having sex. That risks the safety and enjoyment of many different people who at could be deprived of the sex life they desire and at worst be put at risk of abuse.
Communication is, after all, a two-way street. The struggles autistic people like me might have are as much about people not knowing how to communicate with us as it is us struggling to communicate with them.
Ellen Jones is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter at @ellen__jonesMore Sex Diaries from HuffPost UK Personal Sex Is My Outlet In Times Of Stress. But Lockdown Means I Can’t Get Any I Hated The Idea Of Scheduled Sex. But It Might Have Saved My Relationship This Is How Anxiety And Panic Attacks Have Changed My Sex Life
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Cinematographer Carmen Cabana Breaks Down 'High Fidelity' Scenes
July 09, 2020
o4eLyM3jq4k
'Perry Mason' Star Tatiana Maslany Talks Playing Sister Alice on the HBO Show
July 09, 2020
ogJwvnsdqtM
Garcelle Beauvais Breaks Down 'RHOBH' Denise Richards Drama, Fighting for Equal Pay in Hollywood
July 09, 2020
NSjWV5_hSbg
Kanye's Drake Obsession, Chrisley Calls It Off & Johnny's Pot
July 09, 2020
oe-Lnx3Oa9o
Addison Rae Apologizes for Posting Anti-BLM Video
July 09, 2020
lladIjxAQ4Y
Simone Biles & Boyfriend Break Up After 3 Years | E! News
July 09, 2020
XqNDrAnkHwo
Who is Ryan Seacrest dating next? | Page Six Celebrity News
July 09, 2020
qx32TwANLc0
The ‘Glee’ curse: Is Naya Rivera the latest victim in show’s tragic history? | Page Six News
July 09, 2020
ktZKEmY-oEo
New mom Shay Mitchell on 'Pretty Little Liars' cast | Page Six Celebrity News
July 09, 2020
IOh0FZqxuzw
50 Cent Throws Table & Chairs During Fight In New Jersey | TMZ
July 09, 2020
AtywwZ4rB5U
Ex-'Supermarket Sweep' Host David Ruprecht Could Be Reboot Announcer | TMZ
July 09, 2020
75daBnfF4-U
Vauhxx Booker Says The FBI Deciding To Investigate Is More About Public Pressure Than justice | TMZ
July 09, 2020
rbufJ-jTcfg
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Manchester United
09
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Inter Milan
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Tottenham Hotspur
09
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Sevilla
09
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Mallorca - Levante
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Southampton
09
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Eibar - Leganes
09
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Udinese
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
08
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Newcastle United
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Napoli
07
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Juventus
07
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Atletico Madrid
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Leicester City
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Chelsea
06
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Everton
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Roma
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Manchester City
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Barcelona
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Aston Villa
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Bologna
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid
04
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Watford
04
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Arsenal
04
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
04
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Bournemouth
04
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Torino
03
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Mallorca
02
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
02
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Tottenham Hotspur
02
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Udinese
02
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Getafe
02
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Napoli
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM 5NeCb7JxaRk
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.