Sex on the Spectrum

April is generally considered ‘Autism Awareness’ month. I prefer Autism Acceptance.  I do not support Autism Speaks. I do not light it up blue. I am not a puzzle piece.

I thought for my second Monday Blog in April. I’d discuss another aspect of my life as an autistic adult.

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One of the greatest dangers that face an autistic adult is not having sufficient information to deal with adult issues.

I’ve noticed a trend where non-autistics tend to infantilize autistics as teens and adults. They treat us as though we’re incapable of making decisions and caring for ourselves. And that is definitely not accurate.

It can and often does lead to a number of issues as we grow up.

One of which is sex and sexuality. I can only speak for myself here and my experiences, though. As we always say, when you’ve met one autistic…you’ve met one autistic.

I grew up in a very sheltered environment. I was the adopted child of closed-minded Baptist missionaries. I didn’t even know autism exited until I was in my twenties. I knew I was different, but not why.

Being sheltered and undiagnosed led to a number of issues. One being a serious lack of knowledge about sex. This all happened before ‘googling’ was a thing. I had no access to information–and no idea I needed information.

That, to me, is the most dangerous thing.

All these instinctual things non-autistics seem to grasp.

I didn’t.

I had no idea how sex worked. How safe sex worked. I had no clue that there were different sexualities.

It seems ridiculous and incomprehensible, but it’s true.

Education is important. CRITICALLY important for autistics.

I had to learn the hard way. I had to educate myself. I made humiliating mistakes. My dating history is littered with bad decisions I could’ve avoided with a little knowledge.

And I’ve completely lost my train of thought. Thanks, Brain. I’ll end this post here.

Bonus round of unrelated yet related things I wish:

– Society didn’t mock adults looking for information that people consider ‘common sense.’

– People wouldn’t say ‘there’s no such thing as a stupid question’ without meaning it.

 

 

 

 

Thanks. No Thanks. Thanks.

April is generally considered ‘Autism Awareness’ month. I prefer Autism Acceptance.  I do not support Autism Speaks. I do not light it up blue. I am not a puzzle piece.

I thought for my first Monday Blog in April. I’d discuss an aspect of my life as an autistic adult.

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The above gif is an accurate representation of how I feel about my brain daily.

True story.

I’ve wanted to write this blog post for over a year but struggled to put my thoughts into coherent words. Something I deal with quite frequently as an autistic. An experience this week made me want to make an attempt yet again–so please forgive any rambling. I’m trying.

I am autistic.

I live in a world that isn’t designed for the neurally divergent.

Let’s be honest, the world was made for the neurally and physically abled person.

The older I get, the harder it becomes to mask my way through life. (If you’d like to learn more about autistic masking, Neurodivergent Rebel has a fantastic video on the subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZB38phQNzw)

And with masking becoming harder, it can be a battle to do specific tasks. All the author things I have to do with promo, talking to people, blogging, so many things. It can be overwhelming and some days impossible. I have days where I sit at my desk and stare at my to-do list for an hour without actually accomplishing a single item.

I get comfortable with people and routines, both of which help me climb these hurdlers within myself.

My life has been blessed with a core group of friends who go out of their way to help me…or at least not make my life more difficult.

The trouble is that I struggle with something that feels a bit like imposter syndrome. I know I need help. I don’t ask for it, but when I receive it.

I suddenly feel like I shouldn’t take the help. Like, I not only do I not need help. I don’t deserve it.

This past week offered a prime example.

My point of contact with my publisher is generally one of two people. As my publisher grows, more people are added to the mix. It causes me a lot of anxiety.

My beloved publisher graciously makes accommodations for me, so that I’m able to cope.

The downside of this brilliant kindness is that a negative internal conversation happens. I question myself. I don’t really need this help, do I? I can manage. I’ll be fine. I’m making their lives more difficult.

It’s toxic self-doubt.

I don’t know if many of my fellow autistics struggle with this.  I’m sure some must.

I do need help at times. I can manage, sometimes, but at what cost to my mental health and stress levels?

One of my goals this year was to be kinder to myself.

I don’t have to be extraordinary or superhuman to validate my existence as an autistic and person.

(This is one of my greatest issues with inspiration porn featuring extraordinary autistics with amazing gifts. It inspires non-autistics, but frequently leaves other autistics feeling as though they will never be enough just as they are.)

I’m trying to do better.

How do you handle accepting help when you need it?

Author Friends: Kitty Berry

Are you a panster or a plotter?
By “plotter” do you mean I get an idea while ironing my son’s clothes and jot it down in my notes folder on my phone? If so, then, yup, I’m a plotter!
 
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
Sure, I believe in it. I’m happy to say that I’ve never experienced it. That’s probably because I don’t get the chance to write that much. I work full-time as an early childhood specialist and write any and every chance I get.
 
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
Is this a no judge zone? Yeah? Okay, I’ll say it…Fifty Shades of Grey.
 
Describe your perfect writing space: 
Let me begin by saying that it would NOT include my husband and boys repeatedly calling my name! Other than that, I sort of have a perfect space in my office right now.
Three walls are painted taupe, the accent wall is a deep, burnt orange. My middle son hung book shelves from floor to ceiling on one wall for my collection and a I have a copy of each of my books in a lighted display case. I have a white desk and a white leather chair. My Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers and a small fan sit on the left corner of my desk right near my phone holder. My notebooks and mechanical pencils are the on right next to a box of tissues and a candle that I light for when I write. I’m planning on purchasing a new laptop soon, but it’ll sit right in the middle of my desk where my current one does now.
I have a navy-blue sofa against the accent wall with orange pillows and my hubs keeps a desk in there too.
 
Do you write your title first or story first?
I do my titles first. 
 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
The last text I received was from my oldest son. It read, “Eating at home tonight.” I will write you a flash fiction piece that features Damian Stone from The Stone Series.
 
“Remember the first meal we ate together?” Damian asks his wife and mother of his four children. “We used to eat at adult places back then.”
Sydney smirks as a blush covers her cheeks. “How could I ever forget,” she says. “You fed me then said that I was better than any dessert your restaurant served.”
“You fed mommy?” Pebbles Stone asks her father with an excited clap of her hands. “Is this another part of your love story? Tell us, tell us!” she begs. “You’re so romantic!”
“Yuck,” DJ sighs. “Don’t make mommy and daddy tell us another story about how much they love each other.”
“Caden Stone,” Sydney reprimands her oldest son with his given name. His nickname, DJ, short for Damian Jr., fits him so well, she often forgets it isn’t his name. “You should be happy that your mommy and daddy love each other as much as we do.”
Sydney shifts her youngest daughter Piper on her lap then reaches for her phone on the table as she sees it shake from an incoming text.
Damian: You know what I wish I were eating instead of this shitty, kid friendly, tasteless pizza at an overpriced arcade?
Sydney rolls her eyes at her husband then begins typing.
Sydney: HMMM…steak?
Damian: Very funny. No. YOU!
Sydney’s body heats as the waitress approaches the table.
“Can I get you something else?” she asks.
“No,” Damian says. “Just the bill, please.”
“But you didn’t eat” the waitress points at Damian’s clean plate.
“I’m eating at home tonight” Damian says with a raised eyebrow for his wife.
  
 
Links:
Facebook The Stone Series Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheStoneSeries/
Anatomy of Love (AOL Book 1): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MKL5D1
Dissection of Love (AOL Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075V6R3L5
Sutures of Love (AOL Book 3): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0776HYNMD
 
Kitty Berry Bio:
Kitty Berry is the author of The Stone Series and The Anatomy of Love Trilogy.
Kitty is an only child who never wished for a sibling and she openly admits that she’s a spoiled brat. She currently resides in the suburbs of Connecticut with her husband and three sons. During any given evening you can find Kitty curled up in bed reading.
She is the daughter of an avid reader, the “real” Kitty Berry. It was her late mother’s desire of becoming a writer that prompted Kitty to create the characters that she places in worlds of wealth, power, seduction, dominance and submission.
Kitty’s love for reading and discussing literature didn’t come to her until her late twenties. Angst-ridden romances always mesmerized Kitty and fast-paced entertaining mysteries as well as witty “chick lit” contributed to her desire to not only be a reader but also a writer. She recently found herself at a time in life when the busy balance of career and family made her crave an escape into the world of romance with an erotic twist. Multidimensional characters spurred on Kitty’s creative spark to write about seduction.
Kitty loves dark chocolate, music inspires her writing and she plans on enjoying life to its fullest as soon as she’s done driving carpools, attending youth basketball games, and coordinating the social lives of her three adolescent children who have way more fun than she does. 

Author Friends: Eva King

Are you a panster or a plotter?
 
I’m a pantser through and through. I cannot, for the life of me, plan a book in advance. Believe me, I’ve tried. But it was absolute shite.
 
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you kick its arse?
 
Yes, I do. I’ve suffered from it. You just stare at an empty, blank page for hours.
The only way I’ve managed to get over it was by stopping writing all together and read as much as I can. Then I try again after a couple of days.
 
What book is your comfort read on a bad day? The one you go back to reread over and over. 
 
Argh! Do I have to say? Right, okay… Twilight. I think I’ve read it about ten times. It isn’t a classic, but I see Stephenie Meyer as an inspiration. If she could do it, so could I.
 
Describe your perfect writing space: 
 
My perfect writing space would be an empty house for a whole day with no Wifi. Just me and my laptop. However, the chances of that happening are very slim, so I just use my mobile phone on the train as I make my way to work.
 
Do you write your title first or story first?
 
None of the above. I write the characters first. Everything else comes after.
 
And lastly, write a one or two paragraph flash fiction inspired by the last photo or text you got on your phone:
 

 

I needed this land, like I needed air. 
Filling my lungs with the fresh air, I imagined my children, running wild, climbing trees. Growing older and having their own kids.
The circle of life would happen right here, underneath my feet. 
I circled around and faced the realtor, “I want to buy this land. Can I sign the papers now?”
She beamed, “yes, of course.”
 
Author Links:
 

Recovering from a broken relationship, Emma Mitchell moves in with her best friend. Her life is quiet and uneventful, just how she likes it. Little does she know that the events of the following months will change her life forever.

Famous Hollywood actor James McNair is a renowned womaniser with a penchant for partying and hitting the tabloids for all the wrong reasons. When a night of partying a little too hard means he finally has to take stock and reevaluate his lifestyle, a week away from the flashing lights of Hollywood is just what he needs. What better place to hide than in his childhood home in Edinburgh, Scotland?

When the old friends are reunited, feelings resurface and sparks fly. But James must keep the pretence of his new persona until the premier of his biggest film in his career. He just has no idea if he’ll be able to keep his feelings for Emma under wraps until then.

Sometimes it takes more than damage control to find a happily ever after.

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