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.

giphy-5

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.

giphy-downsized (2)

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?

Lessons from a Hurricane.

(photo from 2004)

In 1998, I had the misfortune of being in the Dominican Republic when Hurricane George (Georges) went through.  I also lived in Jacksonville, FL in 2004 when two different hurricanes sideswiped the city, though neither were direct hits. I’ve learned a few lessons from all three experiences.  With Irma closing in, I was reminded of those experiences.

Just a few serious (and not so serious) things I can tell you about hurricanes:

  1. Ants can float for up to fifteen minutes in flood waters. I once walked through a floating colony of fire ants. Oh. The pain. 
  2. Hurricane parties are the best. Breakfast cooked over a mini grill is surprisingly good as well.
  3. Power outages suck–and not in a good way.
  4. ALWAYS have a backup of your writing on a thumbdrive.  It’s easy to put in your pocket.
  5. Keep all important documents and a change of clothes, your meds, anything else small in a water proof plastic container.
  6. Never. EVER. EVER. leave your pets behind. If you evacuate, take them with you.
  7. Fill your tub with water. Seriously. You have no idea how much having some extra water can help.
  8. Charge your phone the night before.
  9. Don’t drive in standing water–you never know how deep it is.
  10. If you lose power, don’t open/close your fridge. It’ll stay colder longer with the door sealed.

Have you been affected by the recent hurricanes? Hope you’re all safe and sound.

If you’re looking for ways to help those who have, here are a few charities that you can help. There are definitely more out there and I always recommend doing research on a charity before you donate.

Houston:

Coalition for the Homeless

LGBTQ Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund (to help homeless youth, seniors, people living with HIV, hate crime survivors, and those devastated by the storm)

SHAPE- Self-Help for African People through Education (Donations will allow SHAPE to assist with medical prescriptions, make emergency cash contributions, and more)

Flood Relief for Texas Children’s Hospital

Antigua and Barbuda:

Habitat for Humanity of Trinidad and Tobago (for Barbuda relief)

Haiti:

Action Against Hunger

Dominican Republic: 

Oxfam 

Puerto Rico:

Cáritas de Puerto Rico

US Virgin Islands:

UNICEF

Florida:

Feeding Florida

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida

Florida Keys Children’s Shelter