Ok. Pushing discomfort aside, this is something I think has been an important signpost in the fog for me.
(Deep breath, make sure my mum isn’t reading…)
Ok, no going back now *gulp* :-\
I think inducing sexual arousal could be a stim for me. I use it to calm myself when anxious and also, more importantly, to focus when I need to concentrate, especially when I’m bored with the activity I need to concentrate upon. I discovered this particular quirk whilst studying for exams as a young teenager!
Another interesting quirk is that I also stim orally. I sucked my thumb until I was 13, at which point I swapped to chewing the insides of my cheeks (a habit that causes me some distress, not the least because it hurts, but I simply can’t stop!). I recently bought a chewable necklace after reading about how they help other autistic people who stim orally. It surprised me just how much relief this provides and I can almost feel the fizz of chemicals released in my system when I use it. Which leads me back to the slightly uncomfortable (well, shameful – courtesy of my misogynistic upbringing!) admission that I love administering oral sex. Not from a sexual point of view, which is the confusing bit, but from a calming point of view. I’ve tried to work out exactly what it is that I love and it’s something to do with the sensation on the roof of my mouth. The movement in and out typically associated with this activity isn’t what I seek, it’s something to do with the fullness and sensation on my soft pallet, if that makes sense? I’ve recently put the question out to my online community of fellow female aspies and found that this is a fairly common autistic thing. The key downside is that I (as well as many others) also have a heightened sense of smell. This is an unfortunate conundrum! Lol
So moving on to how these activities integrate into a sex life for me, involving other people. Nice idea in principle, but in practice, this has been problematic for me. Not only do I need to know someone VERY well to relinquish enough control to facilitate orgasm, but I also intensely dislike change, including change of partner. For these reasons alone, I typically think very carefully before embarking upon a new sexual relationship. It’s also rare that I experience instantaneous sexual attraction towards someone. Sexual attraction, for me, seems to be something that grows as I get to know someone and feel emotionally close to them. Most of my sexual partnerships have arisen out of close and trusted friendships. In this respect I identify as demisexual. Physical features, including gender, are less important to me than the mind of the person, so I also identify with being sapiosexual. This also seems to be a common theme among autistic women.
My husband, who has been my partner for nearly a decade, is also an aspie, so sex for us is usually fairly routined and comfortably predictable, with not too much dialogue or eye contact. He doesn’t like to connect emotionally during sex because he finds it too overwhelming. I, too, can occasionally find it very overwhelming but I enjoy the emotional connection and actively seek it. This is a common area in which aspergers presents itself differently in males and females.
In reading about stimming in autistic children, I noticed that masturbation is a very common stim. Looking back at my earliest diaries, I noticed that I tried to find a way to write about masturbating when I was 9 years old. I didn’t know that there was a word for it, or that so many other people also did it! I knew it was a private thing, not to be done in public (I assume my suspected aspie mother must have had an awkward conversation with me about it at a younger age?). In typical aspie fashion, I didn’t have any close female friends with which to talk about such things, and so stumbled along making up my own rules. The first time I intervened during sex and simulated myself whilst with a partner (in my late teens) was met with shock and delight. I was simply frustrated at his nice but ultimately unfulfilling attempts, and wanted to… well… take care of myself. Something I’ve continued to do ever since. I’ve no idea if this has upset partners, I can’t read non-verbal communication and have never thought to ask any. Aspies are also notoriously blunt, so unless someone were to be as straight-to-the-point with me, I wouldn’t think there was a problem. Rather amusingly, I met my match for bluntness in my husband. He once commented, in our early days, that he wanted to be left to ‘do the job’ himself. Needless to say my usual multi-orgasmic experience didn’t materialise, despite an Olympian effort on my husband’s part, and he hasn’t complained again since! 😉 From my perspective, I certainly don’t mind him having a go but, quite honestly, I simply prefer to stimulate myself. Intense pleasure can easily turn into intense pain for me and it’s difficult to explain that to people. And, for those occasions when I just need to quickly calm or stimulate my disordered central nervous system in order to function optimally, I’m thankful to have the skills required ‘in-house’, so to speak! 😉