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Autism and relationships, by Sarah Hendrickx

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Autism and relationships, by Sarah Hendrickx

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Autism and relationships, by Sarah Hendrickx

  1. 1. Sex and Relationships – Women with Asperger syndrome Sarah Hendrickx w: www.asperger-training.com t: 01273 711258
  2. 2. Where are we now? <ul><li>Potentially large numbers of undiagnosed women </li></ul><ul><li>Belief that AS is male condition </li></ul><ul><li>Limited research into sex and autism </li></ul><ul><li>Even more limited research into sex and AS </li></ul><ul><li>Varied profile of AS across individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Small sample numbers of women </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotal evidence </li></ul>
  3. 3. ‘ An AS Woman?’ <ul><li>Less sense of being a ‘woman’ – ‘I’m just me’. </li></ul><ul><li>Tomboy/male brained? </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatic/Logical </li></ul><ul><li>No game-playing </li></ul><ul><li>Open book </li></ul><ul><li>Straight-forward </li></ul><ul><li>Trusting/naïve/gullible </li></ul><ul><li>May be less concerned with social fripperies (fashion, make-up etc.) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Expectations of Relationships <ul><li>Non-verbal signals – spotting interest </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing – possessions, plans </li></ul><ul><li>Companionship – sharing time, chatting </li></ul><ul><li>Physical contact </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional support (empathy) </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise – doing things you don’t want to </li></ul><ul><li>Imposition on relationship on life </li></ul><ul><li>Team-work – ‘couple’ </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of two-way nature (reciprocity) </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance of changes and endings in relationships </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Early first sexual experiences (Hendrickx) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often borderline consensual/abusive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Different perspective on monogamy </li></ul><ul><li>Predatory relationships (Hendrickx) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fewer friends to help recognise sexual predators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Promiscuous behaviour sometimes seen (Attwood, Henault) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor personal boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wanting acceptance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unable to read hidden agendas of partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unable to read signals </li></ul></ul>AS Women & Sex - research
  6. 6. <ul><li>New study suggests those with ASC are 7x more likely to experience Gender Identity Disorder </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotally higher numbers of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-gender (compared to general population) (Hendrickx) </li></ul><ul><li>Testosterone? Androgens? Male-brain? </li></ul><ul><li>More pragmatic partner choice based on other aspects (shared interests, understanding) rather than gender being primary focus? </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling of ‘not fitting in’ attributed to wrong gender when it may be just AS? </li></ul><ul><li>Different experience of gender identity? </li></ul><ul><li>Less affected by social aspects of gender? </li></ul>Sexuality
  7. 7. <ul><li>‘ Me in the preferred gender’ </li></ul><ul><li>1:1 interaction (not groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Limited, not constant – e.g. once a week </li></ul><ul><li>Accepts for yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Shares interests </li></ul><ul><li>Valued for knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Meets physical needs </li></ul><ul><li>Does not add to stress </li></ul><ul><li>Often also neuro-diverse/AS </li></ul>The Perfect AS Partner/Friend
  8. 8. Relationship Tips <ul><li>Remember: Many non-AS people have not found the perfect partner. It’s not just AS </li></ul><ul><li>All relationships are difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Create own template for relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Create own template for partner </li></ul><ul><li>Ignore what ‘supposed to do’ </li></ul><ul><li>Asking for help to learn hidden motives and spot the bastards! </li></ul><ul><li>Find someone with AS? </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace your uniqueness </li></ul><ul><li>Like yourself </li></ul>

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