Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Relationships, Sex and Autism / Asperger's Syndrome

My wife and I are currently revising A Spectrum of Relationships, which is a guide to social connections for teens and adults with ASDs. The last chapter deals with romantic relationships. Because this book is a broad overview of social situations and not a dating guide, we decided to include only a few short sections on physical relationships.

Many of the questions I do receive following public appearances do deal with sexuality and romance. I know there are some texts on autism and sexuality, but I am wondering if I should prepare a separate book on those matters.

Writing about sexuality is a challenge because I don't believe there are "norms" of sexuality that can be neatly organized along autistic / non-autistic lines. We can discuss studies of human sexuality and surveys of opinion on the physical and emotional aspects of relationships, but there is a lot of variety among all people.

I have included a section in A Spectrum of Relationships on how some autistics report their sensory issues affect physical aspects of romantic relationships. Obviously if you do not like being touched, strong body odors, and anything "dirty" then sexual contact might be problematic.

Any compromises have to be made with a romantic partner. In a book on romance and sexuality, I could explain how some couples have dealt with these issues and include interviews. I'm not sure any guide can guide an adult towards solutions for those issues, but I can explain what others have done.

If I were to write a book on sexuality in the same way I approached A Spectrum of Relationships, it would include some personal experiences and notes. It is a little strange to consider such things, and I'd only share what my wife and I agreed was acceptable.

A guide to sex and relationships will include language and concepts that might offend some readers. The book would not be for everyone, including some adults.

I would do as I did with A Spectrum of Relationships and post parts of the initial, rough drafts to this blog while I tried to fine-tune sections. Sections of a guide to sex and romance would be edited for the blog, no matter what, since blogs are more public than a book. I don't want to tag this blog as inappropriate for some readers. The final version of A Spectrum of Relationships reflects the suggestions of blog readers and I'm sure it is a better text as a result.

Maybe there aren't enough detailed, frank books on sexuality and ASDs? Would a guide be useful? How much should be included? How detailed should it be? What shouldn't be included?

2 comments:

  1. That's exciting about your writing project! There are a few excellent publications already out addressing the topic of autism and sexuality, but expanding the availability of publications and guides would definitely be beneficial.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is difficult to write about the "norms", because when it comes to sexuality, there's no clearly defined norms. We can be encouraged to follow guidelines on effective companionship and building a compatible partnership, but otherwise almost anything goes. It is understandable you would want to publish edited versions on your blog (since it is on a more public platform). As far as the actual book / guide, I would address the content with full force. Some readers may feel awkward reading blunt writing content, but being open to addressing the topic (from an educational standpoint) will be the most effective way to address it.

    Regardless of what you decide to publish, one thing that would be important to include is a collection of personal perspective input shared by individuals on the spectrum.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We should have the general-interest book on Amazon later this weekend. Then, I will tackle some of the other topics people have requested in a series of texts. I thought about "traditional" publishing, and I know there are professional benefits to that route, but I like the lower-cost for readers that I can offer via eBooks.

    ReplyDelete

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.