**TW: brief, non-detailed mention of sexual assault**
I’ve always had an ambivalent attitude to sex. While I would consider myself as having a higher sex-drive than average, I also go for long periods without having sex (and then, sometimes, go overboard in a short period of time…)
I am often very tense when I am touched, even in a non-sexual manner. When I am being massaged (by a professional), they invariably make some comment about how tense I am, or are concerned that they are hurting me. While mentally I enjoy it, physically my body cringes as soon as someone touches me. I’m often not even aware of this, and it takes someone specifically mentioning it for me to recognise it. This, of course, carries over to sex. In my first sexual relationship at nineteen, my boyfriend raped me, and I thought for a long time that my tenseness was related to this. However, I have completely recovered from that event, and I still get tense (side note: I was also raped in my mid-twenties, but that is a whole other story and really had no impact on my sexuality, rather, it deeply affected my self-worth and ability to make friends and trust people and my own judgement).
I get incredibly stressed at being the “centre of attention”. I just can’t relax and enjoy having someone go down on me, because I feel all sorts of pressure to stay in the moment, to lie back and not do anything while someone else does all the work, and to ultimately orgasm, because for many men, that seems to be their “ultimate turn-on”. Having a man tell me at the outset of sex “I’m not going to be happy until you cum” 10000% guarantees I am going to be stressed and have performance anxiety for the whole experience.
I also have attention issues (still going through that ADHD assessment process). I will zone out during sex, my brain will dart to a million different other things, and I just can’t bring my focus back to what I’m supposed to be doing. Over the years I have become very practiced at hiding this so my partner doesn’t realise. My last boyfriend was very sweet in this regard, however, and would almost always recognise when I’d tuned out. He’d say to me, “You’re not with me anymore, are you?” and when I said yes, he’d say it was ok and to just relax while he finished himself off. I hate giving men a round of applause when they’re simply being a decent human being, but I always think of this reaction fondly, the care and consideration he displayed even when he was probably a bit sexually frustrated.
In saying all this, I’m really not anti-sex. I’m really pro-sex. I read and write erotica. I fantasise about other people. I really crave human touch, while at the same time finding it difficult to relax while being touched. I’ve had a spotty sex life for the past two years. This is partly due to aforementioned ex and our weird post-break up not-relationship-relationship (and even before the break-up, when our relationship was beginning to deteriorate). Partly due to stress from working full-time and studying part-time. Partly due to just being disabled (and not knowing it) and being weirdly exhausted constantly and not being able to figure out why. Semi-celibacy is really frustrating for me. I also haven’t had sex post-autism-diagnosis, and all these things have been playing on my mind recently as I have started up a heavy flirtation with someone that may potentially (hopefully) lead to sex.
In light of my diagnosis, I’ve been thinking about my inability to relax, my attention issues, my dislike of doing nothing while someone does everything… I’m curious as to how this new knowledge will assist me in what I view as things that are preventing me from enjoying sex as fully as I want to be able to. The person I am flirting with is aware I am autistic, although we haven’t had a discussion about how that may be affecting my relationship with sex (too busy sexting the filthy things we’re going to do to each other, somuchfun). At the same time, I am confident that he will have the patience to work with me through my anxieties, which is probably one of the reasons why I am really lusty to bone him in the first place.
Also, it’s just really nice to have someone be so expressive in wanting you. I feel very unwanted in a lot of ways – my parents are being terrible, I have anxieties about work and friendships – and I am also insecure at the moment because a recent period of depression has lead to some over-eating of takeaway food and I’m feeling pudgy and unattractive. On top of that, romantically, I’ve had this fucked-up co-dependent not-relationship for the past two years with my ex (as mentioned previously) who is emotionally ‘there’ for me in all ways but romantically, but – that story is just so long and convoluted and still a little close to my heart I can’t tease it apart coherently at the moment. But that relationship has contributed to feeling unwantable sexually and romantically.
That recently-ended debacle, combined with a heavy study work-load coming up, means I don’t have the energy to be emotionally available to someone. I have already discussed the parameters of a potential relationship with current flirtation, basically, let’s touch each other’s genitals and not date. Which is what I need right now, just that feeling of being utterly desired by someone, having them send me messages telling me how pretty I’m looking and how much he wants to see what I’m wearing under my cute dress… I know that self-esteem should come from within, but sometimes external validation does wonders to help regain that confidence to feel ok about yourself. And I am so looking forward to experiencing sex in a new light, post-diagnosis, and exploring with a willing partner all the things that this may mean to me.