Autistic girls, sexuality and vulnerability

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Autistic girls, sexuality and vulnerability

One thing not mentioned and often brushed aside is the need and want for acceptance and friends in girls who are autistic.

After growing up in an environment of sensory overloads, teasing and watching the popular girls breeze by with apparent ease it can be especially overwhelming to then begin puberty.

There are changes that are drastic and alarming.

Menstruation begins and the added worry of whether they are developing normally and the compounded fear and insecurity of not ‘measuring up’ to their peers can cause stress and anxiety.Add the impossible airbrushed pop videos and model type film stars most teenagers aspire to look like further compounding how they believe they are ‘meant’ to look and there’s a classic target for males to take advantage of.

Drawing from my own experience I can remember panicking over the right clothes and whether my figure was ‘correct’. After all, the girls have never liked or accepted me. Will I fail with boys as well? I worried I would never have a boyfriend, that I would never find someone to love me. The usual teenage angst but magnified and enhanced by my own low self esteem and dare I say it, my autism.

We as autistic females mimic, we fit in and mostly can go unnoticed.

We try to keep our self stimulating behaviours and meltdowns inside us desperately needing our peers acceptance. This masking is often so complete that after a few hours of quoting popular phrases we have heard others say and emulating gestures down to such minute details like eye rolls and grimaces we leave ourselves in shut down mode.

Some of us go completely the other way, we rebel and dress as flamboyantly as possible confident that we are different and comfortable in our neurodiversity. But what of the girls who crave and have the fundamental need to validate themselves as desirable, wanted and in their view acceptable? These are the girls to be watched.

A girl who has communication problems and has had past experience of bullying. A girl who needs and wants to feel beautiful, normal and in her eyes popular, just once.

One who would feel that if someone wants to touch them, to kiss them and tell them they are pretty and funny would believe it completely. Would fall so deeply in love with this seemingly ideal ‘partner’ that everything including her own health and well being would no longer matter. Without this partner they would not feel valid, complete or needed.

girlAn autistic vulnerable girl who has discovered her own sexuality can and will believe that if a man wants to sleep with her, has expressed an interest physically in her that he automatically loves her. Every film she has seen of the popular teenage genre compounds it. Take for example the popular Twilight series.

Girl who believes herself to be plain, is socially awkward attracts a boy who is controlling and everyone is against their romance. It’s them against the world and the love they share seems total. Going all the way back to Dirty Dancing the message is always clear and repetitive.

Girl who’s awkward meets a man who will understand them, enhance them and rarely cheat on them or undermine them. Everyone is against the couple yet they rally, stand firm United and win in the end.

“You don’t know your beautiful!” Trills from the radio and they can, and will identify with that.

Now, if you have a girl believing all this and is being told that a man loves her and that she’s special she’s his life she’s everything! She and the love they share is so special that she has to keep it a secret as others wouldn’t understand it, they will and do believe it.

Further include the inability to pre empt actions and intentions with difficulties communicating their own needs coupled with not always comprehending what is being done to them?
You have a target for a Paedophile or an equally undesirable male especially if this man makes them feel protected and reassures them that other girls would never be good enough for him . That if they found out they would be jealous and try to break them up even going as far as to try and take him away from her completely. Thus you have a situation of someone who has insecurities and has felt on the hem of social circles, never completely fitting in. You have the secret, the so called validation that they are special so special they are part of a pact never to be told about.If your daughter seems to be dressing differently, seems secretive yet troubled and possibly talks about inappropriate subjects she shouldn’t have knowledge of let the alarm bells ring. Demand to meet all friends and check their face book and Twitter accounts. If they wish to stay out at a friends check where and speak to the friends mother to check.

It should also be said that not only males victimise and gas light sexually, females are equally capable of victimisation.

Go through very carefully with your daughter what is acceptable with physical contact from a male and what is not. Be mindful of birth control and above all keep all communication open and free flowing.

Compound that nothing is ever a secret from you, and that if is and they have been asked not to tell you something she needs to question why.

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  1. Cambria Jenkins  August 15, 2015

    As an autistic woman, I can say that I fell through the cracks, and ended up giving myself physically to every guy I dated throughout my 20s, because that was the way society taught me that I was finally acceptable to somebody. Now, in my late 30s, I am struggling with being alone, and finally accepting that I need to fit in with myself.

  2. Constantine  August 31, 2016

    It happened to me two. From the age of 4 up. Mostly to older women who honed in on my social insecurity and promised me everything I needed. Then used me.

    Some people are perdetory creatures. All autistics need to learn in every situation to question ‘why is this person being nice. What do they want from me’

    By the way. Im a man. My son is autistic also. I worry for him.

  3. Danielle  September 1, 2016

    I can say that your thoughts on the subject of autistic girls and vulnerabilty linked to sexuality are very right. I encountered so many bad things in my past in regards to men I met. Things happened that left me traumatised and it has taken me six years and meeting a good man to finally come to terms with the terrible things that happened to me and to start looking after myself again.

    After the worst things happened I completely forgot who I was and I lost myself. I would look in the mirror and wouldn’t even recognise myself anymore. I went from always taking care of my appearance (to point of obsession) to completely neglecting it and the despair I felt impacted my environment too. I never even would tidy my flat – I literally just abandoned all hope.

    I am just so glad to be saying those words in past tense. I tried too hard and was always so hard on myself and never questioned any of the less than wonderful men that I encountered. I never processed their bad intentions as fast as I would liked to have done unfortunately.

    99 percent of the time I somehow mamaged not to give into their emotional blackmail but the emotional impact of all the lies and games they played to try and get what they wanted was unbearable. Two even lied about having cancer.

    It was hard for me to accept that people could just want sex in the first place – how can people use each other? That stil perplexes me to this day – even though I am in a happy relationship now. I will never understand how some “humans” are so unfeeling and how they can treat each other like objects. If I acted the way the men I met acted towards me I would be absolutely ashamed of myself.

    Even with protective parents I suffered at the hands of so called men who would not take no for an answer.
    When they were abusive and did things that were bad – I automatically blamed myself and of course they blamed me too – some of their words still remain with me to this day. They were all so nice (fake nice) until the topic of sex came up and it was always bought up by them. When I said no they had so much anger towards me.

    Abusive situations I encountered in my past and bullying all throughout my childhood knocked every bit of self esteem I might have had out of me and it has been so hard building it from nothing.

    It can be dangerous out there being autistic and being in relationships. I was at a disadvantage because I didn’t even know I was autistic until my diagnosis at 26 years old. The only thing worse than being autistic and wanting to find love and being too trusting is being all of that and not even knowing that you are autistic. If I had been aware of my Autism – I would of also been more aware of my vulnerabiities.

    Don’t get me wrong knowing you have Autism doesn’t take the people who would try to take advantage away but it can make you wiser to them or at least the fact that they exist. Then you still have the issue of knowing if people are being genuine or not when you can’t read their expression or tone of voice. Trying to tell if someone is good or bad over the internet when you have Autism is a nightmare.

    Part of me feels that I would of still encountered those men even with the diagnosis because I still put so much emphasis on love above everything else. It was all I ever wanted out of life and now I have found it with a good guy. I now know that terms such as “you will do this if you love me” or “You should do for me what you wont do for other guys because I am special” are manipulation.

    If you are reading this comment and you have a daughter or son with Autism be very aware of the internet and predators lurking behind avatars, fake pictures and webcams. I resorted to using a webcam to make friends because I did not go out much due to my Autism and partially down to my protective parents too.

    The problem I feel now having had years to look back on what happened to me is partially down to the fact that there are plenty of evil men out there. Yes there are good, and probably more good than bad, but the world is not lacking in the bad ones unfortunately. Another problem is that if a man sees your photo online he makes up his own ideas about who you are regardless of what you tell him.

    It doesn’t matter how nice or respectably you may be dressed in your picture nor does it matter if you tell him that you are seeking a serious relationship because if he is just seeking “A bit of fun” he will nod and agree with everything you say and even tell you that he loves you if hat means he might get what he wants.

    I could never prcoess that – I could never believe people could be like that and I always thought deep down they must be good and that thought lead me into dangerous situations. Then there is also the whole business of wondering if what you are doing is normal and asking yourself am I being too this or too that? Would a non autistic woman act this way?

    In my case although I always said no to the men I met in regards to sex – I always questioned if I was right to do that and I realize I questioned it so much because they got so angry at me for it. I have always believed it should be something kept for the right man. When I went on a date I was already thinking could I marry this man ? could I have kids with this man? Would he be good to our kids if we had any? Can I trust him? These things were in my head from the beginning because I didn’t want or ever see the point in casual relationships and I never will.

    I have only had sex with few people and only with one of those people (the man I am with now) did I actually want to have sex. Of the other small amount some either blackmailed, manipulated, threatened or forced the point.

    I met most of the men I did meet online. Of the ones I met up with in person – I had one drag me by the arm towards his car and get angry – literally shouting at me – when I said I wasn’t going with him. It almost felt that as an Autistic woman my “no” wasn’t the same as a non – Autistic woman’s no. I had strange men approach me whilst out shopping and they followed me around iike puppys and on one occasion my sister actually had to tell one in not so nice words to back off.

    On another occasion in my past, a married man followed me around Asda whilst I was with my parents but just walking ahead of them . He walked up to me and touched me inappropriatly and whispered in my ear something about my breasts. I was in so much shock I laughed because thats what I do when I am in shock but laughing soon turned to tears and when I told my parents they were livid. But by the time I had processed what had happened and told them he was gone.

    The last I saw him he was standing beside his wife packing their shopping. I was not dressed “slutty” although even if I had been it would not give hm the right to do what he did. But, it often felt as though guys like him have some sort of built in homing device that tracks vulnerable woman down.

    When I got my diagnosis I came out of my bubble of believing everyone was good at heart and always hoping that maybe the next person would be different. Problem is with Autism being diagnosed less in women and being harder to spot – this puts a lot of other girls growing up now in the a similar postition to what I was in and I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy. I am surprised I made it through, after one bad encounter in particular, I contemplated suicide but I am so glad now that I never did it.

    If you are autistic and reading this comment please don’t be in a rush to find love. I know how that sounds by the way – if you are like I was – it will be all you can think about. FInally finding someone who will love and accept you for who you are. Just know it will happen with the RIGHT person but not before its meant to.

    If you feel like you have to change for any man then he is not the man for you. If he requests that you wear certain things like heels on a date or asks for dirty pictures or even speaks to you disrespectfully just know that it won’t get better. Accept that he could just be an “empty shell of a person.” They really DO exist!


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