Autism and asexuality

It seems that some studies show that most people with high functioning autism are asexual, but I think it shall be interpreted differently.

I searched for the meaning of “asexual” in my dictionary. It is very important how we define “asexual”.

In one dictionary it is said that asexual means: “a person who lacks interest in or desire for sex.”

In a website it is written that “Asexuality refers to a lack of an inherent desire to have sex.”. (I bring it here because it seems that it is a part of common understanding.)

If we talk about people with autism and we want to mention asexuality the second definition is definitely wrong. The first definition I think could be modified to : “a person who seems that he/she lacks interest in or desire for sex.”

The inherent sexual drive and instincts of an individual with autism for sex is the same as other people. They have inherent sexual desire like any human being. But what is difference when it seems that they are with lack of interest or they don’t have desire for sex? It is because their mind system avoids arousal situations. I can’t call it suppression, but it is very the same as it. Mind system of people with autism just avoid arousal in many ways and it is to protect them for confronting with painful condition. It is inhibitions and restrictions enforced by mind system on sexual arousal. It is like a withdrawal in wars, one side withdraws, give its lands to other part to stay safe.


PS1: Something that I called as an state of withdrawal is the same as the term “regression” in Freudian psychoanalysis.

PS2: After some comments I noticed that there is a misunderstanding about my post. I’m not talking about the phenomenon of ‘Asexuality’ and ‘Asexuals’. I’ve not noticed that it is a category of people with asexual orientation. This post is about people with autism and a characteristic found in some of them in which they are not attracted / or not engaged in sexual activities.  It is not about ‘asexual’ people.


12 thoughts on “Autism and asexuality

  1. “I searched for the meaning of ‘asexual’ in my dictionary.”

    Well there’s your problem. You should be looking to the communities of people who identify as asexual, not the dictionary.

    “They have inherent sexual desire like any human being.”

    Hold up, no, that’s false. Sexual desire is not universal.

    • looking in dictionary has a reason. Th meaning in dictionary is important to me. People in a society may perceive the meaning of a word differently. I look at dictionary to find the standard meaning and also the root of the word. Also the understanding of communities of the meaning of this word in important to me. whatever the meaning is I just wanted to inform my interpretation for what seems as asexual.
      You: “Sexual desire is not universal”
      Me: It is definitely universal.

      • So you’re telling everyone who doesn’t feel it that they’re deluding themselves? Because (as you may have found out had you bothered to look into the ace community) there are people who definitely feel no desire for sex and don’t even have a libido. What are you going to do, gaslight them?

      • 1- Please note that I have not said that people with autism feel sexual desires and they tell lie about it. I said their mind system like all the human beings have sexual drive, but their mind system suppress or hide it. It doesn’t mean that people lie. It is a defense mechanism. 2- all of our huge and complicated mind system are not under our control and we are not conscious about all of it. we are conscious and we control only a part of it.
        3- Our understanding of libido is totally different. I follow Freudian approach for understanding mind system. I don’t know about you.
        4- Finally if you can’t accept my claim; It is my rule : if we can’t accept each other, we can keep our ideas for ourselves.
        5- It is funny to mention: From the time Freud informed his ideas about the role of sexuality in our life, there were a resistant towards his idea from the beginning. Freud once lectured in US. one of attendants angrily stand up and told him that “may be in your Europa everything is sexual but you should note that here is United States of America.

  2. I have Asperger’s and I am an asexual but mine works as I don’t feel attraction to either gender. It can work that way too.

    • Thanks for letting me know about your experience. If there is no feeling of attraction in some people it doesn’t mean that that their nature is different to others. It is of a defense system of their mind which is going to protect them. Please note that our mind system is very intelligent.

      • @onlyfragments
        1- You brought a good exceptional case. Actually I have not noticed before about such a case and I didn’t know if someone without feeling attraction have sex. however I don’t think it is impossible. But I ask you a question : what is sex without feeling attraction, (If you know a kind of people with autism has sex without feeling any attraction)?
        If you also wants to prove me that they don’t have sexual drive, I think the answer is in your question. If having sex and enjoying it is not related to having libido/sexual drive, then why my claim could be wrong? I told that their sexual drive is inhibited by their mind system. If having sex is not related to having sexual drive, how your example could prove that I’m wrong. Please think twice.

        2- If you mean that they have sexual drive and my model I explained is wrong, Please note that, sexual drive is not all about genitality. One could masturbate and hence could not even talk with opposite sex. He could have a sexual activity but could not handle an special state of arousal or attraction to opposite sex. Here I said that mind system avoids painful condition of arousal which comes from sexual drive. attraction has a kind of arousal. (studies show that interaction with opposite sex change the level of sexual hormones in our body which I call it arousal.)

        3- Once I wrote this post I realized the model I described here is very simple and not complete. actually it is not that simple I brought here. It is more complicated, but I think generally it is true.

      • Sexual attraction and sex drive are two different things. I can not find someone sexually attractive and still enjoy having sex with them. Sex can feel physically and/or emotionally good without my body responding simply to what theirs looks like.

        I’m not sure what else you’re asking…?

    • It is a good point. I looked at your blog. It was a good experience for me. I am agree with you that sexual attraction and what you call as “sex drive” are two different things but I think the root of both are sexual. Please note that the term “sexual drive” in psychoanalysis have another meaning. it is about our deep inherent inner drive of our instincts which most of it are unconscious.
      I will try to explain more about what I call as “sexual” in another post.

  3. This has just been my experience with a family member with autism. He mentioned that he thought he might be asexual. I suspect, that we are all risk adverse to differing degrees, some autistic individuals may be more risk adverse. They seek to avoid confusing and danger fraught social interactions. Most of us have had painful experiences in romantic relationships, yet persevered on, ending up married or in a partnership. To most of us, the rejection, embarrassment and negative situations are worth enduring for the ones that work out well. I suspect that among autistic persons, the negative potential is not worth the benefit.

    • Thanks for letting me have your experience. Yes I think you are right. The degree of pain they experience is not worse trying anymore. Most of the time it is not a conscious decision but mind system itself withdraw.

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