Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I wonder how sexual development happens in autism. In terms of emotional connection it's a pretty central and strong source.

Such a broad question doesn't admit of an easy answer, but if I was going to put in a single sentence I'd say dating was hell but sex is fine. No idea whether autistic people are more or less prone to be into kinky sex but my hunch is more.

It is funny you mention that. I have made that same observation myself. I know a lot of kinksters, and I know own a lot of people with aspergers and there is definitely some overlap, it seems!

What about simpler affectionate interactions ? dating and sex were already way beyond what I had in mind. Autism impossibility of emotional interaction would be at odds with simple hugging. And in my view, hugging is a prototype of sexual relationship (pure pleasure sex left of the discussion).

I can't speak for others, but for me smaller affectionate interactions are actually 'beyond' sex. If I'm in bed with a girl, or if it's clear that things are about to happen, my brain relaxes and I know pretty well what to do. But when it comes to smaller stuff, I don't know what's appropriate, to pick the right moment, to figure out the frequency, etc. So I prefer to just not think about it.

In fact, I'd go so far as saying that having sex is one of the few 'states' in which I feel that I can just let go and do the right things. It's one of the things I love about sex!

Well autism is such a broad spectrum I would be reluctant to say there was an impossibility of emotional interaction - that's a common enough stereotype but I'd regard it as a pretty severe case. There's lots of people who are pretty functional but have difficulty reading/responding to emotional cues that most folk take for granted.

Hugging has two distinct sides - emotional and sensorial. It feels kind of futile to do it for emotional reason (you do it just to please the other side, maybe) but it still feels good for sensorial one. It's like hugging a pleasant animal.

You never hugged someone you missed to death ? I bet it wasn't for sensorial pleasure. There's something more when you can let down on someone else and somehow 'talk' by skin / closeness.

I choose not to "miss to death" anyone/anything. When it happens to hug someone it doesn't make much difference to me if we haven't seen each other for over a year or a minute.

Well, I used to feel that way, but again since these events I experienced the physical affectionate need for someone. Again, the reason I ask if autistic persons are stuck without this sensation or not.

I recently read part of an Oliver Sacks book, it's incredible how different everyone's experience can differ.

It has been suggested by peers/friends - who have clinical expertise in this area - that I'm somewhere on the spectrum. I don't see it but it has been mentioned enough times to me by different people (always in a careful/courteous manner mind you) that I've let it warrant some consideration over the years.

No biggie. I've a partner, am employed and happy. Kinky too as far back as I can remember. It certainly made for a different kind of sexual development in my teens and early twenties. There was some sense of frustration and disappoint as I couldn't fathom how my sexual trajectory had become so misaligned to that of my peers. It was just different enough that I'd considered I might be the only one so kept quite about it. It took a while longer (post university) to realise there were plenty of others with similar interests.

On occasion I've bumped into or met/seen some professional peers (same research interest) in these settings. Slightly unsettling to say the least from a practical point of view as I could end more directly working with any of these people in the future. I've felt such incidents are difficult to put down to coincidence.

Yes, emotional awareness is a useful tool that an autistic person lacks. Without it the entire social game gets very confusing - you have less direction, you don't really sense when to stop and when to go on, when to switch behavior to a more productive one and in general it is like an impairment you notice you have especially next to "normal" others. That however, becomes a non-problem when the social interaction happens takes place between autistic people.


It's a life altering 'change' in one's brain (at least it can be) and I very strongly believe that for people with socio-affective issues it has some relevance. Not talking about mechanics here of course, but a mean to interact / relate with someone emotional state.

"for people with socio-affective issues it has some relevance"

It may. It would enlarge the amount of things we use to relate to when we're communicating but it's not essential for a natural-perceived relation. The mechanics may be all what's necessary. From what I've noticed, all that non-autistic persons are really interested in this regard is the belief that the other person is emotionally-empathetic, and that interest can (more or less) be catered for.

I may be an oddity but I can assure you that emotional relation through contact has significant deep sources, causes and effects on one's mind. It was like going from 2D monochromatic vision to 3D trichr. And in my case it wasn't a smooth transition and caused me deep anguish to say the least. When I see documentaries about autistic childs, the way they express anxiety and hit themselves, I can't help but to think about my own past issues. Hence my question.

The autistic condition forms a spectrum. Children that you might have seen in the documentaries could have had a severe form. For what I care, anxiety is not something necessarily related to autism as emotional people feel anxious too.

That being said, I have to admit that autism gets somewhat easier with age because of increased general tolerance and endurance in individuals. Small children need close contact and may even die (in the first days of life) without, even with the basic needs taken care of.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact