ASPERGER’S SYNDROME & SEX

 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM SEXUALLY?

Let me know if the word “wrong” seems terribly “wrong” after you read this explanation of your Aspie husband in the bedroom 

 

I get a ton of personal emails asking me questions about sex in an Aspie-NT marriage, from both Aspies and Neurotypicals alike. Few people are brave enough to ask the question or share personal stories about this part of their relationship on the blog itself, but I commend those who have. This subject is so important to talk about, but also rarely explored in Aspie-NT articles and blogs.  Discussing the deeply private and personal happenings of a couple in the bedroom is sometimes considered “off-limits” for public view. Sometimes this is because of religious beliefs, cultural expectations, or because of the insecurity, embarrassment, and utter humiliation people feel when they expose this part of their inner world to others.

While I have promised to give full disclosure about my marriage and thoughts through my writing, I have to mention that I cannot share personal stories about my own sex life. As much as I haven’t any reservation openly talking about the good, the bad, or any changes we have made along the way to ensure this part of our life was kept intact, I have made a promise I intend to keep out of respect for my husband.  

When I began this blog, I asked John if he had specific things he did not want me to disclose to the world about himself or our life. While he is pretty apathetic in general to this blog and said “whatever you want” (I don’t think he actually realizes people READ IT, lol), he did say he did not want me to talk about our sex life in detail.  There was also one silly behavior he has (unrelated to sex) that boggles my mind (to this day) that he is embarrassed about and asked me not to share.  I’m not going to lie, I’d rather share the peculiar behavior he has than our sex life, but I have already pissed him off about this one too many times, so I have to honor his request.  Unfortunately, in the search for “why does he do that?!?” and not getting a rational explanation from him, I began asking one-too-many people what their thoughts were on his behavior (which I told him) and subsequently learned he did NOT appreciate. It isn’t anything perverse or cruel… think OCD-ish.

Since I am beyond thankful that John has given me his blessing (or utter indifference) to me openly sharing our private life with the world, I would be a real asshole to not respect the only things he requested I not publicly talk about. Luckily, there are enough commonalities to the Aspie-NT sexual concerns out there that I can keep this post pretty generic and you can draw your own conclusions about whether or not any of these “issues” have occurred in my marriage.  

 

 

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

All of the times NT women say that their sex life is poor or non-existent, or that their husband isn’t interested in sex, that he makes them feel undesired, that he is routine and robotic in his actions in bed, that he is only interested in getting his own needs met, that he is too sensitive to touch, etc… I hear you.  

I hear you, but I need you to consider this:  there is a 90% chance (*Kara-Stats*) that your husband still desires you, wants to please you, would be willing and wanting to follow your lead, and wishes to God he knew exactly what you expected and wanted in bed… because if he did, he would try to make it happen.

I know you don’t believe me yet, but that’s because you don’t understand what is happening “behind the scenes” and cannot see something so obvious it is probably going to make you feel pretty bad when you realize it.  Don’t feel bad… I didn’t comprehend anything until I began to fully comprehend cognitive empathy.

Your husband is not sexually disabled or dysfunctional, he is severely impaired by his own insecurities, fear, and anxiety.  

It is NOT you, it is NOT because he does not like or need sex, it is NOT because he is weird or selfish or uncaring.  My *Kara-Stats* has a 90% assurance that your husband loves you and wants to have sex with you.  I leave 5% open for the men who really could not care less about sex (at all); although some of the Antidepressants our Aspie husbands get prescribed in their youth (when the diagnosis was missed) can cause a loss of sex drive.  I leave the other 5% open to men who should be diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (not Asperger’s syndrome), because HFA would present with someone disinterested in interpersonal engagement (to include sex). 

If you are thinking that your husband doesn’t care or want sex at all, but does not fit into my non-scientific 10%… you are not alone.  I am betting a developed aversion to sex is to blame for why he appears to not desire this in his life. What do I mean by a “developed aversion” to sex?  Here I go with a random analogy:

Let’s say someone is allergic to strawberries.  When this person eats strawberries, (even a tiny nibble of one) they break out in embarrassing hives all over their face and neck.  Now pretend this person REALLY loved strawberries as a child (and had no reaction to them) and would have prefered them to ANY other food if given the option. Since this person did not know they were going to develop an allergic response later in life, the first time this happened to them (when they were in the presence of a person they really liked), they were incredibly embarrassed to see their reflection in the mirror.  

While this person did not suddenly develop an aversion to the taste of strawberries (Hell No! They loved the way they tasted still) they knew they could no longer partake in eating them without suffering an unflattering facial rash.  If that person is in a social setting and offered to taste a delightful strawberry treat, their response will quickly become, “Oh, no! I don’t like strawberries!” 

THEY DO LIKE STRAWBERRIES!

In fact, this person likes strawberries so much they still crave them and dream about indulging in everything-strawberry while they sleep at night.  When placed in an environment where they know their love of strawberries is going to have people making fun of them or questioning what is “wrong” with them (because their hive-infested face cannot be ignored), they would rather starve then consider putting a beloved strawberry in their mouth. 

Tracking? 

If not… I am trying to tell you that instead of thinking your husband has an aversion to sex, pretend it is an allergy to strawberries!  He wants them, he craves them, he thinks they are delicious… but he experiences unwanted attention and anxiety about the potential (uncontrollable) physical response his body will have if he eats one.  Since his ability to eat a strawberry like a “normal” person without suffering a physiologic response that makes him look “weird” is impaired… he would rather pretend he hates them then expose how silly they make him look. 

 

SEX IS NONVERBAL

Being in-tune with a person sexually is LITERALLY the act of using intuitive non-verbal language with one another to the point of physical gratification.

Think about this for a minute…. sex is almost entirely nonverbal! 

Your husband is cognitively incapable of processing nonverbal communication unless it is incredibly obvious and/or something he has learned to associate with a need over time and repetition.  Huh?  If you tell your husband that slamming your bag on the dining room table means you are in a bad mood… eventually he is going to know what that nonverbal message means in the future.  He isn’t going to connect the dots that throwing your arms up in the air or saying, “I need to get out of here” means the same thing (I am in a bad mood) as the bag-slamming unless you tell him that as well.  

Sex is no different and this connection to the nonverbal messages he “thinks” he has deciphered from you (in regard to sex) are often not complete or correct. 

Guess what?  You inadvertently caused the very things you are unhappy about in your sex life… but it’s ok, it is not your fault any more than it is his so don’t beat yourself up.  

It would be exceptionally rare for an NT-e to directly state what they want sexually with clear, unambiguous, simple language before or during the act itself (especially in the beginning of the relationship).  There are exceptions to this, as some NT-e women are more mature and open about their sexual needs in general and tell their partner exactly what they like from the start… but I bet you these women aren’t the ones complaining their Aspie husband doesn’t like or need sex!  For all the other NT-e women, they are going to (by nature) let the man take the lead in the bedroom when the relationship first begins to develop.  

Aspies aren’t so good at taking the lead in a situation like this!

Considering sex is almost entirely suggestive, indirect, and filled with facial expressions and body language that tells a person they are doing something right, or they are doing something wrong… Aspie husbands are inherently screwed (I’m funny) from the very start.  Honestly, how could your poor Aspie husband ever figure out what he needs to do in bed to make you happy if he can’t even figure out how to have an emotionally-charged conversation with you (whereby you utilize 90% non-verbal language)?  If you are struggling to communicate effectively, it should go without say that your sex life is going to be the epitome of miscommunication; this is why the majority of NT-Aspie marriages include incredibly frustrating feelings toward their private life in the bedroom. 

Ironic that no one talks about this openly thought, isn’t it?  Something as important as sexual chemistry and satisfaction gets pushed to the backburner; it is still a taboo subject and NT wives feel embarrassed themselves to expose how miserable they are.

Let me see if I can help clarify this for everyone out there…. I need you to remember when you had your first sexual encounter with someone you REALLY liked…  

I’m serious… stop reading this for a few minutes and really try to remember how you behaved before, during, and after you had sex with the person?

 Weren’t you nervous? Giggling perhaps? Sensitive to every touch? Unsure if a noise you made or a facial expression would make you sound or look ridiculous?  Weren’t you going through a playbook in your mind of “how to do it right” after reading, hearing about, or watching the way two people “are supposed” to act when they are being intimate? Didn’t that playbook in your mind distract a little from your ability to enjoy the moment because you were so preoccupied with not doing something wrong (or the opposite)? Weren’t you a little afraid after the whole thing was done that the person would not view you the same anymore?

Now think about most young men and their first sexual encounter at all.  Isn’t there a running joke in society about how their first encounter “only lasted a second?”  Most NT men will willingly laugh about their early days of sex and how they were a “two pump chump” or a complete mess overall and not think much of the humiliation they actually felt during that time in their life. 

But, imagine if the mortification a young man has in his first sexual encounter never went away and he was always afraid he would experience premature ejaculation or do something wrong and be a disappointment to women for the rest of his life?  

Welcome to the life of a man with Asperger’s syndrome! 

Now combine that fear of personal embarrassment to an Aspie who is already riddled with social anxiety and confusion over the messages he is “missing” throughout his life. Think of the countless failures he endured in his attempts to form a close relationship with his peers, let alone a woman he really likes.  How long do you think it will take for that Aspie to develop an aversion or fear of sex in general if he is repeatedly told he is doing something wrong, selfish, or abnormal in bed?  Imagine how it feels to have it pointed out that he is finishing too soon, or asked if there is “something wrong?” with him after sex? 

An NT male usually (not always) learns to read nonverbal language in bed and eventually (through exposure therapy) learns ways to prolong sex or adapt to their partner’s unique desires.  An anxiety-ridden Aspie, terrified of screwing up or being labeled weird or abnormal (ESPECIALLY from the woman they have fallen for) only has compounding anxieties the longer they are exposed to sex.

 

Here is what this adverse reaction looks like:

 

NO INTEREST IN SEX

Some Aspie men (after hearing they are not pleasing in bed) forgo sex altogether because the humiliation and worry associated with it are too great to emotionally withstand.  They sacrifice something they really want to avoid the unpleasant emotions and thoughts that sex evokes. 

Regardless of how you spin it, your husband is still a man, and by nature, he has a fragile ego when it comes to society’s expectations in typical-male abilities.  Some Aspie men are so afraid of ever being called out on their inadequacies ever again in the bedroom they will purposely forgo sex altogether in their marriage (even though they still desire it) and develop an unnatural stoicism about the topic as though they are so “manly” they don’t require that kind of mushy-nonsense in their world to be happy. These men seem to be so indifferent to sex that they unknowingly project their assumed inadequacies on their wives and make them feel inadequate or undesirable themselves. 

In reality… these Aspie men would rather suffer the loss of something they truly crave and want for themselves instead of risking the loss of their spouse to their “incompetent skills.”

Well now…

that’s sad. 

ROBOTIC OR ROUTINE SEX

Think about how honest you were with your Aspie husband when you initially began having sex?  Did you openly complain about the way he moved a certain way, or something awkward he did during sex?

OF COURSE NOT, YOU’RE AN NT-e!

YOU WOULD NEVER HURT SOMEONE’S FEELINGS LIKE THAT!

How the heck could he know he was doing something wrong or displeasing if you never told him? I’ll bet by the time you did finally try to tell him to change something, you didn’t tell him directly, did you?  Nope.  You used gentle ambiguous words, you used suggestions, you tried to tell him with nonverbal facial expressions or body language, or you may have even disengaged him in sex for a while when he appeared to be ignoring your indirect requests.   

Guess what?  All of those efforts were completely pointless because he didn’t pick up on any of your messages at all!  What he did pick up on was that you were “being weird” and he wasn’t sure why.

Eventually you became irritated or frustrated with your husband “not taking the hint” about what you wanted (or didn’t want) in regard to sex.  I bet you even called him on some of the things you didn’t appreciate about your sex life in the heat of an argument didn’t you?  Unfortunately, if you are like most NT women, you probably clearly articulated angry words of disappointment or rejection toward your Aspie husband’s sexual abilities out of anger, didn’t you?  Your bluntness most definitely got through to him at that point. 

Ugh… this is such an unfortunate and common scenario!

So in all of the times you thought you were telling your husband (in nice ways) that you wanted more sex, wanted him to try new things, wanted him to pay attention to your needs more, wanted him to work on delaying his orgasm, etc. he wasn’t hearing you.  The first time he did hear you, it was in the form of utterly cruel rejection that he felt completely blindsided by. 

He couldn’t have known you had building frustration about your sex life (you never explicitly told him).  When you finally unleashed your frustration with unflattering and accusatory words, like, “You’re like a robot in bed!” or something equally hurtful… the only way he should have been expected to respond was with hostility and anger.  Why wouldn’t he?  To him, out of the clear blue sky, you insulted his manhood and attacked his fragile ego.  As an Aspie man, already incredibly insecure about his sexual performance, you just went for the jugular (to him) and maliciously informed him that everything he feared you would think about him… you did. 

Ouch… that must have hurt him. 

Of course, being an NT-e, you felt guilty for what you said to him and have acutely keen cognitive empathy so you had little problem identifying that your words hit him hard and they cut deep.  So what did you do in response?  You compound the routine and robotic sex by doing something so damn typical (and ironic) that it is almost comical when you look at it in retrospect. 

While your “outburst” of insulting your husband’s manhood may have been very well-deserved from your perspective, it was nothing more than a malicious act to humiliate him from where he stood.  In an attempt to mitigate the situation, you may have apologized or tried to explain yourself (this fell on deaf ears).  You may have a husband who withdrew from you sexually as a result of your words.  If he did this for a significant amount of time, it would have compounded your frustration and hurt feelings. 

But you were still a silly NT-e and you blamed yourself for “going too far” and you couldn’t wait for a chance to make amends for your hurtful actions. 

The next time you finally had sex again, I bet you were overly appreciative, complimenting, or even fake claiming it was “incredibly amazing” sex.  You may have done this in an attempt to erase the damage you had done.  You may have just been so thrilled he wanted to be intimate with you again (your self-confidence was also on shaky ground) that you were overly verbal about how much you enjoyed the sex because you were praying he didn’t stonewall intimacy in the future.  You knew what positive reinforcement was, so you were hoping if you praised his abilities the next time you had sex, that it would motivate him to want to continue having sex with you because, NT-e women crave physical intimacy… even if it doesn’t lead to intercourse.  

Oh man… now you’ve done it!

By providing your husband with that positive reinforcement after feeling so humiliated and insecure, he is going to make a mental note of whatever it is he did “that time” in bed that left you so pleased by him.  It was at your overly reassuring critique of sex that you unknowingly set the stage for him to repeat that intimate encounter (step by step) in every single sexual encounter to come in the future!  He has to repeat it exactly the same way because he doesn’t want to screw it up again.  You gave him confirmation that he did it right that time, so he is not going to want to mess with that recipe of success by changing it up in the future. 

Let’s say you never verbally unleashed your disappointment in him out loud. Perhaps you both existed in a relationship where you backed off from sex because you were not having your needs met but were “too kind” to openly tell him this. Eventually, you will feel rejected by your husband even if you were the one who stopped allowing it to happen in the first place.  Tired of waiting for him to initiate an intimate encounter, you may engage him yourself one night while in bed.  Your husband, no doubt, would also be feeling rejected from your withdrawal from sex, so he’d be absolutely ecstatic when you showed signs you wanted to be physical with him again.

Historically speaking, your Aspie partner really has no idea when you want sex if you do not tell him (he can’t pick up on your hints and body language).  On the night you suddenly act as the initiator, his mind will instantly try to nail down the action “he” made to get this wanted response from you.  He will quickly think, “Ok, what the hell did I just do to make her want sex?”  If he decides it was the way he brushed his face across your neck, or stroked your arm… there is a damn good chance he is going to try THAT MOVE again every single time he desires sex (thinking it is your trigger to respond to his wants).  Since most couples are timid sexually when they are newly together, your Aspie husband (clueless about what actions indicate it is “go time”) will automatically default to whatever he thought worked in the past.  He will also automatically default to doing whatever he thinks pleases you, and do it repetitively unless told otherwise.  

This is why Aspie husbands are constantly accused of being “robotic” in bed.

Often, we are so sensitive and attracted to our mate in the early days of courtship that even the most basic sexual acts or touches turn us on.  It is just the act of touch alone from the man we desire that sends us into a heightened state of arousal.   If you had this experience in the beginning, you will eventually realize that what once pleased you, is no longer enough after you settle into a long term relationship.  You’re Aspie husband will not have this same epiphany.  

Even if you never felt incredibly turned on by your husband in the early days of the relationship, you likely still pretended the sex was sufficient if you were hoping it would improve, or just wanting to remain with him into the future. This unspoken dissatisfaction will eventually cause you to feel frustrated that your needs are not being met.  

This happens in NT-NT marriages as well for similar reasons.  The major difference is that an NT partner will pick up on the nonverbal messages that something is amiss and has the ability to try to change things for the better… or at least address them openly.  The Aspie husband is not going to ever know things aren’t up to par (in your mind) and will continue assuming you are content in your sex life unless you directly say something.

Regardless of how you initially behaved toward your husband regarding sexual intimacy, if you do not vocalize that your needs have changed, or become comfortable enough to tell him what you really want… he is never going to figure it out on his own!  If he thinks you are happy or satisfied from the beginning… he is not going to change his behavior because… HE IS TERRIFIED OF LOSING YOU and doesn’t want you do discover that he is not a “sexual genius” in the bedroom. 

You see… it was never about him NOT wanting to please you… 

it was about him NOT WANTING TO DISAPPOINT YOU. 

Your Aspie husband never knew, does not know, and will never know what you want UNLESS YOU TELL HIM.

He is NOT a robot so STOP enabling him to act like one.

PREMATURE EJACULATION (PE)

Let’s tackle this taboo subject once and for all. 

Premature ejaculation is the uncontrolled ejaculation that occurs either before or shortly after penetration.  PE happens with minimal sexual stimulation and before the person (or their partner) wants it to.  PE causes unsatisfied feelings for the NT wife and embarrassment for the Aspie husband. 

Going back to the “teenage or young adult” man in his early days of being sexually active, PE is an incredibly common experience and it can create anxiety for any young man… it can create debilitating anxiety for an Aspie who is already riddled with self-criticism and insecurity where interpersonal relationships are concerned. 

Despite PE being the most common form of sexual dysfunction for all men (NT or Aspie), it will happen to almost every one of them at least once in their lifetime… but it is rarely discussed.  The cause of PE is not clear, but it is associated with inexperience, new partners, or long spans of time between ejaculations.  The general opinion of medical professionals is that anxiety is the underlying psychological cause for the majority of men who suffer from PE.   

Since it goes without say (I hope) that men with Asperger’s syndrome are plagued with chronic anxiety in social environments, it would make sense that men with Aspergers are at an incredibly heightened risk of experiencing PE over the average man. 

But let’s talk about other reasons this is so common amongst Aspies.

Tourette’s syndrome is the involuntary movement or vocalization of sounds made by a person intermittently and seemingly without cause.  These movements or sounds are called motor or vocal “tics” and become more severe when a person is stressed or placed in an anxiety-provoking environment. 

Premature ejaculation is just like Tourette’s syndrome (ok, it isn’t… but try to play along with my analogy).  Let’s say a person has Tourette’s syndrome and their particular tic is a noticeable shrugging of their shoulders that can often seem dramatic and distracting to those around them.  This person has a unique “tic” that once you become aware of it… you can disregard it as anything “bizarre or worrisome” and may even look past its existence after a while.  When you are in public with this person and realize they are feeling anxious, you may notice they are shrugging their shoulders in an increasing and more dramatic way.  If you are close to this person, you may think, “Ok, that’s their motor tic, they are stressed, no biggie.”  It will be easily accepted by you that increased stress means an increased display of the severity of this person’s motor tic.

Now think about PE.

If a young Aspie has the same experience as a young NT in their first sexual encounter, whereby they reach orgasm long before they intended to, they will feel anxiety about the reoccurrence of it in a similar way. 

While both men are equally embarrassed and afraid they will continue to experience PE in the future, the NT male may read about ways to offset this or delay orgasm and put them into practice the next time.  Relaxation and focusing on other things is one of the most recommended tactics to utilize as a first line of action toward preventing PE. 

The Aspie may read the same stuff, but they are at a severe disadvantage to the NT the next time they are placed in an intimate encounter.  The Aspie has a profound amount of anxiety JUST BEING in a “one on one” situation with a person they wish to be close to.  They have lived a life of rejection (for reasons unknown to them) and they are going to walk into each “date” or social event terrified they will screw it up or make the woman want to run from them. 

This fear does not get better after a grace period (as it might for an NT man) because the Aspie is truly not certain what he has ever done (or not done) to cause social rejection throughout his entire life.

You can’t change something you can’t understand.

Since PE is predominantly a result of anxiety, the Aspie man is effectively screwed when compared to the NT because he is unable to exist in a non-anxious state long enough to even attempt the suggestions that might help him delay orgasm in the future. 

If the Aspie man is afraid this will happen to him during sex, he is going to be LESS likely to ever prevent it.  Just like Tourette’s syndrome, the tic is an “uncontrolled and involuntary” action that becomes more severe as stress increases.  PE is an uncontrolled and involuntary action that becomes more likely as anxiety increases.

That seems pretty simple…

It sucks…

But it definitely makes rational sense, right?

I know there are tons of people who want to claim that the PE experienced by Aspies is a direct result of their Asperger-induced sensitivities.  I have a lot to say on the subject of tactile, audible, visual, etc. “sensitivities” that those with Asperger’s syndrome continuously sight as the “reason” for their behavior (from avoidance to full-on temper tantrums).  Since I have another long post dedicated to this subject, I will only say that while I do not discount the fact that Aspies have an increased likelihood of such sensitivities, I do think they need to stop hiding behind them as an excuse.  I believe strongly that all of these “sensitivities” are modifiable and preventable if the “cause” is looked at closely.  I do not endorse the use of them as an excuse to disengage or inappropriately respond to people or environments.

 

Dammit…

Now I have opened that can of worms and I haven’t put up that post yet to back my “inconsiderate” opinion.  

Ok, I feel compelled to offer a few examples to offset the anticipated onslaught of defensively angry Aspies who will chastise my words…

I am a nurse and I have seen countless examples of how the human brain causes automatic physical responses to protect itself from a perceived threat.  For example, if a person has had their leg broken, they may have excruciating pain when someone touches that extremity.  They may have damaged nerves that compound the sensitivity and a seemingly gentle touch may feel as though a person is squeezing, stabbing, or crushing their poor broken limb. 

While this person’s sensitivity is the direct result of a traumatic injury, their brain will begin to create an automatic response to any degree of physical contact with that leg to tell them they are in danger… to the point that if a person even comes close to it, or they “think” the nurse is “going” to touch their leg… they will shriek out in pain as though they have been severely hurt. I do not doubt they are actually feeling the very pain causing them to cry out, even though the nurse hasn’t even touched them!  Why?  Because the brain is telling them they are going to be harmed and it is causing the physical manifestation of discomfort to thwart further injury to their already compromised leg. 

The brain is incredibly defensive of the physical self. 

Here’s the thing… this same patient won’t even flinch when the nurse is actually touching (and sometimes with pain causing actions) their broken leg if they are in a deep sleep and have no knowledge an “attack” is approaching.

Fear of pain causes actual pain.

Want another example?  Ok, let’s say there is a woman who was physically abused by her uncle at a young age.  Every time this abuse took place, it was in the uncle’s kitchen, where fluorescent lights were overhead.  Without realizing it, this child may have had neurological synapses connect themselves to the parts of the brain that process both light and fear. In an attempt to protect the physical self from further assault, the brain has now made a connection that the young girl is completely unaware of. 

As an adult, this woman may find herself stricken with paralyzing anxiety and fear the moment she is placed in an environment with fluorescent lighting.  She may have no idea why this occurs, since she did not consciously connect fluorescent lighting with physical abuse as a child… but it doesn’t make the trauma she experiences when placed in such lighting any less profound.

Fear causes actual physical responses to a threat.

Tracking?

Going back to the idea that PE occurs at a higher rate for Aspie men because they have all of these debilitating sensitivities… “caused” by Asperger’s syndrome itself, is not really true.  The sensitivity to touch that causes PE is because of ANXIETY, therefore, the brain connects the sexual act of touch as a perceived threat to their physical self and how their body suffers when it is in an anxious state.  This connection between touch and anxiety can cause an unconscious aversion (sensitivity) to it. 

Aspie men are fearful they will experience PE and their body may become hypersensitive to touch in general… this can turn into a husband who tells their wife they don’t want to be “touched” at all.  Naturally, the reason for his words are not understood and make the wife feel unwanted and rejected.  He is not going to be able to articulate why he has this sensitivity and he is most definitely not going to realize that thwarting physical contact makes his wife feel unloved. He can’t make this connection unless she directly tells him how it makes her feel.  

Once again, if a man is afraid of reaching orgasm too soon and disappointing his wife or being viewed as inferior or abnormal, he is going to become anxious about it.  If he is anxious, the likelihood of ever preventing it from happening becomes an impossibility.

It all comes down to using direct language to express what you are thinking and feeling to the person you are married to. 

If the Aspie husband knew that his wife understood WHY he had this problem and that she did not think less of him for it… she might help ease his anxiety (which could slowly begin to fix the problem).  If the wife were able to verbalize to him that there are other things he can do to “compensate” for it that will make both partners feel loved and sexually prioritized, the feelings of anxiety and self-criticism can begin to wean as well (over time). There are ways to improve and work on these issues but they require direct communication and willingness to listen.  

Don’t expect your husband to joyously engage in this discussion with you.  Actually, you should anticipate an impressing show of hostility at first.

Remember that anger masks all of his other emotions.  If you remain calm and allow him to speak (and do not overwhelm his mind with flurries of words he has to decipher) you will see other emotions lurking behind his seemingly “hostile” behavior. 

While your husband may continue to speak with a loud, nasty, or angry tone; listen to his actual words… you will usually find a wide range of other emotions and feelings being expressed like fear, embarrassment, anxiety, stress, rejection, etc.

It is absolutely imperative that an NT spouse understands that her husband cannot receive her nonverbal messages because he does not have cognitive empathy.  It is even more important to realize that lacking cognitive empathy means her husband has NO CLUE how his own nonverbal messages are being presented to the outside world. 

Your husband does not know he sounds angry, he does not know he appears irate, he does not know his tone and pitch sound accusatory or cruel.  He is not intending to do this (sometimes he is) but more often than not, he has as much awareness about how his words and behaviors appear to you… as he does about what your words and behaviors should mean to him.

 

YOU HAVE TO START LISTENING TO WHAT HE IS ACTUALLY SAYING, NOT THE WAY HE IS SAYING IT!!!

Oh, by the way…

Your husband suffers from Premature Ejaculation because,

HE IS AFRAID HE WILL SUFFER FROM PREMATURE EJACULATION

(Enjoy that irony!)

IN CONCLUSION

Stop assuming your husband is not interested in sex. 

Stop assuming your husband doesn’t find you attractive. 

Stop assuming your husband is selfish in bed. 

Stop assuming your husband is an asshole in general. 

Start taking a step back and looking at this entire dynamic from outside the box.

The answers you seek are just lurking behind your ability to communicate with direct language.

 

Still think your husband has something “wrong” with him sexually?

Think maybe there is just something “wrong” with the way you communicate instead?


9 Responses to ASPERGER’S SYNDROME & SEX

  1. Avatar Johanna
    Johanna says:

    I really enjoy reading your stuff. You are so insightful and I love how you explain it all. I’m married to an aspie and all of this really helps . Although I have to share this stuff a little at a time to him or he gets overwhelmed with all the info.

  2. Avatar Silver
    Silver says:

    I’m commenting here (finally) but not specifically in relation to this post but all of them…as I think I have frantically flitted between most of your posts in the last week and read a few of them at least three times. And look forward to anything that is yet to come. You amaze me. I am astounded by you. You are obviously just an amazing and beautiful soul and you have reduced me to some of my most heart-felt tears with your words and your honesty and your dedication and your intelligence and brightness!! I’m so sorry you went through all you have but honestly how amazing are you to be doing this!! Thank you Thank you Thank you xxx

    I feel like you saved my life as I only just realised that my partner most likely has (I’m being PC – without a doubt has) Asperger’s. I’ve been questioning whether he is a sociopath for the last 4 months – I’ve been trying for the life of me to reconcile how on earth it is that this man I see SO much good in…can also behave like a complete and utter arsehole beyond belief (turns out he’s not…turns out he’s not a sociopath after all!!!!!) I’ve been trying desperately (feeling like the entire world is against me) to reinforce in myself that I am a compassionate, loving, intelligent, strong woman who set healthy boundaries at the same time – but lately I had reached the point of “maybe I am crazy” “maybe I am irrational, overly emotional and delusional” – my whole immune system was breaking down and I have been experiencing this all as I raise my first child (seemingly alone) he turns 1 in a few weeks. Whoa turns out I’m not!! I’m actually the woman I thought I was! Faaaar out what a ride. I felt (and still do feel some of these) completely and utterly broken down, emotionally exhausted, loathed, confused frustrated, despairing, alone, isolated, misunderstood, terrified. One example from only 3 weeks after giving birth – I was fresh out of hospital after being taken by ambulance for a severe case of mastitis and on IV antibiotics for 5 days when my partner came home from being away (fully aware of what had happened) and asked me why I hadn’t mown the lawns!!?? I still cannot fully compute this. But you have given me hope. You were the first beacon of light (I have to stop talking like that if Im going to learn to communicate in the absence of cognitive empathy lol….) that shone on a VERY dark situation. I’m still terrified but I am also relieved, exhilarated excited, ready to fall in love again (don’t want get ahead of myself – but I love this guy so much!). I could go on forever…but I also wanted to share a page of quotes I just found that ring so true to me right now and may help others. I picked this one because I am most concerned for my ability to accept that I may have to be my own compassion and care and look for intimacy within myself. Might seem cheesy to those who can’t relate to it – fair enough – but to me it is oxygen and water right now!! I will include the link below.

    Thank you. For everything.

    “The most intimate relationship we will have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves.
    No one hears our hearts the way we do.
    No one knows our hurts the way we do.
    We are the sages of our soft spots and our edges.
    Self-compassion is showing up to that relationship with honesty and with love.”
    – Jamie Ridler –

    http://palousemindfulness.com/quotes.html

    Love
    S

    P.S I am aware that I seem very self focussed right now – it’s a SURVIVAL mechanism. But I assure you my whole stream of consciousness is focussed not only on self-love but on how I can best communicate with the man I love (to get the best for both of us) that has also no doubt suffered immeasurable amounts and needs zero judgement and 100% love/ patience/understanding.

    • Silver,

      Beautiful quote and so very true; it is so very hard to develop that relationship with ourselves! Thank you for sharing it. I am a quote junkie… if you read about what I did to my bedroom walls with quotes, you can see how important those words of inspiration are to me. I had one quote on my desktop for several years (not sure who the author was):

      “The ugliest thing that I have ever seen is a human being without compassion.”

      Every time my husband used my laptop I could see him get agitated reading this quote and it did not occur to me when I put it up how badly it hurt him. I never stopped to consider that he was angry because he knew damned-well I was referring to him, and he had compassion (if he did not, the quote would not have phased him, right?). It is an awful thing to think the man you love fits into that quote and it is the nagging fear in our mind that “he does” that makes us lose our own compassion for them. Ironic.

      My husband HATES quotes to the point that he calls me on anything I say to him that sounds “deep or meaningful” by snarking back, “Yeah, nice quote, I can regurgitate stupid shit I read all day too!” Lol, he doesn’t buy that I pulled many of the things I say to him out of my own butt, he thinks I am just feeding him someone else’s thoughts. I don’t let it stop me though… I write them down and I place them all around my home all the time. My daughter and I sometimes write an inspiring quote on the bathroom medicine cabinet to share with one another when we are missing each other physically with our job/school schedules. I love them and I recommend them to anyone who is emotional and struggling. There have been MANY days that I felt negative, hostile, weak, or sad and pulled up a bunch of inspiring quotes that made my mood shift entirely. Music does this for me also. Perhaps it is the meaning behind the literal words (of the most encouraging quotes) that makes my husband hate them; if he is only reading the “literal”, they obviously would sound pretty darn stupid in such a context!

      I never thought about that until just now, so thank you for making the wheels in my head turn in a progressive motion. 🙂

      I laughed when I read “my partner most likely has (I’m being PC – without a doubt has) Asperger’s.” Isn’t it silly we question something like that when we know (without question) it explains everything? When you are with someone long enough and you stumble on Asperger’s syndrome… there really is a light bulb or Oprah “Ah ha!” moment that you cannot deny! No one really needs an official diagnosis unless it will help the AS individual themselves begin accepting the difficulties they have endured (we are more than capable of diagnosing it ourselves since we live in it!).

      I really hope someday there isn’t a “diagnosis” at all and we manage to exist in a world that just grasps some people have cognitive empathy, and some don’t. I like to think of it like the recessive red-hair gene… being a redhead is not common, it is just different. 140 million people have red hair. Yup, I would have to say that redheads are more of a minority than people who have zero cognitive empathy!

      Thank you for your undeservingly kind words! I sincerely appreciate them and they definitely motivate me to keep writing posts as often as I can, but I am no different than you. To me, the NT-e women who fall in love with and marry Aspie men… we all have a beautiful gift (curse?) in being compassionate people who want to help the greater cause (that’s why I boldly assume most are in a profession that puts others first, like healthcare, teaching, or dedicating their life to raising a family).

      I don’t have anything special to say in regard to who I am as a person (I am still very critical of my cynical and opinionated attitudes); I just REALLY frickin love my husband! In the same breath I claim to be selfless, I am equally selfish because I definitely DID NOT want to be proven wrong about the man I fell so hard for.

      Before you give me too much credit; I really began writing because I promised myself I would if I ever saw a transformation in our relationship. I didn’t do this because I wanted to share how great things were in “my” personal life as much as I wanted to share how pissed off I was that Aspie husband’s were deemed “impossible assholes” and that NT-e women were deemed “emotional basketcases.” If I was going to prove I wasn’t a nutjob, I had to start by proving my husband wasn’t an asshole! 🙂

      My anger fueled a lot of the inspiration to start writing, so I am not certain how “amazing and beautiful” my soul really is when I just set out to thumb my nose at the greater population lol. Maybe I am more of an argumentative and obnoxiously stubborn jerk than a humanitarian?

      I am sorry for the pain you have experienced and I do not know what it is like to have a child with an Aspie husband… but I imagine the expected relationship challenges any new parents find are a billion times more stressful. I swear though, someday I am going to open the floor up for “the worst behaviors and experiences ever” so that we can get it all out there for those who wonder if their husband is the “worst example of negative Aspie behavior.”

      I don’t want to do this yet because I need this website to create a foundation of hope before I allow the “bitch sessions” to be posted (there is already plenty of that to go around!). I say this because to date… I still think my husband is the ultimate “Asshole Aspie” and some of his behaviors would make the readers think, “Well damn, at least my husband isn’t THAT bad!”

      After I get my “original 30” posts up, I will share the top 10 “worst” and see who can top it! I think it can be done in a positive way to show that even the “ultimate defiant Aspie husband” and “neurotically hysterical woman” can turn their lives into something so wonderful!

      I read the lawn mowing story you wrote and wanted so badly to “top you” with some of my husband’s most “prized” moments of jack-assery… but I am going to hold back for now (until it can be posted with a light heart to reflect on). Just know that the worst behaviors and comments that make you stop and think, “Dude seriously, he has to be a sociopath!” are not uncommon and in the end… they still don’t warrant him an Antisocial Personality Disorder diagnosis!

      You are not alone. Smile through it for now and realize those incidents are going to be a comical reflection someday. 🙂

      As I tell everyone, thank you, and please keep sharing!

      -Kara

  3. Avatar Silver
    Silver says:

    woah…

    Could our minds and our hearts be big enough just to hang out in that space where we’re not entirely certain about who’s right and who’s wrong? Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way, because we’ll find ourselves continually rushing around to try to feel secure again—to make ourselves or them either right or wrong. But true communication can happen only in that open space.
    – Pema Chodron –

  4. Avatar Jemily
    Jemily says:

    Such a marriage savior this post. Thank you so much, Kara. You are amazing.

  5. Avatar Cathycathymajors
    Cathycathymajors says:

    B. S. I have been and continue to be more than loving and supportive to my husband. He does not touch me and that rejection is killing me. With what is left of my self esteem I can say that I am a beautiful woman. My neighbor and husbands friend often tells me that if I was his he could not keep his hands off me. At times he has tried to put his hands on me. I respect my husband and will not let this happen. My husband pretended to sexually desire me until the day we were married. Then that day, the first day of our marriage he proceeded to tell me that he does not need to have sex. I would never and have never made fun or ridiculed my husband in any way. But I am emotionally diving here. So this time you do not know what you are talking about. Because your husband touches youc

    • First, thank you for being one of the brave individuals willing to share their story. It is not easy to put your private life out there for public consumption, so it is important to me that I thank you for having the strength to do that… every story shared holds the potential to reach someone in a profound way.

      Second… I completely appreciate your desire to call bullshit on my generalization of Asperger husbands and intimacy! I try to be completely transparent in the fact that some of my findings are purely speculative, lacking scientific data to substantiate them as valid across the board. I began this post by disclosing that the information contained within it sprung from my own imagined “Kara-Statistics.” I use this term frequently to highlight my own conclusions based on personal experiences and the exhaustive efforts I have put forth in reading about other couples who share similar stories. In no way will I ever suggest that my opinions are anything more than that; I openly admit that I do not have the professional credentials to warrant blind faith from the public in any of my theories.

      On a side note… I must point out (again) that despite lacking the “professional authority” to offer my opinions as valid, I still have little faith in those who currently claim to warrant such trust. Unfortunately, we are in uncharted territory by way of professional literature and scientific data because Asperger’s syndrome has been lost within the propaganda movement of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

      So, in a world where information does not readily exist; I write to offer any degree of assistance I can to those desperate for answers. They won’t always resonate with the readers and I know this.

      With all this being said…

      I am so sorry for what you are experiencing and that your husband appears to fall into my guesstimated 10% of Aspie husbands that are entirely disinterested in physical contact and emotional intimacy. I have a pending post about High Functioning Autism vs. Asperger’s syndrome that offers legit scientific data (in conjunction with my opinion) that I think will address this sensitive topic in a more useful way for you than this post has been. I hate to leave you with such a non-beneficial response to your comment but I am truly lacking the free time required to even log into this website (which makes my heart hurt because this blog is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO ME!).

      I give you my word that if you check back in, by mid-June, you will find a ridiculously excessive amount of information to consider for your relationship. I am in the final stretch of what has been an exhausting military assignment overseas and will be returning to sanity very soon. I am committed to writing every chance I get so that the information I have can reach those desperate for insight, empathy, and potential tools to improve their marriage.

      Thank you again for your honesty and for having the courage to call B.S. as you see it. It was that exact desire within myself that motivated a lot of what I have posted to date. Hopefully you will be able to find value in some of my future posts and/or the writings of others brave enough to comment on this blog.

      – Kara