sexuality

thoughts on dating while autistic

Anonymous said to :

Hi! I’m autistic, and I’ve never dated anyone, although I have been asked out before. Truthfully, I’m terrified of dating or being in a relationship, because I’m almost 18 and I’ve never even kissed anyone before, and I’m embarrassed!

I’m a pretty attractive girl and very good at hiding my autism, so people are interested in me at first, until I totally mess up flirting because of my social awkwardness.

Can you tell me what dating/relationships are like, so I know what to expect/how to act? thanks!

realsocialskills said:

I can’t answer this directly because dating and relationships are different for everyone. They aren’t about scripts; they’re about building something with another person that works for both of you. I don’t know what they will be like for you. That is something that you will figure out as you get more experience.

But I can tell you some related things:

It’s ok to be embarrassed. Figuring out dating is embarrassing for most people. That doesn’t mean that you can’t date or have relationships. It just means that you will be embarrassed sometimes.

Flirting is at least sort of embarrassing even when it’s working. Figuring out whether or not someone is interested in you is at least somewhat embarrassing for almost everyone. Flirting is a way to make the process of figuring it out more pleasant than embarrassing.

Flirting effectively is a bit like learning to play the violin — just like initial attempts to play the violin sound terrible, initial attempts to learn how to flirt tend to be acutely embarrassing. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It just means that there’s a learning curve.

Also — it’s not unusual to be 17 and not have kissed anyone yet. Sometimes the way people talk about teenagers can make it sound like everyone is dating and having sex, but it’s not true. Some people are, and some people aren’t. Both are ok. A lot of people your age haven’t kissed anyone. And the people who are kissing others also get embarrassed and unsure of themselves.

(It would also be ok even if it was unusual. It’s ok if some things are harder or take longer for you than they do for most people.)

Many of the skills involved in romantic relationships are the same skills involved in friendship. And one of the most important skills involved in friendship is figuring out how to tell whether you like someone, and whether they like you.

Figuring out whether you like someone can be hard for a lot of autistic people. Among other reasons, a lot of us are taught that we have to be friends with anyone who will tolerate our company. That’s not how dating works and it’s not how friendship works either.

If you don’t like someone, you shouldn’t date them. If you don’t like spending time with someone, you shouldn’t date them. If you’re hoping that they will change dramatically, you shouldn’t date them. It’s only a good idea to date someone if you like them and enjoy their company as they are now. You can’t build a good relationship with an imaginary person.

Similarly, it’s important to only date people who like you. People who are hoping that you will change, or who want you to act nonautistic all the time, are not people who like you.

You can’t become nonautistic to please people who find autism repellant, and you aren’t going to be able to hide autism from them forever. It always becomes noticeable sooner or later, because autism affects you and your experiences and impairments matter. You are who you are, and your disability is part of that. And that’s ok, because disabled people can date, and we can do it well.

The most important thing to know about dating and relationships is that, in good relationships, the people involved like and respect each other. Respecting and liking yourself is an important part of learning to build a mutually respectful relationship. Liking yourself helps you to like others; and to tell whether others like you. Respecting yourself helps you to learn to treat others respectfully; and to understand whether or not the ways others are treating you are ok.

From the way you phrased your ask, I think that you might be having a lot of trouble feeling ok about yourself as an autistic person. I think that it would help you a lot to work on understanding that it’s ok to be autistic, and that you can be a fabulous autistic human being.

It sounds to me that you think that you have to pass as non-autistic to be dateable. You don’t have to do that. Autism doesn’t prevent kissing and it doesn’t prevent love.

A lot of autistic people struggle to feel worthy of love and friendship. A lot of us feel repulsive a lot of the time. We’re often made to feel that our thoughts, feelings, interests, and body language are disgusting flaws. But they are not. We’re ok. Being autistic is ok.

We are beautiful. The way we look and the way we move and the way we think is beautiful. Autistic beauty is real, and there are people in the world who appreciate it.

We are often taught that, unless we learn to pretend that we’re normal, no one will ever like us. (That’s the basic message of the Social Thinking curriculum, for instance). We’re also often taught that we’re not allowed to make mistakes. A lot of us feel like every time we make a social mistake, it’s showing that we’re deeply flawed and hopelessly unworthy.

That makes dating really hard, because everyone makes acutely embarrassing social mistakes as they learn how to date. (And often even after they have a lot of experience.). It sounds to me like you might feel like you have to earn the right to date by never making any embarrassing mistakes. You don’t. If that was the standard, no one would ever be able to date. It’s ok to be fallible and embarrassed and unsure of things. You’re ok.

There are people who will appreciate your beauty. There are people who will find you attractive. There are people who will love you.

You can learn how to date, and you can do it as yourself.

Sexuality resources for people with disabilities?

Anonymous said to :

Do you have good sex ed resources written for and about people with disabilities? Bonus if there’s resources for nonverbal people or “low functioning” autistic people (scare quotes intentional, of course). (Also, it’s okay if you can’t fulfill this request entirely. I’m just frustrated that I don’t know where to begin.)

realsocialskills said:

I know a few possibly-useful resources:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Autism NOW published a handbook on relationships and sexuality, written by a variety of autistic authors.

I’ve heard good things about The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness. (I don’t know whether that book addresses cognitive disability or not; I think it is likely relevant regardless.)

Temple University has a project aimed at providing adult vocabulary for adult AAC users. That project has a relationships and sexuality section, with a list of words that need to be added to AAC devices.

Mayer Johnson (a company that makes a lot of communication symbols) has a symbol set called “Communicating About Sexuality”. I do not know if it’s any good, and I kind of suspect that it might not be, because they describe it as being primarily oriented towards preventing sexual abuse.

This page also has a few symbols relevant to sexuality, but apparently primarily in the context of enabling people to report abuse. Here’s another one with a similar agenda. (Hat tip: PrAACtial AAC.)

I know that Dave Hingsburger does ed classes primarily designed for people with intellectual disabilities, and that he trains people who teach them. I have not seen them directly; I do have reason to believe that they are good. I don’t know how to find out when they are happening.

Open Future Learning has a video module by Dave Hingsburger about sexuality. It’s a resource designed for staff; the website subscription model assumes that an organization is buying a subscription. If you contact them directly, it is also possible to buy an individual subscription.

Diverse City Press publishes expensive DVDs about masturbation, abuse prevention, boundaries, self-esteem, and power. I have not seen them (because I can’t afford to buy them yet), but I’ve heard good things about them from people whose judgement I trust. They also have a couple of good books about abuse prevention that touch on sex ed a little bit (they say, among other things, that it’s abusive to deny people access to knowledge about their bodies, and also abusive to try to prevent them from having consensual sexual relationships).

tl;dr There aren’t enough good resources on disability and sexuality. Scroll up for some of the ones I know about. Please comment if you know of something good.

Responding to desexualization without hurting others

Content note: This post is about ableism and desexualization of adults with disabilities. It is highly likely to be triggering to some people who have experienced degrading desexualization, as well as to some people who have been sexually assaulted or otherwise had people violate their sexual boundaries.

Anonymous said to :

As an autistic person I often feel desexualised, and I don’t like it but I feel sorta uncomfortable stating it for some reason? How should I like, deal with this and enforce my sexuality without making people uncomfortable?

realsocialskills said:

This gets really complicated.

Being desexualized is awful, and it’s also really hard to talk about without sounding like you feel entitled to sexual or romantic attention from other people. Especially when you’re talking to people who’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of intrusive sexual attention and who aren’t aware that desexualization also happens and is also a problem.

Another complication is that many adults really are asexual or aromantic. That’s an ok way to be, and it’s important to acknowledge that those people exist and aren’t broken. Objecting to desexualization does not mean objecting to asexual people.

People who desexualize adults with disabilities in these ways aren’t recognizing asexual adulthood; they’re denying disabled adulthood and expressing it in sexual terms. (And this denial of adulthood expressed in sexual terms also hurts asexual adults).

I think that desexualization is when people refuse to acknowledge or respect some basic things:

  • That you’ve reached adulthood or you are a teenager
  • That you’re as likely as anyone else your age to experience romantic and sexual attraction
  • That if you are experiencing sexual and/or romantic attraction, it’s as significant and important as attraction anyone else experiences
  • If you want to, it’s completely appropriate for you to act on your sexual and romantic feelings (either with yourself or consenting other people)
    • You have the same right to physical, sexual, and emotional boundaries as anyone else

    People who desexualize you might treat you inappropriately in group dynamics, eg:

    • By assuming that you will never have a crush on anyone in your friend group
    • By assuming that you don’t date for real and will always be available to go to couple’s events with someone who is caught without a partner at the last minute
    • By saying things like “I hate men/women/whoever. You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with dating them.“
    • Or like “It’s so great to talk to you about this stuff. I’m so tired of how everyone else is making the group awkward with their dating drama.”
    • Or venting to you about how hard it is for them to find a partner without considering that you might share this frustration, and that it’s probably harder for you than it is for them
    • Or making jokes about how you’re their ~boyfriend~/~girlfriend~, ignoring the possibility that you might want to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend and that you might, in fact, be attracted to them.

    People who desexualize you also sometimes don’t observe appropriate sexual boundaries, eg:

    • Assuming that rules of modesty don’t apply to you
    • Undressing in front of you (in a community in which it would normally be considered inappropriate for someone of their age and gender to undress in from of someone of your age and gender)
    • Touching you in ways that are considered inappropriately intimate in your social circles for people who are not romantically or sexually involved
    • Adopting suggestive poses or being inappropriately close (eg: by having their breasts or crotch way too close to your face)
    • (The rules of acceptable nudity, physical contact, and closeness are different in different cultures, and that’s fine. What’s not fine is having established rules of modesty/boundaries but ignoring them when interacting with disabled people)

    It’s ok to be angry about this kind of thing, and it’s ok to insist that people knock it off and treat you with more respect. It’s ok to expect people to respect your maturity, your romantic and sexual capacity, and your physical and emotional boundaries.

    For instance, it’s ok to say “I’m a grown man; you shouldn’t be changing in front of me,” or “I’m not your girlfriend; stop touching me like that,” or “I don’t want to go to that event with you unless it’s a real date,” or “I don’t like it when you make jokes about dating me,” or “I get crushes too you know.” This will probably make some people uncomfortable; and that’s ok. You don’t have to do all of the emotional labor of making social interactions comfortable; it’s ok to have boundaries even when other people don’t like them. It’s also ok to insist that people acknowledge and respect your age even if they’d rather see you as a child.

    It’s ok to be angry about people treating you badly in areas related to sexuality, and it’s ok to insist that they knock it off. It’s ok to be upset when you’re single and don’t want to be, and it’s ok to be upset about the role that ableism is playing in making it hard to find someone.

    It’s also important to be careful that this doesn’t turn into anger at people for having sexual boundaries of their own. It can easy for some people to become confused about this when start realizing that it’s ok to have sexual feelings, and not ok that others treat you as though your disability means your sexuality doesn’t count. If you’ve been treated as outside of legitimate sexuality for your whole life, you likely have missed opportunities to learn about consent and appropriate sexual and romantic interactions. That’s not your fault; it is your responsibility to address. Being the object of discrimination does not give you a free pass to violate other people’s boundaries, even if you’re not doing it on purpose.

    It’s important to keep in mind that no one is obligated to date you, sleep with you, allow you to touch them, consider dating you, justify their lack of interest in dating you, or anything else like that. (And that it’s not ok to hit on people if you’re in a position of power over them).

    You’re human, so it’s likely that you’re having some less-than-ideal feelings about this stuff some of the time. You might feel jealous, or upset, or even angry at people who haven’t really done anything wrong. (Because they’re dating visibly and you’re lonely, or because you asked them out and they said no, or other things like that which can hurt to see but aren’t their fault.) It’s ok if you’re feeling that way; you don’t have to have superhuman control of your feelings to treat people well. What’s important is that you don’t feed it, and that you don’t act on it.

    In particular, it’s important not to cultivate offense when people you’re interested in dating aren’t interested in you. That leads nowhere good. (eg: I got an ask about how to stand up to a person who was using disability as an excuse to grope people a while back.)

    Rejection sucks, and it sucks more when you’re already really lonely, and it sucks even more when you know that ableism is probably a major factor in why some people you’re attracted to aren’t interested. It can be really tempting when things are that hard to take offense. It’s important to stay aware that people who reject you aren’t wronging you, and to find constructive ways to deal with it that don’t involve contempt for the people you’re attracted to. (In particular, stay away from pick up artist communities. Adopting that worldview makes it much harder to learn about good consent and have respectful relationships).

    It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s ok for you to be sexual and to express interest in dating people. (Even if you encounter people who are profoundly uncomfortable with the idea of disabled people having and acting on sexual and romantic feelings. Those people are wrong.) Your sexuality is not ever the problem. (It’s possible sometimes that things you’re doing might be a problem, but having a sexuality is never a problem in itself.)

    In particular - if you ask someone out or hit on them and they say no, that doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. It just means that they aren’t interested. Asking people who turn out not to be interested is ok; asking is how you find out. You don’t have to be a mindreader in order for it to be ok to ask someone out.

    All of this can be really, really hard to navigate. I hope some of this helped.

    tl;dr Disabled adults and teenagers are often treated like children. People often express this in sexualized terms by assuming that disabled adults are all incapable of legitimate sexual expression. It’s awful to be on the receiving end of that. It’s also hard to talk about or object to effectively. Scroll up for more thoughts on how to navigate this.

    Detecting flirting

    Anonymous said:

    Do you have any advice for figuring out if someone is flirting with you?


    realsocialskills said:


    I’m actually really terrible at this. Someone else will probably have better advice.


    Here are some things I think I know about flirting:

    • If you’re blushing more than usual and it’s not out of shame, that’s a sign that flirting might be occurring
    • Someone who is complimenting you a lot might be flirting with you
    • Particularly if the compliments are on either your appearance or general qualities
    • Eg: Someone who says you are really smart or really pretty a lot might be flirting with you
    • Someone who says specific compliments on specific things is less likely to be flirting (eg: “I really like working with you because you cut through the layers of corporate speak to find the actual assignments” is less likely to be flirting than something like “I’m so happy to see you! You really brighten my day!”)
    • There’s a kind of flirting that is done with eye contact. It involves briefer glances than usual, then looking away, then looking back. I don’t know how to describe it well, but it’s a major component of flirting for a lot of people.

    People who are flirting don’t necessarily mean anything by it:

    • Some people only flirt with people they’re actually interested in dating (or being sexual with)
    • Some people flirt a lot, for fun, with people they aren’t particularly interested in dating
    • I don’t understand why people do this, and I’m not totally sure how to tell the difference.
    • (One way to tell the difference is that some people flirt who flirt for fun do it with people who are obviously orientation-incompatible, eg: a gay man flirting with a straight man; a straight woman flirting with women. That’s not totally reliable though, especially since someone’s orientation is often not what you think it is)
    • People who flirt in the presence of their partner usually are doing it for the sake of enjoying flirting. Flirting in this context is usually not for the sake of dating or sex. (This is not necessarily the case for polyamorous people.)

    Anyone else want to weigh in? What do you do when you’re flirting? How do you tell if someone is flirting with you? And how do you tell the difference between fun-flirting and serious flirting?

    To the creepy guy who reblogged the post about creepy guys

    Someone reblogged my post About Creepy Guys with a comment along the lines of:

    “LOL. I guess there’s no safe place for men to flirt with women anymore, unless they’re attractive guys.”

    Quote over.

    That’s a creepy comment.

    Here’s why it’s creepy. My post was about how it’s unsafe for women to reject unwanted attention, because men hit on them in ways that leave them no polite way to say no. Because men are allowed to implictly threaten women with impunity in public, and women who tell them off are seen as rude or otherwise bad.

    If by safe, you mean places in which your attentions are guaranteed to be welcome, then no, there is no safe place and there should not be a safe place. Women are allowed to be uninterested.

    Consensual flirtation is an offer. It isn’t a negotiation. It isn’t an attempt to pressure a woman into saying yes or convince her to do something.

    If you’re continuing the conversation after someone has made it clear that you want them to stop, you’re being creepy.

    If you’re flirting with someone in a place they can’t easily walk away from you, you’re being creepy. No one should ever be a captive audience for flirting.

    If you take no as a humiliating personal insult, you’re being creepy. No is the default. Most people aren’t going to want to date you or sleep with you. They are not wronging you by being uninterested.

    It’s true that hot guys tend to get away with a lot of things they shouldn’t. It’s harder to tell that someone has no regard for consent when you want the things they want you to want. It’s easier for people to tell that you’re being creepy if they aren’t attracted to you.

    That doesn’t mean it’s ok to be creepy, or that women are wronging you by being creeped out. It means there’s a bad thing you need to stop doing even though some people get away with it.

    I am not a butch woman but due to how I dress people interpret me as such. I have guys who get um “excited” and keep touching me I don’t know if its some lesbian fetishsizing thing or in their minds they think they can “convert” me. I also have had a lot of bicurious women randomly flirting or touch me sometimes even inappropriately because they seem to see me as some acceptable target to play with their sexuality I guess.

    sabrieln7:

    aura218:

    realsocialskills:

    Anonymous asked realsocialskills:

    Anonymous asked:

    Your most recent post about physical boundaries really hits home with me because I’m a butch lesbian and I’ve noticed that, the more I stand out as “different,” the more often straight / bi / curious women seem to feel entitled to touch me in exactly the ways you described. They freak out if I reciprocate the touch, and if I tell them to back off, they tell me I’m making things up or projecting my insecurities onto them or, worst of all, over-estimating my attractiveness.

    It seems like this boundary violation is a kind of microaggression aimed at me under the assumption that my gender presentation is evidence that I’m a pervert with infinitely huge sexual appetites and couldn’t possibly have boundaries to violate in the first place. Most hurtful of all is the way more gender-conforming lesbians point to this attention as evidence that I’m “highly prized and sought after” and therefore “privileged” in some way.

     Not really sure what I’m trying to say, no idea how to deal with this, just wanted to get it off my chest and see if other butch lesbians have the same problem. It really bothers me. So far the only way I’ve found to deal with this without huge fallout is to passively allow these women to touch me and not say anything about it, but I really hate doing that.

    realsocialskills said:

    I’m sorry that people treat you that way.

    I think this is a step above microaggression. Microagression is when someone does something that wouldn’t be a big deal if it happened occasionally, but which becomes a big deal when it happens routinely as part of a context of dehumanizing discrimination. What you’re talking about is a bigger deal.

    You are dealing with people who touch you with no regard to your consent, and then insult you in sexualized ways when you tell them to stop. That is beyond microaggression. This is predatory sexual behavior.

    It’s a big deal each time someone does that; it’s not just the context of anti-lesbian hate that makes it a big deal. It’s both the individual action and the context.

    It’s also a serious problem that people who should have your back are treating you like you’re the problem. You deserve better. No one should be touching you invasively, no one should be responding to your boundaries with sexualized insults - and no one should be blaming you or making excuses for any of this.

    I don’t have any good answers here about how to handle this, so I’m going to ask the rest of y’all. Are any of y’all butch women who have been treated this way? Have you found any responses that help?

    aura218 said

    I haven’t experienced this, but I’ve seen this happen in gay girl groups, so I absoltely believe this is a ‘thing’. 

    sabrieln7 said:

    I’ve seen this too. :-/ 

    I don’t know what to suggest other than to just say “seriously, can you not? I don’t like that.” 

    You’re gunna have to bring the tone down from joking to serious and it’s gunna suck, but if they’re any kind of friend to you, they’ll deal with it.

    The need to “save face” may result in some fallout, but hopefully it will be temporary, and then the behavior will stop.

    realsocialskills said:

    Have you seen this strategy work? It sounds to me like the kind of thing that *ought* to work, but I don’t know from experience that it does. Do you?

    Anonymous asked realsocialskills:

    Anonymous asked:

    Your most recent post about physical boundaries really hits home with me because I’m a butch lesbian and I’ve noticed that, the more I stand out as “different,” the more often straight / bi / curious women seem to feel entitled to touch me in exactly the ways you described. They freak out if I reciprocate the touch, and if I tell them to back off, they tell me I’m making things up or projecting my insecurities onto them or, worst of all, over-estimating my attractiveness.

    It seems like this boundary violation is a kind of microaggression aimed at me under the assumption that my gender presentation is evidence that I’m a pervert with infinitely huge sexual appetites and couldn’t possibly have boundaries to violate in the first place. Most hurtful of all is the way more gender-conforming lesbians point to this attention as evidence that I’m “highly prized and sought after” and therefore “privileged” in some way.

     Not really sure what I’m trying to say, no idea how to deal with this, just wanted to get it off my chest and see if other butch lesbians have the same problem. It really bothers me. So far the only way I’ve found to deal with this without huge fallout is to passively allow these women to touch me and not say anything about it, but I really hate doing that.

    realsocialskills said:

    I’m sorry that people treat you that way.

    I think this is a step above microaggression. Microagression is when someone does something that wouldn’t be a big deal if it happened occasionally, but which becomes a big deal when it happens routinely as part of a context of dehumanizing discrimination. What you’re talking about is a bigger deal.

    You are dealing with people who touch you with no regard to your consent, and then insult you in sexualized ways when you tell them to stop. That is beyond microaggression. This is predatory sexual behavior.

    It’s a big deal each time someone does that; it’s not just the context of anti-lesbian hate that makes it a big deal. It’s both the individual action and the context.

    It’s also a serious problem that people who should have your back are treating you like you’re the problem. You deserve better. No one should be touching you invasively, no one should be responding to your boundaries with sexualized insults - and no one should be blaming you or making excuses for any of this.

    I don’t have any good answers here about how to handle this, so I’m going to ask the rest of y'all. Are any of y'all butch women who have been treated this way? Have you found any responses that help?

    Saying no to unwanted touch

    Anonymous asked:

    One of my friends has recently begun touching me a lot, either by grabbing my hand or knee etc in situations that don’t necessarily feel they warrant such contact and don’t actually feel organic.

    At best this is just a case of her being too physical and making me uncomf, at worst, knowing that I’m queer, it may be that she is trying to make me her “experiment,” despite also knowing I’m in a monog. relat.

    I can’t tell exactly if I’m overreacting or not but either way, if this continues, I’m not at all sure I know how to handle the situation. It’s difficult for me to imagine navigating this type of conversation, esp if I want to keep the friendship (since I know what I would do if this was a situation with a man, or someone with whom I didn’t want to maintain a friendship).

    Plus, being a survivor makes navigating all of this all the more difficult. I would appreciate your advice, thank you.

    realsocialskills said:

    I don’t have a lot of experience defusing this kind of situation successfully, so I’m not sure my answer will be a good one.

    This is my best guess:

    First of all, I think you’re probably not overreacting:

    • When people repeatedly touch others in invasive ways, it’s usually not an accident
    • It’s really, really common for people to touch others in invasive ways that are just-barely-deniable
    • People who think others are touching them in creepy ways are usually right
    • This is especially true if the person who is touching you invasively *used* to only touch you in ways you were ok with

    Second of all, regardless of why she’s touching you, it’s ok to want it to stop:

    • There are all kinds of reasons that friends sometimes don’t want to be touched in various ways
    • If you don’t want her touching your leg or holding your hand, it’s absolutely your right to have it stop
    • If she’s doing this unintentionally, telling her in the moment to stop might solve the problem
    • Friends do sometimes inadvertently violate the boundaries of friends, *and if they respect their friends, they stop when they find out it isn’t welcome*

    Things you might say (possibly in combination with pulling away or pushing her hand away from where you don’t want it to be):

    • “I don’t like that”
    • “I don’t want to hold hands”
    • “Please don’t touch my leg”
    • And if it is repeated, you might add “I meant it”.

    She might respond by angrily denying that she’s doing anything wrong. That’s a sign that something is seriously wrong:

    • Telling her to stop touching you in ways you don’t like is not an accusation
    • It just means telling her that you don’t like it and want it to stop
    • It might hurt to hear that, because nobody likes hearing that they’ve done something wrong. But if she lashes out at you about it, that’s a sign that she feels entitled to your body
    • And whether or not it’s sexually motivated, that’s a major problem
    • I wrote this post and this post about that kind of reaction

    Captain Awkward also has a post on unwanted and possibly-sexual touching from friends  which might be helpful.

    Any of y'all have suggestions?

    16 ways to talk about consent

    kinkykinkshamer:

    1. “Do you like when I…?”
    2. “I like when you…”
    3. “Will you…?”
    4. “How does this feel?”
    5. “Do you want me to…?”
    6. “Do you want to…?”
    7. “Is there anything you want to try?”
    8. “Show me what you like.”
    9. “Do you want to go further?”
    10. “Do you want to stop?”
    11. “Can I…?”
    12. “Does this feel good?”
    13. “Are you happy?”
    14. “Are you comfortable?”
    15. “Are you having a good time?”
    16. “Is this good for you?”

    realsocialskills said:

    These are good phrases. I think the original posted was talking specifically about sexual consent, but many of these are useful phrases in other types of situations as well.

    Wishful thinking

    If you think someone is a jerk.

    And then you’re attracted to them sexually.

    Or they offer you a job you really want.

    Or they introduce you to a really cool group of people you look forward to spending time with.

    Or you otherwise want something from them.

    And then you stop feeling like they’re a jerk.

    They’re probably still a jerk. You were probably right the first time.

    If you think you’re right now, think through why that is. Why did you think they were a jerk before? Do you have new information? Has anything changed?

    Don’t just assume your now-good feeling about them is right.

    Wishful thinking is a powerful thing, and it can lead you astray.

    pervocracy:

    sexualfrustrationmama:

    we don’t need to “teach girls to say no”, we need to teach boys to take “no” for an answer so that girls who learn to say no, who already say no, who’ve been saying no can feel like it’s even a viable option that’ll have an effect in the first place

    Also: we don’t need to “teach girls to say no,” we need to teach girls to say “no” when they don’t want something.

    My sex ed class taught girls lots of ways to say “no” to sex.  The problem was that they didn’t teach that this had any connection to your actual desires—it was just something you had to do. Which is not empowering; when you teach “you’re supposed to say no; it’s not about what you want,” the implication that girls’ desires and decisions don’t matter came through loud and clear.

    It also implied, to the boys in the class, that pressuring girls and ignoring “no” were the only way they could ever have sex.  If girls are supposed to say “no” all the time, regardless of what they want, then maybe a girl who says “no” doesn’t really mean it.  And if girls are supposed to say “no” all the time, but heterosexual sex clearly still happens… it normalizes the idea that boys are not just allowed but expected to not take “no” for an answer.

    We really need consent education. Not just about sex. About things in general. About what it is and what it isn’t, and how to communicate.

    igotpillstheyremultiplying:

    Social skills for autonomous people: koalanoises: realsocialskills: hibikiniviking asked: What do you think…

    koalanoises:

    realsocialskills:

    What do you think about talking sexually (“I got a butt plug” kind of thing) in public (maybe at the mall) with friends? I like to talk about (often, gay) sex (it’s fun and liberating), and don’t care who hears,…

    igotpillstheyremultiplying said:

    Important also: this means that even if your workplace is say a queer positive type community centre, DO NOT share details about your sex life or who you think is “hot” in the workplace.

    I was a volunteer peer counselor somewhere and one of the staff members did this during our training and it made me really uncomfortable as a survivor, as well as being really unprofessional.

    realsocialskills said:

    Yes. Professionalism is actually *particularly* important in these kinds of spaces. People who come to queer positive spaces for support are particularly vulnerable. The last thing someone dealing with being mistreated for their sexuality needs is sexual creepiness from people in a queer community center.

    Also, when you’re dealing with sexual topics in a work or volunteer context, professionalism is especially important. The line between talking about sex and hitting on someone needs to be absolutely clear and not crossed. And making sure that remains the case needs to be a priority for everyone involved.

    Relationships

    Hi, would you be able to do a post on relationships at some point if you aren’t too busy?
    It’s hard for me to write general posts on relationships because I’m careful to avoid blogging about people I’m dating. That makes writing certain kinds of posts difficult.
    I’d probably be more able to answer a more specific question. Is there anything in particular you’re trying to figure out?
    ASAN and Autism NOW put out an ebook about relationships and sexuality a while ago that you might find helpful (even if you’re not autistic; it’s ok to learn from people who are different from you). It can be found here: http://autismnow.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Relationships-and-Sexuality-Tool.pdf
    Captain Awkward  writes about romantic and sexual relationships a lot. I don’t agree with her about everything (for instance, I think she overestimates the usefulness of therapy and ignores its dangers), but a lot of her posts are really helpful and insightful.