Dating through express sex
A constant complaint among the individuals interviewed for this piece is the misconception that people with autism can't express love or care for others.
“I think a lot of times someone will go out on a date with someone on the spectrum and think they’re a robot,” said Alex Plank, founder of Wrong Planet.net, a popular online autism community.
“Yet those feelings may be invisible to outsiders because we don't show them.
Because we don’t show them or the expected response, people make the wrong assumption about our depth of feeling about other people.”It’s not that individuals on the spectrum do not have the same desire for love; they just may not know how to find it. Elizabeth Laugeson, an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA said, “If you asked a person with autism if they wanted a romantic relationship, they would probably say yes, but they would probably also say they don’t know how to.”Partially from the emphasis on early intervention treatments, there's a dearth of dating skills programs, or, rather, effective ones for people on the spectrum.
“If you think about it logically, you say things you wouldn’t normally say, so it's harder.
They make eye contact and look away, and they look again and they look away,” said Laugeson.
While Paulette doesn't necessarily think women with autism have it easier than men, she has noticed that her neuro-typical dates have particularly valued many of her autistic traits.
“I’ve found that people who are neuro-typical really appreciate the qualities that people on the spectrum posses: complete honesty and almost an inability to lie,” she said.
Seemingly basic, non-sexual touching may be an issue, as well.“It may give them discomfort for someone to kiss them lightly or hold their hand,” Massey said.
“They need pressure, and that's not typically what you think of with tender, romantic love.”Perhaps because so much of their behavior runs counter to mainstream conceptions of how to express affection and love, people with autism are rarely considered in romantic contexts.