Many autistic teens and adults are very passionate about a special interest. So, they invest an intense amount of time and energy into it. They can talk on and on about it. Often times, this extreme passion and interest extend to their relationship as well.
If you're familiar with autism, I'm sure you've heard of the term “special interests.” Everyone has something they have a passion for, or a hobby. Autistic people are no different. For us, that passion is often simply intensified.
Widespread stereotypes suggest that people with autism are incapable of feeling romantic love. In reality, people with autism can experience romantic love and often attach considerable value to their close relationships.
People with autism often experience love differently from neurotypical people. Their expression of love is less straightforward, as they tend to rely heavily on non-verbal communication. This can mean that those who are neurotypical may find it difficult to interpret the signs of affection.
People on the spectrum may have trouble recognizing their own emotions, or they may feel emotions more intensely. “There might be some biological differences in the arousal systems in the brain,” Beck says.
Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. It can be art, music, gardening, animals, postcodes or numbers.
People with autism spectrum disorder are sometimes said to lack empathy (the ability to feel along with others) and/or sympathy (the ability to feel for others). While this stereotype is often used to describe all people with autism, these challenges are not experienced by everyone on the spectrum.
How Does Autism Affect Intimacy in Sexual Relationships? Intimacy is the sharing of emotional, cognitive, and physical aspects of oneself with those of another individual. People with autism often have problems with rigidity and the need for repetition, which may limit the spontaneity and playfulness of sexual contact.
Individuals with autism can also have an aversion to touch. Touch can cause a lack of emotional response or may even cause emotional stress and turmoil. Touch aversion in autism can feel uncomfortable for friends and family who are unfamiliar with this common response.
They may show love, for example, through a practical act, and tidy up for you, or iron your shirt, rather than through a more neurotypical way of looking at you and telling you or using physical affection.
For those looking for a long-term relationship, you may have a lot in common with an autistic person. A 2010 study found that autistic people tend to be much more interested in long-term relationships compared with short-term flings.
While many children with autism feel averse to hugging, some children with autism like to be hugged. Some children can swing the opposite way and want so many hugs that they feel hug deprived when they aren't getting enough.
Many people with autism crave intimacy and love. But, they don't know how to achieve it in a romantic relationship. They can feel blind to everyday subtle social cues from their partner. This can cause conflict and hurt feelings.
Many autistics have a special interest or obsession that revolves around objects or factual topics. Some may be surprised to learn that a subgroup of autistics become fixated on people or a particular person. People-watching then becomes their "obsession" or "special interest."
These studies suggest that many individuals with ASD seek sexual and romantic relationships similar to the non-ASD population12,13 and have the entire spectrum of sexual experiences and behaviors.
Up to 90 percent of people with autism are either overly sensitive to sound, sight, taste, smell or touch, or barely notice them at all. Some seek out sensations by, for example, spinning in circles or stroking items with particular textures.
In children and teenagers with high-functioning autism, this can present as a limited social circle, difficulty completing group work, or problems sharing toys and materials. Many people with ASD have sensory difficulties. Certain tastes, noises, smells, or feelings can be intolerable.
One concept that alludes many autistics is flirting. It is a challenge because they're often very literal. When someone is flirting, they do or say things, that in a literal sense, don't make sense. This non-literal behavior can be very challenging for neurodiverse adults to understand.
Probably one of the most devastating myths for families is the misconception that children with autism cannot give and receive affection and love. We know that sensory stimulation is processed differently by some children with autism, causing them to have difficulty expressing affection in conventional ways.
Children with autism have also been shown to prefer musical learning compared to visual or auditory learning. Autistic children have a keen interest in music and remarkable musical abilities, which makes it easier for them to learn when music is made part of their learning.
Facial expressions smooth social interactions: A smile may show interest, a frown empathy. People with autism have difficulty making appropriate facial expressions at the right times, according to an analysis of 39 studies1. Instead, they may remain expressionless or produce looks that are difficult to interpret.
Better understanding of theory of mind was related to greater proneness to guilt and pride, but only for children with ASD. These findings are important because these complex emotions are linked with both positive and negative social behaviors towards others and oneself.
Unique shows of affection
People with autism may show their love by: sharing their special interest. allowing someone into their space. using alternative forms of communication.