I’ve written a book called Sex and the Single Aspie (SATSA). For over a year I worked on this manuscript against the backdrop of Paris, Rome, Athens, Frankfurt…and Buffalo, of all places. During this time I lived, loved, dated, played, spent time alone, had some triumphs and took some tumbles. All in the name of life, love, research and of course, sex.
Some people may giggle at the idea of this book on sex, but why? Sex is so utterly crucial to the perpetuation of our species, yet a lot of people don’t want to read about it, talk about it, hear about it, or anything! But Aspies, like all humans, are creatures of habit, and if we’ve developed some that are not serving us, we have to work extra hard to change them.
Some of you will think it’s exhibitionism. The purpose of SATSA was never exhibitionism, voyeurism or titillation. It was to help, to educate. We write what we most need to learn and I needed to learn about life and love. For I discovered a year ago or so, there was still so much about those things that I just didn’t have right yet. The search for love is not really the search for another person, it’s the search for yourself. It’s about exploring the limits of yourself.
For various reasons, Aspies don’t always have a natural ability to attract others. There’s something about us that other people might find a bit off-putting. We can be socially awkward and sometimes self-sabotaging, e.g. through things like oversharing. It wasn’t until my first visit to Rome that I really felt beautiful for the first time in my life, and fairly confident. (I will forever be grateful to the Italians for this.) Sometimes literal, mind-blind and unaware-of-how-we-appear-to-others Aspies need to be told that we’re pretty, desirable or beautiful or we will never know that we are any of those things. Sometimes the head games employed by those in other cultures are just too difficult for us to fathom, to read between the lines. And of course if we’ve had a difficult upbringing – sans love, understanding and advocacy – then low self-esteem to begin with only makes the climb to finding a partner or partners that much more steep and rocky.
There will be those who think SATSA is not feminist enough. Bear in mind I wrote this before the #metoo movement was in the forefront of our cultural mindset, but I have always been a feminist. It comes from me instinctively, not based on any sort of consensus or a politically correct platform. I have always been an advocate for the rights of older women to love who they want, for example. Ever since I saw The Graduate, ever since I was mortified when Karl Malden rejected Vivien Leigh in Streetcar for being older, and since I first read Colette’s Cheri, all as a 12 year-old girl, or thereabouts. The writings of Anais Nin made me want to be more free to express my sexuality without the shame attached by so many cultures. Women are bombarded with contradictions. While it is still difficult, this book helped me to make up my own mind, to sort the myth from the fact, opinion from reality, my wants and needs from the ‘shoulds’ dictated by others. I hope it may do the same for you.
SATSA is a very heterosexual story, as I mentioned in my YouTube videos and in the book itself. This is a memoir, so it’s one woman’s experience. I’m not gay and had no homosexual experiences while writing this, although I have had plenty in my past. So for those of you who are looking for enlightenment in regard to same-sex relationships you will not find everything you need here. But even so, many will relate to a number of aspects. For example, how sensory issues can play out in our choice of partners or in our enjoyment of sex. We may have extremely voracious sexual appetites because the physical pleasure we get from sex is incredibly intense, while for others it’s too much to bear to be enjoyable.
To be honest, I was surprised when JKP agreed to publish Sex and the Single Aspie because it is racy! I have a whole chapter called Penises. I touch on almost every aspect of sex you can imagine. While nothing is taboo in this book, it is not meant to titillate, but to relate and to educate. It was such an adventure writing it, I truly hope that you enjoy reading it. And I hope that you benefit from it and learn from it. I know I have. And I’m still learning. There will always be people that don’t understand you, that don’t appreciate you, that don’t ‘get’ you. We are each here to live our life and to fulfill our purpose. I feel my purpose is to create music, to love, to laugh, to enjoy my life, which was fraught with pain, anxiety, loneliness and confusion for most of it. I’m just trying to search for the good things – which, for many of us, includes sex – and then show other people the way, or which way not to go in some cases. I think that’s enough.
- If you would like to learn more about Sex and the Single Aspie, you can watch our video interview with Artemisia on YouTube.
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