The impact of no healthy autistic asexual representation

I recently realised that I am on the asexual spectrum. More specifically I am greysexual. This means that I rarely feel sexual attraction, and can go a long time without sex with no issues.

Most recently, I went through an 8 year stint of feeling no sexual attraction, and engaging in no sexual activity.

Prior to this I had been through years of being hypersexual. This wasn’t because I wanted the sex, I was doing what I thought was normal. I felt like that was the only way of expressing romantic intimacy. It was traumatic acting against my own orientation.

The reason I did this, I believe (in part), was because growing up, I had never seen healthy autistic asexual representation in anything. As a teenager all I saw was stigmatisation of autistic asexuals.

Sheldon Cooper for example. As a teenager I really related to his character (although as an adult I see the problems with his character). Unfortunately, Sheldon’s implied asexuality was portrayed as childlike, and indicative of negative outcomes for adults.

I was taught by shows like The Big Bang Theory that if I wanted to be an adult who was accepted, I needed to be having sex. Sex was what drove adults. I never understood it, but there it is.

If you want to be accepted, you need to be having as much sex as possible.

That thought was bouncing around my skull for years. I engaged in sex despite not wanting it. I caused myself harm.

Perhaps had I seen healthy representations of autistic asexuals, I would have known it was okay to be me. Instead I masked my sexuality like I masked my autistic neurology. And as we all know, masking comes with a steep price.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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