What’s In a Name?
The title of this site, “Carnal Chameleon,” is more than just a catchy alliteration with an adorable mascot. “Carnal Chameleon” is actually a great abbreviated description of my sex life. I was officially diagnosed with the Asperger’s type of Pervasive Development Disorder at age 7, however, my family originally suspected something was wrong at age 3. I would resist, sometimes physically, any sort of hug or comforting touch. I never showed any interest in playing with other children, but instead would play quietly alone. One thing that is worth mentioning, before we get into the meat of this article, is that autism spectrum diagnoses are kind of like the spectrum of sexuality. To pick a specific concrete label such as “Asperger’s” is doing a disservice to the individual who instead falls somewhere on an ever-evolving scale of possibilities. The observations I have on my situation will not necessarily match those of all who have received the diagnosis of Asperger’s, as we are as unique from one another as neurologically-typical people are from one another.
I’m From Another Planet
From what I understand, I see the world a little bit differently than most of you. I can’t speak with absolute authority on this since I can only vouch for the world as I see it. Frankly, most of you confuse the hell out of me. Living with autism is a lot like living on an alien planet where the creatures look to be the same species as you, but act in weird and unpredictable ways that you simply cannot understand. These aliens mistake you for one of their own, and often expect you to behave in ways that come naturally to them, but that you have no understanding of. Their form of communication is difficult to decipher, and they always seem to be operating with the benefit of some instruction manual that you have never been privilege to. I tend to be a very logical person, so when I was young this is exactly the conclusion I had come to. I believed that I must have been a transplant to this planet, sent away from my home planet at birth Superman-style for some unknown purpose. It comforted me to believe that somewhere out in the cosmos existed my real home, with people who acted in predictable, logical ways, and a society that was built for people like me.
A Chameleon Is Born
When it became apparent that my home planet was not staging a rescue attempt to take me back where I belonged, I had to find ways to cope with my exile on this planet. One of the coping mechanisms I developed is a behavior I like to call “Chameleoning”. When faced with a new social group, I will carefully study the group dynamics from a distance. Once I become familiar with the behaviors and expectations within the social group, I will don my new colors and attempt to integrate. It’s worth stating that I am by no means perfect at blending in, but often my disguise is enough to remain un-detected as the outsider I know I am. In many ways I feel I have no single true personality, and at most times in my life I am acting out some role or another. Fitting in on this alien planet is difficult work, but it’s the best chance I have at maintaining social relationships.
How does one go from being afraid of simple touch, to loving the most emotionally involved and intense form of touch? Not easily, and as you may suspect there is more to tell on this subject than can reasonably fit in a single blog post. The grotesquely simplified answer is a combination of “Chameleoning” and brute force trial and error. Sex as it relates to Autism is a subject that does not seem to be frequently discussed. I can assure you that we are in fact sexual creatures and we desire physical intimacy just as much as anyone else. The challenge in making this connection work can be a turn-off, but I see no reason why someone with differing neurology should have any less right to the joys of sexual exploration as anyone else. In fact, the sexual connections I have shared with people have been the most comforting and easy for me to understand. Perhaps sex, being one of the primal urges intrinsic to our survival, makes it the easiest form of contact for me to understand. After all, during sex is often the one time that people tend to drop typical societal expectations and rely on their most basic urges. The more basic the communication, the easier it will be for me to understand and to make a connection through.
This Chameleons Vision
I plan on having a lot of fun on this blog. I want to make people laugh about sex, and I want to engage them in topics that I find interesting. Of course, I love sharing my perspectives on sex toys and other sex-positive products and events, so there will be a fair amount of that here as well. My overall goal, however, is to open a dialog on sex and autism and to give the neurologically typical a glimpse of what it’s like to experience a sexual life among people that don’t think like you. I want to talk about my journeys involving various cultures and sub-cultures, and to encourage my fellow members of the neurological spectrum to explore their sexuality, even if they suffer difficulty with other social interactions. I want to suggest sexual exploration as a possible common ground, which we can all share. No matter if you are an alien or not.
Featured Image © Sarah Klockars-Clauser for openphoto.net