Pop culture stereotypes of “absent-minded professors,” “geeks,” and “nerds” are familiar labels to most of us, conjuring images of rather odd and laughable eccentrics. Interestingly, these eccentrics of all genders and persuasions, once thought of as unpopular and sexually unattractive, have been experiencing a pop culture makeover. They're now hailed as “technosexuals” or as smart and sexy “nerd chick love goddesses” (terms found on the internet). Computer and technological proﬁciency is not only hip, it’s essential, and so it makes sense that those most technically adept are ﬁnally getting some respect (and maybe even a little “nookie”). These stereotypes exaggerate many characteristics - and difficulties - similar to people with traits of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), though not everyone with AS or autism traits is automatically a techno wiz.
Beneﬁting from a new gloss of mainstream sex appeal is one thing and navigating the tricky social rules of dating or long term relationships is another. People with Asperger’s Syndrome who are sexually active (or who’d like to be) are interested in physical pleasure and release, as well as some form of emotional connection.
However, in order to pursue either or both, people with Asperger’s Syndrome generally have to contend with extra challenges:
• sensory integration issues which can interfere with or limit their sexual and/or emotional expression with partners;
• a lack of understanding of “the rules of the game” with regard to dating and not understanding how or when to progress to the point where sexual activity takes place;
• not knowing that any given set of social rules may not apply universally, and that sociosexual rules, expectations and behavior may be different depending on individual, location, social group, etc.;
• an unusual or limited understanding of boundaries and “personal space,” which sometimes results in giving the wrong impression by standing too close to a person, or missing what is meant by another person’s body language and sexual signals, etc;
• their own inability to express their feelings in a sentimental manner, often expected as customary in intimate relationships as deﬁned by neurotypical (average, non-Asperger) expectations;
• being perceived as odd, unsophisticated, antisocial, cold, boring, clueless, unfashionable, naive, or many other social traits which may not fit with a given set of people;