In last week’s adulting blog, I discussed being independent and having the ability to make your own choices and own them without feeling invalid. This week, while accepting more boundaries for myself made me understand that I, along with anyone else autistic or neurotypical, have rights for themselves. One of the struggles that I see in many autistics, including myself, is that of consent.
When we think of consent, we often think of sex because that is what it is commonly refered to. However, while autistics want relationships often as much as their neurotypical peers, they want to feel comfortable and safe in all aspects of their life. We are known as socially awkward and social construct and norms for us are always changing from person to person and confusing. While some of us want to be happy with someone, we also have to accept that the first opportunity that knocks may not exactly be the “golden” opportunity.
We as autistic beings must understand that when someone asks us to do something to or for us, that we must understand it, the consequences if any and know how it affects us. We may not know, and that is OK. We may also have experienced past traumas and when we are with our peers and possibly in our relationships we must define clearly what triggers us and ask for that gesture to be avoided.
Communication is a big takeaway in consent in any relationship or friendship. We are blessed with so many digital tools at our fingertips at exploring the world and they should be used to our advantage to ensure others know what we want and what we don’t want. It is OK to say no to things that you don’t feel comfortable with. Likewise, if you like something someone does for or to you, make that known. Of course, this can be a very fluid situation given the course of one’s day they are experiencing. So it should be known to repeat the process as necessary.
As autistics, we must understand the gestures of today’s world and understand social norms as confusing and consuming as they may be. When someone makes a move towards wanting us to accept something mutually about or with them, this can cause a very precarious or unwanted situation that can cause a trauma to oneself. I have found that watching video recordings provided a great resource on bettering the social gamut in this regard and by doing so has kept me aware of the ongoing process of keeping up with the trends of the world.
We must take our stand when we don’t feel comfortable with something and hold our ground and not cave in because we feel empathetic towards the other party. LIkewise, when someone tells you no, this can be hard to accept because we as autistics are sometimes very adamant about getting what we want that the last thing we want to hear when asking someone to consent to something in a friendship or relationship is being denied that request, especially if the feelings are within us and we don’t know how to release them in a healthy manner. Therefore, one should have a backup release plan in the event they are denied a request of something with a friend or someone they want to have a relationship with.
I completely get that things discussed in this blog post can be difficult to digest, but they have been on my mind and I feel I need to make the world aware that autistics have many of the same feelings as their neurotypical peers, yet we are at a great disadvantage when it comes to being educated on the nuances of things that they experience in adulthood. I know that more than most because as a man in my thirties, I am finally understanding that I am just as much as my neurotypical counterpart and that my feelings are valid, I am loved and I am enough.