working it out
It really sucks that during something that can make us feel lonelier than ever, the most dangerous thing is being close to other people. It is still safest to limit our up-close-and-personal contact, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still safely seek out and experience intimacy with new people, nor that there aren’t things you can do to make it safer if you do decide to get physically close to someone. Here are some basics to get you started.
The author of the new book Heavy Metal Headbang shares some of how dating went for her while recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and has a little advice for those with TBI who are dating, and those dating anyone with a TBI.
Dynamics like mine require a lot of honesty, and often speaking honestly can make you feel vulnerable, but showing vulnerability to a partner is a good way to build trust and intimacy. At the same time, you learn a lot about yourself as you're forced to ask yourself tough questions and to think carefully about what you want from a relationship and why - in turn, this makes you appreciate the reasons you want to be with your partner(s), and what it is about being with them that makes you happy.
Disability may feel scary if you’re new to it - there is a lot of language involved to learn, maybe more medical information than you feel capable of handling, or you might have a fear about possibly being cast in a caregiver role more so than a partner. All of these fears can be dispelled or addressed through ongoing, healthy communication. In my experience, disclosure is an ongoing conversation and there is no single “correct” way to do it, but there are ways that our partners can be stronger allies.
Suddenly, a person you’ve been regularly communicating with is M.I.A. Without warning, a fixture of recent life can become a memory. Somebody you’d bonded with has abruptly stopped contacting you. The text messages have ceased, all traces of their presence in your life have been yanked away by them, and without warning or explanation. But just because the experience is stressful doesn’t mean it’s impossible to endure. There are ways for autistic people to come out the other side of getting ghosted.
Being autistic, some things just haven’t come as naturally for me as they seem to for other people. Unfortunately, these have included hallmarks of American life often used to symbolize being “an adult” like driving on my own or getting my first paid job. But human beings are not on a strict timetable to do all the same things at the same time. This is just as true of dating like anything else. Just because you (or I) haven’t been actively dating when a lot of other people in your life have doesn’t make you (or me) a failure. You’re just on your own timetable. So am I.
If you’re a bisexual guy and you haven’t been with other guys yet, the idea might seem a little daunting, for a number of reasons. The reality doesn’t have to be so tricky, however, despite the worries you might have.
If you're here because you or your partner(s) have experienced pain with anal sex, you’re in the right place, regardless of whether the pain has happened multiple times or just once. I’m here to shine some light on anodyspareunia, a fancy name for anal sex being painful.
Relationships, like gender and sexuality, don’t fit into a binary. The phrase queer platonic, which comes from the asexual community, means a deep and meaningful intimate relationship which isn’t based on sex. You can have this with anyone – no matter their gender or sexuality. Perhaps if the term were more normalised (I hadn’t heard of it before researching this article), more people would be comfortable with such a relationship.
Two smart, insightful and autistic people who like talking about relationships walk into an interview. What comes out is this fantastically rich conversation between Scarleteen columnist Douglas Laman and Love and Asperger's author and therapist Kate McNulty.