Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Time for "The Talk".

Let me talk about a topic that I don't think too many people talk very openly about.

Your autistic child and sexual behavior.

I'd rather not think about it, I don't know about you.

But we can't ignore it.

Brian has always had that tactile urge to touch people's skin, he loves to lie by me and have his bare arm next to my bare arm.  He likes even better to lay his head on my belly.  And he really likes to try to touch my butt.

Yup, my butt.

Yet I don't see this as him having any sort of weird sexual urges.  It's that he is seeking this particular type of tactile sensation.  Sometimes I joke that it's my fault for breastfeeding him until he was 18 months old- that certainly got him use to having a LOT of skin-to-skin contact with me.

So this is one issue that I have to deal with.  I'm not an overly-modest person but I have to be with Brian.  I have to teach him what private time is, what private parts are, and what is socially acceptable.

Lately Brian has developed a fondness for his male parts.  Okay, this is perfectly normal.  It feels good.  You can't expect a child to not want to do something that feels good.

But....

Brian won't learn what is socially acceptable as easy as other kids.  I remember Corbin went through this stage and we talked about what we do in private and what we do in public and that was that.  He was good to go.  Brian isn't that easy.

Part of it was my fault.  I knew it would be a difficult concept to understand so maybe I just ignored the behavior for a little while (in the house, not in public- never ignored in public).  When really honestly I should have been strict on these rules from the beginning.  I should have been more firm with him, then I was when I had this lesson with Corbin.  Sometimes I might slack on some things with Brian, thinking he already has a ton on his plate, but I don't think this is one of those areas to slack on.

Since I've recently had the pleasure of meeting a few teenagers on the spectrum I have seen that some of them are dealing with these issues.  Why?  Because they have the SAME hormonal urges that every other teenager has, but they don't have the coping mechanisms.  They also don't understand those social rules that we all can understand without having them explained in black and white.  Unfortunately, people see these (frequent touching of oneself, blatantly staring at girls' breasts, etc.) as behaviors and I really don't think it should be looked at like that.  They are doing what their raging-out-of-control-teenage hormones are telling them to do.  Yet, because they are autistic, they have social delays, they don't have that inner voice telling them what is okay and what isn't.

Where am I going with this post?  I have no idea really.  I just think it's a conversation that many are afraid to talk about but it's something we need to talk about.  Our kids need to start learning these things at an early age so hopefully as a teenager or young adult they don't have to deal with yet another issue that sets them apart from their peers or gets them isolated even more.

So there I said it.  I started the conversation.  Do you have anything to add?

8 comments:

Apples and Autobots said...

Yikes! I agree though. 'Bot announced to me one night that his..well, he was experiencing a normal biological reaction for the first time. I made my husband start talkin'!

Michelle said...

My son recently discovered his man bits...but he's 3. I couldn't get him dressed because he tantrumed (borderline meltdown) when I tried to redirect.

I can't imagine how it's going to be when he's older. Oh yeah, did I mention he's non-verbal?

Sigh.

Something I've always been sure to do is to tell him that what he was doing was something that you do in private, that you don't do that in front of momma. I never wanted to tell him that it was bad or wrong because all I picture is him on a therapist's couch as an adult because mommy said masturbation is bad.

Well at least he would be talking, right?

Good luck. Hugs.

Heather said...

Apples & Autobots (I know I know your real name, or at least I think I do, but I can't think of it right now)- unfortunately my ex isn't much of a help with these things. Though he is the reason it got me originally thinking about it all. He asked me what to do about it and I told him to tell him it's a private thing and it needs to be done in a private setting. His response? "Yeah, I just tell him to leave it alone, it'll grow. I think I'll stick with that." I'm serious- that's his response. I spent six years with that kind of idiocity- wow.


Michelle I get it. Brian talks- but he only scripts, labels things when I ask, and yes/no- no where near the language needed to have a real talk about this kind of stuff. And that's why I think I avoid it sometimes.

And I too always make sure that both boys know I don't think it's bad and they are both allowed to do it, but it has to be in the privacy of their own room.

Big hugs to you Michelle and my fingers and toes are crossed that your son will be talking someday!!

Michelle said...

My son recently discovered his man bits...but he's 3. I couldn't get him dressed because he tantrumed (borderline meltdown) when I tried to redirect.

I can't imagine how it's going to be when he's older. Oh yeah, did I mention he's non-verbal?

Sigh.

Something I've always been sure to do is to tell him that what he was doing was something that you do in private, that you don't do that in front of momma. I never wanted to tell him that it was bad or wrong because all I picture is him on a therapist's couch as an adult because mommy said masturbation is bad.

Well at least he would be talking, right?

Good luck. Hugs.

Heather said...

unfortunately my ex isn't much of a help with these things. Though he is the reason it got me originally thinking about it all. He asked me what to do about it and I told him to tell him it's a private thing and it needs to be done in a private setting. His response? "Yeah, I just tell him to leave it alone, it'll grow. I think I'll stick with that." I'm serious- that's his response. I spent six years with that kind of idiocity- wow.

Heather said...

Michelle I get it. Brian talks- but he only scripts, labels things when I ask, and yes/no- no where near the language needed to have a real talk about this kind of stuff. And that's why I think I avoid it sometimes.

And I too always make sure that both boys know I don't think it's bad and they are both allowed to do it, but it has to be in the privacy of their own room.

Big hugs to you Michelle and my fingers and toes are crossed that your son will be talking someday!!

Dena Davis said...

I keep finding onesies that fit, but I think those days are coming to an end. I don't know if my guy will understand public and private yet. I have been saying it's okay to play in the bath, but that's not exactly private with mom or dad there. Good topic! So much to learn from you, my friend!

brian@brianautismblog said...

If you'll excuse me, i'll be the guy curled up ina little ball over in the corner.