Go to todaysautisticmoment.com for the transcript
My guest Leah Bauman-Smith and I will have a frank conversation about the matter of consent and sexuality, with very sensitive content that may be triggering and therefore not appropriate for all audiences. Listener discretion is advised. Consent is more than just saying yes or no to sexual activity. Consent for many Autistic Adults applies to being asked if someone can shake their hand, give them a hug and having their decisions respected without the fear of coercion or exploitation. Autistic Adults regardless of their ability to verbalize have just as much right to give their consent as anyone else. Yet, too many Autistic Adults regardless of the level of their support needs have had their right to consent violated. On the other hand, too many Autistic Adults unfortunately have a sex offender violation to their name, because of a lack of sex education and a healthy social environment to help them make better choices. Leah Bauman-Smith joins me for this very upfront discussion about consent for Autistic Adults.
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Autistic Adults: Let’s Talk About Consent
September 20, 2021
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On the last episode, my guest Leah Bauman-Smith and I talked about Dating, Romantic Relationships and Sexuality for Autistic Adults. Leah has returned to talk with me about the issue of consent. Like our last episode, Leah and I will be having some candid conversations about sexuality. The topic of consent can be triggering for many who may be traumatized by an experience if your right to give or rescind consent was not respected. Leah’s conversation with me may not be suitable for all audiences. Listener discretion is advised.
Allow me to begin by asking you, my listeners if you have had any of the following experiences.
Have you ever had someone ask you if they can shake your hand, or give you a hug, while already giving a hug, or shaking your hand before you got the chance to say yes, or no?
Have you ever had someone you don’t even know give you a hand pat on the shoulder (or even worse) on your head without asking you?
Have you ever gone on a date, and someone started touching you without first asking for your consent?
Have you ever tried to tell someone you don’t want them to touch you, and they ignored you?
Have you ever had someone touch a part of your body, that you are hypersensitive to, you asked them to stop, and they did not respect your wishes?
Have you ever given consent to another person to touch you (or a part of your body), then to rescind your consent, and were told that you gave your consent, and cannot take it back at that moment?
Have you ever had someone give you a hint that they were giving their consent to you to touch them, and you later learned that they did not give their consent?
If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions; or you have others about consent that I did not mention, this is the perfect show for you to listen to.
In case any of the questions I have asked caused you some anxiety, you are not alone. This is the show where you are going to hear about what consent is and is not. You will hear about some of the common problems many Autistic Adults have had with the issue of consent.
If you are an Autistic Adult, and your right to give or rescind your consent has not been respected, please know that on this show we want you to know that you did nothing wrong and you have nothing to be ashamed of.
If you are an Autistic individual who has mistaken a kind gesture or gift as an invitation to sexual intimacy, please know that we will be talking about that later on the program. We will not pass any judgment on you or for anything you may or may not have done. We just want to give you some information and support in whatever situation you may be experiencing.
After this first commercial break, Leah will join me as we talk about the issue of consent. Stay tuned.
Commercial Break I
Leah, thank you for coming back on to another episode of Today's Autistic Moment. In the previous episode, we talked about Autistic Adults: Dating, Romantic Relationships and Sexuality. And we talked about some many so many important important topics and issues under that one. But then there is this issue that I want to talk about today. And I call it Let's Talk About Consent. There's a lot of things regarding the issue of consent. For Autistic Adults, things that are not so well understood, or, or, or things that are not so clear. And not just for Autistic Adults, but for any Non-Autistic Adults who may or may be sexually active with an Autistic Adult. So I think this is a great way to really start talking about these matters. And before I get into my asking you my questions and starting the conversation, I just want to say to my audience, that we are talking about some sensitive content here that may not be suitable for everybody. And so of course, you're free to exercise. And it's strongly suggested that you exercise your listener discretion on these matters. Furthermore, if any of my audience you know, hears something that is said, and you feel like you've been triggered, of course, you are free to at any point in time, um, you know, stop listening and come back if you feel free. The episodes will always be available on the episode index page anytime you want to listen in at a later time. So we just want to make sure that we're very clear with that with our listeners. So let's begin. On the matter of consent, what important information to Autistic Adults and our caregivers need to know about Leah?
Yeah. Oh, there's so much. Yeah. So I feel like consent has been kind of a hot topic lately. We've been hearing a lot about it, you know, in the news and the world. But it isn't actually super clear all the time. And so we keep hearing about consent, but there isn't a ton of education about what consent is, what it isn't. And I think the first part that I think is really important, and yeah, luck. Other people might have different priorities, but just thinking about consent as more of a process and not just a one and done type question. I think a lot of times, sorry, go ahead. Um, I think that a lot of times we think of it as like a yes or no question. Do you want to kiss? Yes or no? And then that's done. You've, you know, successfully accomplished consent. But really, consent is an ongoing conversation that even just a simple yes or no question involves more of a process. So you have to ask the question like, so step one, do you want to use kissing as an example. Do you want to kiss? Yes or no? Then you have to listen to the person's answer. So whether the person you want to kiss says yes, or says no. And then you need to respect the answer that they give. So a lot of times when we talk about consent, I have a young, young child seven. And a lot of times relatives will say things like, Oh, can I give you a hug, like as they're already hugging her. And I'm like, well, that's not actually consent, like you are kind of going through the motions of asking, but you're not actually listening, or respecting her answer in that situation. So I think that there ends up being a lot of gray area in consent when it's taught as this very black and white topic or very black, you know, it's either yes or no, and that's it. But really, we know that it's an ongoing conversation and process and even a simple yes or no question can be more of a process.
I think we do need to go go and ask a very basic question that sounds like it should be so obvious, but apparently, no, it's not. What is consent?
Leah Bauman Smith
Yes. So consent is getting permission to to really do anything. Like we think about consent, a lot related to sex, sexual activity, but really consent can be all about really anything you want to do with someone else, whether that's just hang out, play basketball, or go to a movie. So consent needs to be an enthusiastic yes. It can't be like, oh, okay, I guess so I don't know. It needs to be something that the person really wants to do. It needs to be freely given. The person you can't, or if you're pressuring someone or coercing someone or trying to convince them to do something with you, then the consent has not been freely given. And consent can be revoked at any time. So if you say, yeah, I'll go play basketball with you. And then you get there. And you're like, I don't actually really want to be here. You can leave. That's fine.
That right. Yeah. Yes. And let's all here's a point that I think we would do well to state, and that is overpowering someone's ability to give consent, or not granting them the option to give consent actually, bridges into exploitation. Not a freely given consent.
Yes. Yep. Yep. And that, yeah, and when it's related to sex or sexual activity, then that can lead to sexual assault, sexual violence, if you are not consenting.
Exactly. What does consent really mean? When someone consents, what does it mean?
They are agreeing to a specific, I guess, like task or behavior. So not like, I think there's a lot of confusion around consent, especially around topics around sexuality and sexual activity. So a couple things, remember that. When someone agrees to an activity, they're only agreeing to a specific activity. So if they say like, yep, I would love to make out with you, or like, yes, sounds great, let's make out. That doesn't mean that you have consent to do anything other than that. Or if someone consents to making out or having sex with you, one time, that does not mean that they are consenting, anytime you want to do that. So like, that needs to be given freely given. And anytime that activity is happening,
Right. Yes, I think that's important to keep in mind. And for many Autistics, I know myself, I can be like this, um, you know, that many of us do prefer to be asked before someone reaches out to hold our hand or touches any place on our body. Because many of us have sensory processing issues with where we're touched, how we're touched. And, you know, and also with regards with, you know, can I can I watch the TV? Can I watch this sometimes? Yes, that can be a matter of consent for a lot of Autistics, and quite frankly, that's okay. What does consent not mean? Let's sort talk about that, too.
Yeah, yep. So consent does not mean that you can do whatever you want with someone's body. Consent does not mean that they always have to agree to that same activity. Even thing as simple as hugging, like, we talked about this a lot. There are certain people in your life that you that you hug that are maybe in your hug circle that you're close with. But that does not mean that every time you see them, or you're around them that you get to hug them. You need to still ask permission. I think this gets tricky with partners. with family members, there's a lot of times boundaries aren't really clear sometimes or maybe your parents maybe they've struggled with boundaries. And so as you've gotten older, like you might struggle with boundaries, and so it gets a little confusing when it's a part of your family culture. But that yeah, that consent, yet cannot involve pressure, cannot involve coercion, cannot involve like large power dynamics. So like you, like your boss, for example, tried to kiss you. You can't consent in that situation because they have some power over you in that situation. Same with like doctors, therapists, anyone that you're like paying, support you if they you If I asked you to do something sexual, you can, alright, aren't actually able to give consent in that situation because of the power dynamics. Right. I'm sorry, I kind of got lost in just a lot of different topics so much.
Let's be, let's be clear that that, you know, being forced into a sexual activity by someone a power, there are there are legal ramifications for that. That is no that is not okay. No that it's not legal. And under no, no circumstances should anybody accept that as being okay. And you've already alluded to this next one question, I'm going to ask you, because I just told you before this interview, once someone gives their consent for sexual activity or any activity, are they free to withdraw at any point in time? And among the reasons I ask this question, like I said, before the interview, I explained to you that I heard one individual say that they went to a therapist, who actually said, once you've given your consent, you cannot withdraw it. Or once you've given your consent to do this one thing, you can't withdraw it for something else. And you know, the thing is, is that that is so not true at all. Right! Yeah, please talk about some of that.
Yeah, no consent needs to be freely given. So you are freely giving your consent, you're enthusiastic about what's gonna happen next. And you can revoke it at any time for any reason, or no reason, like you just want to stop like that is a valid reason. So I think that a lot of times people, and that can happen, like you can be excited about your new partner, or your just regular partners, or whoever it is that you're with. And maybe you start kissing, and then all sudden, you're like, I don't actually want to be doing this, or I feel uncomfortable. And it could be for any reason, it could be for like, too much sensory input. It could be, it just doesn't feel right to your body. And I think a lot of we aren't taught to kind of listen to our bodies, which are really hard. But that a lot of times there are feelings that we might feel inside of us, like our, you know, our stomachs might hurt, or we might feel like this doesn't feel Yeah. And so being able to kind of, say, like, Oh, I need to stop, or even like, I need to take a break, this doesn't feel good in my body.
Right. Right. And we also need to say that there are some Autistic Adults that occasionally are not really sure what they're feeling about something because they may not be able to identify it, or put it, and by any means if, if any Autistic Adult is feeling like that, they can always say, Can we please stop this for now? And so I can have a chance to, to to, you know, think about what I might be feeling. That is perfectly within their rights to do that. And they should never be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed or likely to do something wrong if they did something like that. Um, and this is one of those things that I have become very, very vocal about saying in many, many, many situations. I think it is very important for Autistic Adults, and whomever they may be sexually active with, that consent needs to be explicit by both people, not implicit. And I say that because of how difficult it can be, for some of us to understand consent, if it's implied, I say, No, you have to actually even if it means, may I have your permission to do whatever I'm whatever. And I feel that it's very, very, very important for Autistic Adults to do what do you think of that?
Yeah, I think that's really important. And I think that some people might feel like, oh, is that gonna be awkward? Is that kind of like, ruin the mood? Like, no! Being explicit about like, what you want and what your partner wants, can be like, a very sexy process, and you know, like, understanding what, what feels good to someone, and what feels good to you, is going to create a much like, deeper, like, emotional connection with the person that you are intimate with. I think maybe we touched on this briefly Last time we talked, but something that I think is really important to kind of talk out ahead of time is knowing how you give consent and how your partner gives consent. Because we know, we know some people are non verbal, we all have different ways of communicating. And so really being able to talk about that ahead of time with your partner saying, like, you know, like, this is how I'm, you know, I could be like, I'm gonna say yes or no, it could be. Some people use like safe words that they're more comfortable using. It could be if you have a technology device that you'll need to like program some different things in like voice to text things or just making sure that before you are sexually intimate with your partner, whether that you know, your partner's Autistic or if you're Autistic, or if you both are or what a however, that you both know, how you and your partner give consent is a really important thing to have figured out.
Commercial Break II
I want to talk just briefly about the "Me Too." Because that's, that's kind of a new thing for many. What is the "Me Too" matter about?
Yeah, so the "Me Too" you have been started a while back. And originally was started by a black woman. And she came forward about some sexual assault, and was encouraging other victims of sexual assault, sexual violence, sexual harassment to come forward. And really, in an effort to stop normalizing it. I think there was a there's been a long history of kind of brushing sexual allegations or sexual behaviors under the rug. And then I feel like kind of, after a few years, there's, there's become a big movement, especially around Hollywood, there was a lot of actresses. And that came forward, specifically toward the Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby. And now Andrew Cuomo, just resigned as Governor of New York, so kind of some bigger names of people. And so the Me Too movement kind of really caught on is like, Oh, this is, um, this is happening, this is happening to everyone. It's happening to like wealthy actresses, you know, who make millions of dollars and then. And so we know if it's happening to them, it's definitely happening to everyone else, and probably in much more difficult situations for women of color for people for the poor working class, for people who have less resources to go after people who have done who have committed sexual assault or sexual violence towards them. And so there's, and then, you know, along with any movement, there's kind of been a backlash to of people being like, wait, not everyone does this. And I think that the important piece with the Me Too movement is that bringing that voice to survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence, and that it is that it has happened to a lot of people, and that there are some, like really deep seated societal issues that, that stems from, like, wounded masculinity, unsafe growing up conditions at unhealthy boundaries, and families like education says really everything. But we know that that's kind of created this lack of sex ed is a huge thing, um, to kind of created this part of society where traditionally, women are feminine. Femme or feminine people experience it more. But we also know that lots of men and masculine identifying people experience sexual assault, as well. So yeah, there's a lot there. But I think the important pieces are that it's, we've kind of reached a tipping point of people saying like, this is not okay, we can't treat people like this. This is not safe. It's not healthy. There are ways to make amends, there's ways to support survivors, there's ways to support perpetrators and not re-offending and growing as people. And so I think that it's really just giving a voice to people to say, this is not okay, sexual violence, sexual assault is not okay.
I want to start into my, the second part of the show question that I ask, and then I have one in particular after that, but, um, what are the barriers for Autistic Adults of all ages when it comes to the matter of consent? And one barrier. One barrier, excuse me, that comes to mind regarding consent is that some Autistic Adults may not have the ability to verbally ask or give their consent. And from that comes the question of, is the individual competent enough to give or receive consent? And so the question, I think it's a fair one. Can nonverbal Autistic Adults give their consent competently?
Yeah, that's a multi layered question. I would say like, short answer that I believe, yes. Long answer. There are laws in Minnesota. Minnesota has very antiquated laws or consent laws for people with disabilities as a whole. Like the language is like very outdated and like offensive and really focuses on keeping people disabilities out of romantic or sexual relationships. There, it has been a ton of work around advocating for changes in those laws in that, like, yes, we want people who maybe have, whether it's like communication supports, or we get a lot of questions about this like guardianship, like, if you are the guardian of someone, um, what is your role on that situation? And ideally, like, I believe that everyone has a right to healthy sexual sexual relationships, if they want to have them. Regardless of any other intersection of their life. You know that, that does mean that some people are going to need support in that area. And so we talk a lot about during the guardianship process, there needs to be talking about sexual relationships needs to be a part of that. So the guardian needs to understand like, yes, the person has a right to a sexual relationship, here's how you can support them in that. And so and also educating all caregivers who work at group homes, anywhere that you are supporting people. That, yeah, there needs to be, there needs to be support, there needs to be conversations or classes, supports. We've had a number of people that we work with, who have gotten married or had relationships. And a lot of it was just that they're like, parents came together and had a lot of conversations with them, and they like work together as a family unit to be like, okay, what's gonna work for you, the two of you getting married? Or the two of you having sex? How can we support you doing that safely? And that is not everyone's favorite conversation, if you are a guardian or a parent, you're not always gonna, that's, that's takes a lot of work. But I do think that everyone has the right to have sex if they want to. And I mean, as long as the person they want sex with also wants to have sex. Um, but there are Yeah. But that they are supported in like, yeah, giving the support that they need to make an informed decision, and that they are consenting in a way that is safe for them as well. Yeah, a lot of layers to that.
There's a lot of layers to that. Yeah. But I hear I hear that coming up quite often, that somebody will ask that question. And they'll presume that because they may be non verbal means they can't consent competently. And once again, comes the whole presumption of competence in there. And I just that that's a presumption that drives me crazy. Personally, I just think that's a terrible, yes. Um, one matter, that really does come up quite a bit. And that is that many Autistic Adults, unfortunately, have a sex offender allegation to their name, because they misunderstood a kind act or gesture, to be an invitation for more intimate activity. This is a major barrier to consent. Um, and what can we say here that might be helpful to Autistic Adults? Who may have had that issue come up in their life. What are some things that we can say to them or for them? That sort of thing?
Yeah, I think that I've worked with a number of adults, Autistic Adults and adults with Fetal Alcohol, who have talked a lot about how they wish they would have learned about consent when they were younger. That their lives would be really different right now. And I just want to validate that like, yeah, that sucks that you didn't get that education right, younger and that you deserve it. Like you deserve to have that education of how to have a healthy relationship. How to give consent. How to ask for consent on yourself. How to give and ask for consent. How to have a healthy relationship. How to set boundaries. How to respect other people's boundaries. Like those are your rights and you like your rights were not respected. So that is really hard. And yeah, I'm sorry.
No, yeah. I mean, the law has clearly the law and society has clearly not been on on their side, right, and unfortunately, the Autistic Adults, or others with various disabilities like it, have paid the legal price for someone's lack of lack of concern about that matter, unfortunately. And the thing is, is I know for many Autistic Adults, some but not all, of course, but you know, it is very difficult to, to really perceive what someone's intentions might be. I know, a lot of Autistics express being lonely, they don't have anybody really in their life and someone comes along, that's really different that shows them this moment of, like, they seem like they're really interested. And they reach out, and they do what they think they should do. And lo and behold, they were wrong. And like I say, unfortunately, they wind up with that stain on their name for the rest of their life. No, it is not fair. And quite frankly, it is not right to that happens. And unfortunately, it does way too often. But, you know, no, it is not really their fault. But, and the law has not the law and society has not served them correctly. We need to be very, I think we need to be very honest about that. Yes. Because I think all too often, we're just not, again, the society the rules, the laws are just not really fair to that matter. You know, but, you know, but no, it's really not their fault, but, and so sorry, that that has happened to so many people. And even to those who may have had an Autistic or somebody who has violated your consent in that regard. No, you're not to blame either. Right. But again, this is just one of those places where um where society, the laws, and, and so on has really been a failure, I'm afraid.
Yeah. When you also think about like the, like, with recidivism, like if you do offend once, and then you get sent, like a program or something, they're not set up to support Autistic people, or people with Fetal Alcohol. They aren't supporting that education piece that like, here are the rules here, Here I can support you. Here's what you can do differently, that they just ended up being another place where the person kind of gets stuck in the system. And then then we know that that's really common for reoffending. And so, and again, if you're not getting that education, if you don't know, what is what's illegal, what's not illegal, what's safe, what's unsafe, what's expected. Society, like, That's not fair. And I think a lot of it too, is that like, I think that, um, I would say that, like, I don't feel like the laws really understand consent that well, either. And so the people in power don't really understand consent, either. So there's all these like, theory, negative ramifications that happen to people. Autistic people. Other people with disabilities. When it's like, yeah, really not their fault in this really that, like, the rest of society doesn't have a good understanding and support system in place. And so they end up kind of bearing the brunt of that failure as a society.
Yeah, I so agree with that. Yeah. What steps should Autistic Adults and our supporters take to advocate for our needs with in this particular subject? And, we could probably be here all day on these, but let's just name a few for the benefit of the audience here.
Yeah, um, so yeah, a couple things. So if you so like if you do have a guardian, or if you are a guardian, really taking those steps and making sure that there is a place, a plan in place for or how to teach consent. For making sure that you understand how you give consent. If you are a guardian, how person that you care for gives consent. That there are some really I think we talked about this in the last one, but AuSM, or the Autism Society of Minnesota has groups for Autistic Adults to learn about healthy relationships and boundaries and consent, or like strongly recommends attending some of those classes if you can. There are there's a website so they're actually out of Australia, but called Consent Ability, and they run by Autistic people talking like specifically about consent and sexual relationships, and I'll send you the link to that after this. But they have some really good resources videos. And then another NCIL, National Council on Independent Living, they have a whole video series for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. And they have just like really helpful videos that you can watch on your own, with your partner ,with a caregiver, and how those can be really helpful places to just kind of start that conversation. Whether it's you are already in a romantic relationship or have a sexual partner/partners that you can really sit down and kind of talk about how do you give consent? How do they give consent? Have those conversations. Or if you haven't had a sexual relationship yet, but you want to kind of planning ahead and watching some of those videos and having those conversations with a guardian, a trusted friend, a trusted adult, so you feel a little more prepared to do that in a way that feels safe to you.
If someone has had their right to give or give consent violated, what should they do?
Yeah, that's so hard. It really is. I think that so a few a few steps. Number one, like take a deep breath, make sure that you are calm that you are and talk to someone, talk to a trusted adult. So a therapist, a parent, guardian, if you can, if it's something that happened within your family, so talking to someone, a lot of times we know that sexual assault and abuse comes from our from caregivers, and from family and from close friends. So finding someone outside of your family, such as yeah, therapists, doctor, you definitely can go to the police, I know that there are people have different levels of comfort when coming, when sharing information with law enforcement, and you can decide what you feel good about, but you've got a gynecologist, a doctor therapist, anyone that you can report what happened to and then they can provide additional supports for you is really important. Because it's not something I think a lot of times when people experience sexual assault or violence, there's a lot of shame involved, there can be a lot of shame involved. And there can just be this like, idea that you did something wrong. Right. I say like you did, you didn't do it, No, you did not do anything wrong.
No, you did not deserve what happens. And you know, and and you know, there is this, there may be I should say there may be something that in us that wants to quote "justify" what they did, we may talk ourselves into believing, Well, you know, whatever. And the No, that is not necessarily the case at all. And the one thing that everybody should know if they don't but but our therapists and people in in schools, educational settings. And that sort of thing. If you, you know, especially if someone might not really know if they've been a violated in that way. When you know, when when you talk to someone about that issue, if they think that you are in danger, or you have been violated, they are mandated reporters who are supposed to report that no matter it's against the law for them not to. And, I know for many therapists actually they could lose their licenses if they don't actually report it. So it is it is it is one of the one of those things that simply must be. So you know, I mean, sometimes, you know, if you're not sure that you have been abused, or you think you have but you know, there are therapists who will listen. And if you say something to one therapist, that doesn't sound right, think of talking to someone else for a second opinion. There's nothing, there's no harm in that sort of thing at all, on you know, most of your local Autism Societies or, or some other agencies that work with Autistic people, they have people there who can advise about things like that. You just gave some great resources and one resource that I am going to include on the Adult Autism Resources Links page is to the Autism Society, Minnesota. Back in August, we talked to Zephyr James about interdependence and they created a relationship guide. And therefore as you know, I'm going to be putting that into onto my website so that people can access it. That has a lot of information about consent, sexuality, dating, and that sort of thing. What's a healthy relationship. What's an abusive relationship. And that sort of thing. A really valuable tool. Are there other ways that Autistic Adults can learn how to give or ask for consent? Can any thoughts about that other than what we mentioned?
Yeah. I mean, I don't want to like, promote myself, but I teach classes about consent and healthy relationships and boundaries for people of all ages. I'm right now online. But yeah, so that's definitely an option. I'm based out of many Minneapolis and St. Paul. But I will see I'll send you the link for our events and classes that are coming up, as well.
Commercial Break III
Samuel Woodard will not be able to join me on October 4th as was previously planned. I am so very excited to announce that Yenn Purkis will be joining me for Autistic Adults: Coming Out as Autistic and Nonbinary on October 4th. Yenn is an outstanding Autistic self-advocate and author from Australia. Don’t miss this show.
On October 18th, George Williams will join me to talk about Autistic Adults: Managing Relationships with other Autistics. Relationships for Autistics are challenging enough. Yet, relationships with other Autistic people can be just as challenging. Our neurodiversity is a wonderful and powerful thing. That same neurodiversity can be our greatest struggle. Join me for this exciting episode.
On November 1st, Zephyr James returns for Autistic Adults: Preparing for the Sensory Unfriendly Holidays. The biggest holidays of the year are not too far away. What many neurotypical people do not understand, is that the upcoming holiday season can be the worst time for our sensory processing needs. Everything from lights, smells, foods, parties and even music can be so overwhelming. Join me and Zephyr as we talk about how you can prepare to look after your sensory needs.
The last episodes for 2021 are about Substance Abuse Addiction, Recovery, and Internet Safety.
Be sure to visit the Podcast Episodes part of todaysautisticmoment.com as you can go to the New Podcast Episodes page to read the descriptions of upcoming shows. Also, join Today’s Autistic Moment Community Group page on Facebook.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment.
My very last question to you, because this actually just come up in my mind. There's a lot of activity with relationships, and sexuality and consent, of course, happening on dating apps and that sort of thing. And what are some thoughts you might have about helping Autistic Adults be very careful about the issue of consent? When talking on a dating app? I think that's a that's a good way to close this up.
Yeah, yeah. Oh, there's so many. Yeah, a lot of layers and dating apps, too,
We should do another whole show on that one. LOL
Yeah, that's true. Um, I do know that there were some apps that were created, um, dating apps specifically for Autistic people. And but I don't know that like, I don't know how legitimate they were. Or if Autistic people created it, or someone else said, I'm gonna look into that, and I will follow up with you on that part of it. Um, I think that consent with dating apps is a big topic, because there is sort of this idea that like, if you're on a dating app, or if you're online, you're sort of like free to do you're like more loose with your inhibitions. You always hear about people sending pictures of their dick pics, or sending pictures of their boobs before talking to someone. And so I think it's important that explicit consent is given when you are on a dating app. So it's like, it's like, very fine to, like, healthy to like, meet someone that you're interested in on a dating app and texts with them. But it is really important that you are still practicing, all practicing consent in your interactions with them, even if you haven't met them in person. So asking, Is it okay for me to setting some boundaries around your communication online too like, do you want to text you know, a few times a day? Are you someone that wants like, lots of communication? Are you someone, you know, maybe you just want to text every couple days and, you know, check in and maybe meet up in person sometime. There's a lot of layers to that with, with COVID. Like what's safe with meeting people. And then also, kind of what, yeah, just making sure that you are open about what your boundaries are, and like respecting the other person's back.
Right. No. And I know we've already said this. But I think it's worth saying just before we close this, but no matter how obvious consent might might seem, because we know there are conversations that occur online or even in person, where it seems like it's obvious, but one more time, let's say, even if you think it's obvious, make sure the consent is explicit. You've said, yes, they may, or no, they may not. And sometimes if you have to be explicit about where and how, you do have the right to say that, or you do have the right to say, No, you may not do that. If you know, consent is your right. And it is your right to give it, and rescind it. And also you do have the right to be respected with whatever your decision is. And that's one of those things that, yes, our laws do give us the right to have to be able to make those decisions, or to rescind those decisions in whatever way we feel most safe doing. Leah, I want to thank you so much for this program. And of course, the one we did before this, I really wanted to do some some good programs about these topics. The topic of dating, and relationships, sexuality, and this very important topic of consent seems to be something that has been challenging for Autistic Adults. And I really want to thank you for coming on to help us talk about this important issue. So thank you so much for coming on today.
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Today’s Autistic Community Bulletin Board
Be sure to go to ausm.org to download the AuSM Education Catalog 2021-2022.
Virtual Classes for Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices will be offered by the Autism Society of Minnesota on October 18th at 6pm, November 15th at 2pm and December 13th at 6pm. Learn the common characteristics of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory processing disorders. Obtain valuable insight on evidence-based practices for supporting individuals across settings. Classes are free of charge. Go to ausm.org to register.
Registration is now open to attend the Autism Direct Support Certification Program, January 15th, 22nd, and 29th, 2022. The certification program is perfect for Autistic individuals, parents, PCA’s and other professionals. I attended the program a few years back and it has helped me understand myself and other Autistic people, that has helped me begin this podcast. I cannot recommend it enough. Register at ausm.org.
On Tuesday, October 19th from 6 to 7pm there will be a virtual skillshop class by Cookable Kitchen. Cookable Kitchen is a new organization to empower people of all abilities to cook. Join them for a step-by-step online class where they will make dinner together and socialize. The skillshop is free but, limited to 20 registrants. Go to ausm.org for more information.
The Autism Society of Minnesota invites you to fill out a survey about their support groups. Go to ausm.org to take the survey.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by An Autistic Adult.