A blog advocating autism through my own personal experiences and insights.

Archive for February, 2013

My Developing Social Desires

As I grow, the more I have become a sociable being. From being a five year old child where socialising didn’t come naturally to me and a solitary life was came more natural to me, my need for social interaction has indeed increased over the years and thus I have improved and continue to improve. Now my developing social desires have taken an interesting turn. When I was a child, I participated in social activities because it was “the thing to do”. But now that I’m learning to socialise for my own needs, I am developing particular desires that a lot of “typical people” do not possess.

Let me explain. I’m now 24 years old. My teenage years are behind me and my social life back then was almost non-existent (in fact, it was only after I turned 20 that I acknowledged I had a great need to be more social). It is certainly better now, but there is a certain sadness when I reflect back on the past. From my teen years, I have no memories of any sleepovers, or of going out at night with a group of friends and talking about which girls at our school were hot, or hardly any memories of any birthday parties, and so on. I empathise deeply with my past self and feel sad about these opportunities not taken.

Thus, we come to some of the particular social desires I now crave for. I want to experience those opportunities again. I want to be able to host sleepovers and go to them where we all sleep on the floor in the same room, having a few laughs, and throw a few pillow fights and the like. And how about a good game of spin the bottle if we’re going to have both guys and girls there or a game of truth or dare (heck, “silly” games like these we can do at other opportunities too)? But here’s the catch. As I said, I’m now 24 years old. These things I mention are way more common for teenagers to do than older people like me. It seems as though my desires to do such things have developed too late (or at least the recognition of them has come too late).

My developing social desires do not just stop at a teenage social life, however. I also crave intimacy. Of course, intimacy between me and other people will also help with having a those elements of a teenage social life too. I desire intimacy in two ways: verbal and physical. By verbal intimacy I mean where we all trust each other with the secrets of our lives and can rely on each other when problems develop in our lives. Verbal intimacy in this form is certainly common and as I continue to improve my social life, the more opportunities there will be for verbal intimacy to occur. Physical intimacy, however, is not so common. If I may be blunt, I love to cuddle. And not just with a girlfriend. I mean non-sexual cuddling between friends. Now, teenager or not, this is going to be less common. And when I say friends, I mean both guy and female friends. In the western world today, the only type of cuddling that is fairly common is between either romantic partners or between parents and very young children. Also, if I was girl the situation would be a little different. Girls and women who are friends do often cuddle with each other, especially given how this gender generally desires intimacy more. But because I’m a guy, the only kind of person I have an almost definite chance with cuddling with is a girlfriend. I would also like to emphasis the point that this is strictly non-sexual and that I am most definitely straight. That being said, I would certainly like to cuddle with friends, girls and guys. But cuddling with female friends has a higher chance of happening than cuddling with guy friends, while cuddling with a female friend who is my girlfriend has the highest chance of all, due to the attitudes that surround western culture and western conventions that surround both genders.

I actually saw a counsellor today about these issues who was quite supportive. He thought that it was a good thing that I’m developing and thinking in this way regardless. A desire for intimacy is a precious thing and something to be cherished. A few other points we touched on were that verbal intimacy comes before physical intimacy and that it was my responsibility when the time was right to say what my desires were in order for there to be a chance to have them fulfilled. It’s good to know a lot about each other and to work on the friendship first. Then when you start telling things about yourself to potential close friends, you should do so with honesty and see how accommodating you can all be with fulfilling your social desires. In my case, it would involve explaining my love of cuddling and the elements of a teenage social life outlined above. And given how much I’ve developed over the years, I think I have every reason to be optimistic. And may everyone, not just me, have their own set of social desires fulfilled.