I have this cousin who is One Smart Cookie, and who is also, for various reasons, interested in the subject of Asperger's Syndrome. We haven't talked about it much, but given that we're friends on Facebook, he sees my posts, and I see his.
He posted something today that, well, it was interesting. I'm not ready to share it with my own general public on Facebook. But I am very comfortable sharing it here, where I can give it some context.
The article, "Asperger's Syndrome Sex: Love's Outer Limits," was posted on CarnalNation.com. It's part one of a multi-part series.
And it's fascinating.
I can't speak for the other moms of tween Aspies. Mine is in middle school. He's learning about hygiene and puberty and how his body will change. And he's thinking about girls. He's asking about first kisses and why unmarried teens have babies and whether I have a boyfriend. (And no, those last two are not related topics.)
Sex and relationships are part and parcel of growing up, no less for him than for other kids his age. A lot of his coming of age will and should be private - i.e., not bloggable. But as his mom, I do have some thinking to do about how to talk to him about this stuff. And that thinking should be okay to share.
I don't know about other parents, but I want my kids - all three of them - to have healthy and fulfilling relationships. I don't care whether my kids are gay or straight or ambiguous, but I do care that they find a way to connect, a way to be loved, a way to get hugs and kisses and the fulfillment that comes from a loving physical relationship. I want them to be respected and respectful. To know themselves, their hearts and their bodies. To know what they need and be comfortable saying so. To know when to say no, and when to say yes. To make good and responsible choices.
And I've wondered how all of that might be different for my Aspie. Because it will be. Any interpersonal relationship works differently for him.
And it hurts me when I think that my Aspie, who already struggles so much to make friends, may struggle so much more to find love.
This article gives me a beginning, a place to start from when talking to him about this stuff. And I'm thinking I may forward it to the guidance counselor at his school, where there are eight other tweenage boys starting the same journey.
For the record? I had my first kiss at seven (apparently, so did my daughter ... the things you learn over breakfast!). And I successfully dodged the boyfriend question. The subject of teen pregnancy came up after the season finale of Glee. I told him that unmarried teens like Puck and Quinn have babies when they make poor choices. My older two then asked me what those poor choices were, and I said something like "it's called 'having sex'," and both of them promptly changed the subject. For which, I am thanking my lucky stars. And thinking madly about how to answer it when the subject comes up again.