Care and Handling of the Autistic-Spectrum-Disorder S-Type

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This is reprinted from Broken Toys: Submissives with Mental Illness and Neurological Dysfunction edited by Del Tashlin & Raven Kaldera.

Raven:

I’ve had my slaveboy Joshua for nigh on a dozen years now. He’s smart, detail-oriented, hard-working, and eager to please. He’s alphabetized my pantry, designed my websites, and done a million other wonderful tasks that make my life easier. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a very high-functioning form of autism. (The DSM-IV has now decided to roll Asperger’s into the full Autistic Spectrum Disorder, regardless of functioning, largely because of the grey area between “Aspie” and “not-Aspie”, and the difficulty in diagnosing borderline cases, but most Aspies still refer to themselves that way.) This means that he sometimes needs special handling. In order to manage him in the most effective way, I have to take his disability into account.

Unlike a simple physical condition (like a bad back or arthritic hands), this is a subtle and pervasive condition, popping up in all sorts of interesting places in his reactions, preferences, and mental obstacles. When he does something irritating or strange, one of the first questions I have to ask is, “Is this an Aspie thing I just haven’t nailed down yet?” There’s a fair chance that it is, and a master cannot blame their s-type for their inborn neurological wiring. Not only is that unfair, but it removes any hope of finding an effective compensatory behavior.

Autistic spectrum disorders vary widely in both range of symptoms and severity, and while the two of us hope that this article will prove useful to dominant types with ASD s-types, we also realize that we cannot hope to cover every problem or issue, nor will the ones that we discuss necessarily be relevant to every couple. Some ASD folks posit the existence of at least two different “flavors” of disorder, for example - one that is more logical and “Spocklike”, with difficulty being aware of and expressing emotion; and one that is highly emotionally expressive and reactive. (For good examples of this, read The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism by Temple Grandin and Sean Barron, who are good examples of these two different forms.) At any rate, your ASD s-type may well go through this article and find some problems that they do have, and others that they don’t. They may also have problems we didn’t go into, although we’ve not yet met one who didn’t have issues with their sensory “filter” getting overloaded a lot sooner than that of a neurotypical individual. As with any disability in a slave or submissive, it’s the M-type’s job to find out anything they can about that disability - and it’s the s-type’s job to aid them in that discovery, through both research and personal transparency.

Not every dominant is going to want to take on a submissive or slave with ASD. If you’re the kind of person for whom the ability to figure out what you want and have it given to you without your asking is a signature of love or commitment to the relationship, you will probably be continually disappointed. If you are stuck on having someone whose emotional reactions are simultaneously socially normal and genuine, you may also want to think again. If you’re not interested in “motoring them through” (a term for physically training ASD children often used by their parents) situations that most people would react normally to, then you might want to look elsewhere. However, if none of these obstacles (and the others I’ll go into in this article) bother you in the least, then by all means go ahead. For myself, I’m happy to train my slave how to act in any situation, so long as I know he’ll do what I say to the best of his ability, which he does.

Joshua:

ASD people can have a wide range of life skills, but their social/emotional development is generally rather uneven. I know that when my master got me, he was shocked by the contrast between situations I could handle gracefully and those where I was entirely clueless.

By the time they reach adulthood, many ASD folks may be very good at faking it, but in a close relationship you’ll likely be able to see the holes in their understanding. For example, I had very little conception of what love, trust, or intimacy actually felt like when my master first got me. Without the power dynamic, I would not have been able to develop that understanding, because I didn’t desire emotional intimacy and I didn’t see what the allure of it was all about. In my previous relationships, it was either not expected of me (as in my first master) or my partner was constantly frustrated with his acts of intimacy not being reciprocated (as in my long-term egalitarian partner; I liked him fine, but didn’t understand what emotional connection he expected). I wasn’t connected to my family, either; I liked them, and I knew they cares about me, but for instance I never understood why the other kids at summer camp missed their families.

However, my current master was able to get into my head and pull me into those emotions. There was an early stage when I didn’t quite understand what he was subtly motoring me through, but in an egalitarian partnership I would have broken it off, where here I simply followed orders and walked right into the intimacy maze because my master told me to do so, and I was invested in being obedient. I was also very self-enclosed due to a fear of vulnerability, but in a M/s relationship I was rewarded for being vulnerable, so it opened me up in ways I didn’t know could happen.

This was helped by our mutual discipline of radical honesty with each other, which only could have been done successfully in a M/s setting. If I didn’t have a partner who could - and would - specifically tell me how to phrase things in a more kind manner, and whose word I would absolutely follow, radical honesty would become an venue for verbal abuse, as I have a hard time understanding which words do and don’t hurt people.

Continued: Overstimulation