2022 Challenge: Unmasking

My 2022 challenge is to work towards authentic sexual intimacy without relying on masking (autistic, not face-covering).

This is scary AF but also worthwhile. For twenty-eight years, ‘put on a good show’ has mostly eclipsed ‘be in the moment’. I don’t have Reasons for this any more.

What is autistic masking?

It’s a psychological safety mechanism made up of complex layers of physical, emotional and social actions which an Autistic person is driven to use to self-protect and project an acceptable version of who they are

Kieran Rose https://theautisticadvocate.com/autistic-masking/

I’m in my 40s, I have my diagnosis, and the freedom to do a bit of fucking around and finding out. Seems rude not to take the chance!

Where to even start?!

I guess step one is to have a hard think about how important it is for me to take the time to look into myself and recognise what’s going on in there, instead of grabbing for the most amenable-seeming script and performing it convincingly. This is kind of terrifying for two reasons – one is that the whole point of masking is to protect oneself from neurotypical reactions to neurodivergent behaviours. Those reactions are often disapproving, judgey, sometimes downright hostile; reflexive masking is an adaptation to trauma (*waves ‘hi’ to rejection sensitivity*) and a protective measure. For me, masking has always been about policing myself, because I thought I was a monster. Now I know I’m not, I can ease up a bit – but not get so wrapped up in authenticity that I neglect to behave in considerate and ethical ways. I worry that not masking will make me less fun for my partners – see?! I’m so conditioned to put others’ satisfaction ahead of my own that it feels rude to even contemplate doing otherwise!

The other reason is that trying to untangle my subby & masochistic sexuality, from my desperate need to be accepted & approved of; which is gonna be tricky. I doubt there’s a clear, definitive border between them, they’ve developed together and are firmly entwined, but maybe I can at least teach myself to indulge the former without being subservient to the latter.


I’m not good at giving and receiving attention simultaneously. I can focus on one or the other, but not both. If I’m on the receiving end, I kind of need to tune out everything else in order to experience the physical sensations being bestowed on me. That can come across as unresponsive (and by inference; unappreciative). (Consensually) imposed passivity has been my antidote so far; if I literally can’t move or see or speak, then I can’t get distracted by whether I’m ‘doing it’ right (yeah, I know there’s no single ‘right’ or ‘correct’ way to be sexy, of course I know this. My cunt knows it better than my brain, though).

Probably the key to this is going to be taking it at a deliberate, measured pace, which is okay with me because I (mostly) prefer slow and intense to fast and furious, despite my wanking habits being very much in the latter camp – that’s because I’m greedy and impatient, and don’t need to communicate with anyone but myself.

So yeah, here goes. Wish me luck!

2 thoughts on “2022 Challenge: Unmasking

  1. Gosh, I can relate to this in so many ways. I know that I rely on scripts most of the time, and am nervous about going into new situations without a script. This is relevant at the moment as I am ready to start exploring, after being monogamous my entire life. I can already feel the terror of not having a script and having to tell myself to trust the process, but it is hard!

    One of my masking behaviours is a tendency to filter, very hard, everything I am thinking, so as not to accidentally say something inappropriate. I am going to have to work really hard to get past some of those filters. It’s important to me to be authentic, too.

    And that last part, about attention, that explains a lot.

    I might need to come and get some lessons, yeah? You are a lot further on in figuring this stuff out than I am! 🙂

    I am very excited for you doing this – I am certain you will figure it out, and have a good time doing it! I am definitely rooting for you.

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