I didn’t like touch as an autistic person.
I didn’t like touch as a post-abuse victim.
I didn’t like touch as a sexual assault victim.
Each of those three categories deal with different kinds of touch, but the aftermath is the same — touch makes me cringe. I don’t want it. I’m okay if it’s a child, but I don’t want you to hug me unless I say I’m okay with it; I don’t want to cuddle anyone in my sleep — too fucking hot; I don’t want to maintain continuous touch with someone over a long period of time — it’s stifling; I can’t stand anyone physically crying on my shoulder.
Like, don’t hang on me. I’m not that person.
Yes, I’m autistic.
Yes, I was abused.
Yes, I was sexually assaulted.
None of these statements say I want you to help me fix this.
Because you know what? Consent extends beyond just sex and kissing — it’s for hugging and holding hands, too. If you don’t want someone to touch you, you should be able to say so without the other person taking ridiculous offense. What if we practiced radical consent as a society and actually respected each other’s personal space and autonomy without insisting something was wrong with them because they didn’t want to be touched by us.
Firstly, touch aversion is different as an autistic.
It’s literally because of how touch is processed. It’s because science, not trauma. As every autistic person varies, so does touch mileage — ergo, not everyone experiences an aversion to touch. Plenty of autistic people love hugs, so much so that Temple Grandin invented the hug machine, which has low-key evolved into giant pea pods made out of fabric and stuffing for autistic children to sit in — and, by the way, they look a bit like giant vaginas.
(Which is to say at least they don’t look like those blanket things autism moms created for autistic kids, because those look like rebirth.)
Second, trauma is trauma is trauma.
Science says post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) never completely goes away.
This means it is entirely impossible to get over your trauma in the context that people who a) have never experienced trauma and/or b) think they are legit over their trauma like to claim is possible.
So why the fuck is there this commonplace idea that there is something horrifically wrong with the people who experience touch aversion?
Like, it’s even in the fucking lesbian community. You run into some lesbians who legit, hands-down, point-blank do not want to be touched sexually and then the puppy lesbians who are all about touch are appalled — “my girlfriend doesn’t want me to touch her,” they say like it’s this new fucking thing, when their relationship commentary says otherwise. Or you have the stone butches, stone femmes and/or trans people who want to keep sexual touches completely away from their bodies at all costs coming to safe spaces on Reddit and asking how they can fix themselves so they can be loved, since the problem is clearly with their touch aversion — because they don’t want anyone to touch them there, or maybe even anywhere, however so, thus making them the odd ones out.
Any reason for aversion to touch is fucking valid.
Autistic? Sexually assaulted? Abused? Dysphoria?
Like, it shouldn’t fucking matter WHAT the reason behind the touch aversion is. I’ve experience with all four, and I know the difference between each of them when I’m touched in a way I’m not in the mood for — for whatever reason — and, usually, the reason behind it.
Too much sensory input, feels too much like that one time with that one person who thought I was asleep when I wasn’t, I’m feeling weird about the body that I have right now, my menstrual cycle is approaching, I’m stressed, I’ve a headache, I’m hot, I’m tired, I’m tired of people draping themselves over me…
I don’t need to explain to anyone why I don’t want to be touched a certain way, by whomever — ever.
And neither does anyone else.