How is Asperger’s Syndrome Connected to Porn Addiction?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Feb 22, 2022

Because we live in a social world, Asperger’s syndrome can feel quite lonely. From the time we are born, we are expected to form healthy relationships, share our talents, skills, and belongings, and socialize with others. As children, we are expected to listen to and rely on our teachers for guidance, develop healthy friendships, and be respectful. Similar expectations are placed on us as adults.

For instance, we are expected to connect to and socialize with our peers, co-workers, and even strangers. We are also expected to be good people and good role models. And, like children, we are told that if we do these things, we will be blessed with lots of friends and fun experiences.

While this is true for some, for others, social interactions and making friends is complicated and arduous. When you fall on the autism spectrum, positive social interactions and connections (that most of us take for granted) can be awkward or non-existent. This includes all levels and forms of autism, including Asperger’s syndrome. So, even people with Asperger’s, who are considered “high functioning,” are not “immune” to social woes and other issues, such as porn addiction.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also known simply as “autism,” is a neurodevelopmental condition that can cause considerable social, mental, communication, and behavioral impairments. It can also lead to repetitive behaviors and restricted movements. But, contrary to popular belief, autistic people do not look any different than non-autistic people. Thus, the only way to “detect” autism in someone is through personal interactions.

People with autism are considered “neurodiverse,” which means they tend to interact, communicate, learn and behave differently than “neurotypical” individuals. “Neurotypical” individuals learn, behave and interact with others in a “standard” or “typical” way, while “neurodiverse” people learn, behave, and interact with others in an “atypical” or different way than most people. Understand, however, that just because someone is “neurodiverse,” does not mean he or she is “stupid,” “brainless,” or “cognitively-delayed.”

In fact, some people with autism, especially those, who have Asperger’s syndrome, are extremely intelligent. Thus, it is possible to be autistic and “gifted.” Conversely, it is also possible to be autistic and severely delayed. Some adults with autism lead very independent, fulfilling, and successful lives (i.e., Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft), while others may be unable to live alone because they need extra assistance with daily functions.

Unlike in the past, ASD now includes pervasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified) and Asperger’s syndrome.

How Can I Tell If I Have Autism?

Most people, who fall on the autism spectrum, have some degree of social, emotional, and/or communication impairment. For instance, people with autism may perform certain actions or engage in certain behaviors repetitively, and/or they may resist or react poorly to changes in their schedules, routines, and/or daily activities. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also affects how an individual processes information and interacts with others. ASD symptoms usually begin in early childhood and extend into adulthood.

Children and adults with ASD may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Being unable to show interest in something by pointing to it (i.e., pointing to a bird or balloon in the sky)
  • Being unable to look at an object when someone points to it
  • Being unable to relate to others or having little-to-no interest in other people
  • Avoiding eye contact with others
  • Misinterpreting how other people feel
  • Resisting hugs and cuddles
  • Showing little-to-no awareness when others are talking to you
  • Being extremely interested in people but not knowing how to properly talk with, play with, socialize with, work with, or relate to them
  • Repeating or “echoing” words or phrases that other people say to you
  • Being unable to use commonly used words to express your wants and needs
  • Being unable to engage in “pretend” behaviors (i.e., feeding a stuffed animal or pushing a doll in a stroller)
  • Repeating the same action(s) and/or engaging in the same behaviors over and over again
  • Having a hard time adjusting to changes in your routine
  • Reacting to smells, sounds, and tastes in unusual or abnormal ways
  • Experiencing regression or losing skills you once had (i.e., losing your ability to walk or talk after already acquiring these skills)

How is Autism Diagnosed and Treated?

There is no official medical test (blood test, x-ray, etc.) to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Thus, the only way for a doctor to diagnose ASD is to observe and assess a person’s behavior and/or his or her ability to master age-appropriate milestones (i.e., in infants, toddlers, and young children).

Sometimes ASD can be “detected” in children 18 months old (or younger). However, most doctors refrain from “officially diagnosing” children until they are 2-3 years old to avoid a misdiagnosis. Keep in mind, however, that most children are not “officially diagnosed” with ASD until they enter elementary school or even later. Unfortunately, a late diagnosis can cause children and adults to miss out on valuable resources that can make their lives easier and more enjoyable.

Can Autism Be Cured?

No, there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

However, studies suggest that early intervention services, like applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy, parent training, peer training, pivotal response training, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), language training, family training, speech therapy, hearing impairment services, physical therapy, and/or nutrition services can improve the future outcomes of children with autism.

Researchers suggest that early intervention services can benefit children from birth-to-36 months. These services can teach children with autism valuable skills that can be used throughout life. Early intervention services can also teach children with autism how to speak, walk, and interact with others in a healthy way. So, if you suspect that your child may have ASD, ask his or her pediatrician for an ASD evaluation.

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopment condition that also falls on the autism spectrum. In other words, it is a form of ASD. Asperger’s, like other ASDs (i.e., standard autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder (NOS), and Rett syndrome), involves some degree of impairment in speech, language, and/or communication. It also involves repetitive or limited thoughts and behaviors. However, unlike children with “standard” autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome usually retain their early language skills.

The most noticeable marker of AS is a “fixation” with a specific object or topic, and a disinterest in anything else. People with AS want to learn everything they can about the things that interest them. And, they base their entire conversations on that specific thing or topic, regardless of what others may want to talk about. They also have an extremely high level of experience and expertise, along with extensive vocabulary, speech, and language skills, resembling those of a college professor.

AS symptoms may also include repetitive routines or rituals, oddities in speech and language, inappropriate or inadequate social skills, emotions, and behaviors, an inability to interact or socialize with others in socially appropriate ways, non-existent or limited non-verbal communication skills (gestures), and/or awkward movements.

How Can I Tell if I Have Asperger’s Syndrome?

If you have one of the following symptoms, you may have Asperger’s syndrome:

  • Pattern-based repetitive motor skills or movements
  • An inability to interpret the feelings of others
  • An inability to accurately “read” other people
  • Overstated facial expressions and gestures
  • Hostile or combative behaviors
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • An inability to appreciate or understand humor
  • An inability to understand the meaning behind certain gestures
  • Poor social awareness
  • A hypersensitivity to sounds, textures, odors, or tastes

What Causes Asperger’s Syndrome?

The exact cause is currently unknown.

However, certain factors may contribute to Asperger’s Syndrome, such as:

Note: Asperger’s syndrome is 4x more common in males than females. And, older parents (over the age of 35) are more likely to have a child with an ASD, like Asperger’s syndrome.

How is Asperger’s Syndrome Treated? What is the Prognosis?

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) treatment usually involves “corrective therapies” that address the three primary symptoms – repetitive routines and rituals, poor communication or language skills, and uncoordinated motor skills or movements. Understand that there is no “one size fits all” AS treatment. However, early intervention services are crucial for a positive outcome.

An effective AS treatment program can improve a child’s ability to communicate and interact with peers and adults, cater to a child’s interests, prepares a child to live as independently as possible in the future, offer a stable and consistent daily schedule, teach a child how to work through a series of easy steps to get a solution, and provide structured activities that can capture and sustain a child’s attention.

Treatment may also involve positive reinforcement, social skills training, CBT, prescription medications (for other conditions), and self-help tools. With proper treatment, people with AS can learn effective coping mechanisms to help them conquer stressful and overwhelming situations. The good news is many people with Asperger’s syndrome go on to have successful careers. Although, some may need a little extra help (i.e., encouragement, resources, support, and tools) to achieve goals and live independently.

When AS treatment is sought early, the prognosis is good.

What Are Some Issues That People with Asperger’s Syndrome Face?

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association eliminated Asperger’s syndrome from its formal guidelines because the label was being inconsistently applied to people with ASD. More specifically, the AS label was being applied to individuals based on the therapists’ perception of it – and not the formal guidelines.

Today, people with an ASD, like Asperger’s syndrome, are encouraged to look at their symptoms as being a part of a spectrum, instead of being the “condition.” For instance, people with ASD are encouraged to compare their symptoms to the spectrum, instead of referring to themselves with a blanket statement like “I am autistic.” Understand that although people with “standard autism” may have more severe symptoms than people with Asperger’s syndrome, both forms of ASD, experience some level of disability in one or more areas of their lives.

Even people with high-functioning brains have successful careers in their chosen areas of interest may still experience the following ASD symptoms:

  • Being unable to focus on or pay attention to other people and topics when they do not interest them
  • Being unable to identify and understand facial expressions and bodily gestures
  • Being unable to interact with others in a genuine way

While it is true that people with AS are considered the highest-functioning, most knowledgeable (in certain subjects), and “highly gifted” people, many of these individuals are unable to effectively share their skills and talents with others. For instance, a person with Asperger’s may know a lot about space and could passionately talk about it for days, he or she may be unable to talk about other things, like American history or the various parts of the body.

When someone else starts talking about another subject, a person with AS may lose interest and become bored. On the flip side, a person with AS may continue to talk about a topic because he or she is unable to “detect” when others are bored or tired of it.

Moreover, some people with AS can come across as “aggressive” or “angry” when they feel stifled or restricted from talking about or doing the things that interest them. These feelings may spark resentment, frustration, and/or rage, which can be “off-putting” to others.

Some people with Asperger’s syndrome may become dependent on alcohol and drugs and/or porn. People with AS may turn to alcohol and drugs to “loosen up” in social settings. Alcohol and drugs can also lower a person’s inhibitions, so he or she feels “relaxed enough” to view and/or masturbate to porn. After repeated “use,” this person can become addicted to alcohol and drugs and/or porn.

Can People with Asperger’s Syndrome Become Addicted to Porn?

Yes!

A person with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) can experience mild-to-moderate social challenges. For instance, a person with AS may be unable to discern (through words or gestures) when someone else has grown weary with the topic, relationship, or conversation. He or she may continue to talk when he or she should probably be quiet and allow someone else to take center stage.

It is also common for people with AS to develop “unbreakable” or rigid habits, tendencies, and patterns of behaviors and stay within certain self-imposed confines when it comes to their interests. And, because people with AS have a hard time communicating with, relating to, interacting with, and/or connecting with other people, they tend to self-isolate (be alone). As a result, they are often described as “shy,” “bashful,” “awkward,” and/or “introverted.”

When people with AS become annoyed, fatigued, disinterested, stressed, and/or overwhelmed, some turn to porn to relieve their angst. Porn eases their hurt feelings, helps them feel accepted, allows them to “escape” emotional distress, provides them with entertainment, and/or helps them cope with depression, anxiety, stress, or unhappiness. Some people with AS feel at ease with viewing porn – when it is combined with drugs and alcohol. Because the sensations that porn produces in the body are pleasurable, people with AS keep returning to it, increasing their risks of porn addiction.

How is Asperger’s Syndrome Linked to Porn Addiction?

People with Asperger’s may have a hard time actively listening to the views, beliefs, thoughts, and opinions of others. Even if these individuals want to connect with others, and even if they mentally prepare to socialize or network with others, they may still find it extremely challenging, difficult, overwhelming, and stressful to do so, especially in group settings.

Because these individuals have a hard time connecting with others, some turn to porn to relieve their stress and anxiety. Keep in mind that some people, even those, who are not on the autism spectrum, turn to porn for stress relief. Porn also provides an “escape” from feeling “different” or from feeling socially awkward. It allows these individuals to feel as if they “belong” somewhere. It also helps them indirectly connect with others (through images, movies, videos, and even erotica books) without having to communicate with them in more personal ways (in one-on-one or in-person interplays).

Some people with AS may have developmental delays that cause them to turn to porn. Although a person with AS may be exceptional in one area, there is a good chance he or she may be average or below average in another. For example, a teenager with AS may have the intelligence and language skills of a medical doctor, but only have the maturity and social skills of an 8-year-old. What does that mean? It means that people with AS have an “imbalance” or “discrepancy” in their emotional/logical development.

Because of developmental delays, people with this condition may prefer to play with, work with, and interact with people who are much younger than themselves. For instance, a 16-year-old girl may navigate towards 5-year-olds in social settings because she has the social skills of a 5-year-old.

Similarly, a 45-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome may turn to porn because his younger “friends” are using it or he may use it to fit in and be accepted by a younger crowd (people in their 20s and 30s).

Young men with Asperger’s syndrome, who have a hard time “scoring dates,” may enter the “seedy world of porn” because it’s appealing to them. Some porn sites offer real-life videocam experiences with amateur women or men or “professional porn stars.” These sites encourage people to watch or engage in their sexual fantasies – for a price – on a screen.

During the virtual encounter, the “user” can talk with the man or woman in the video. This “access” can make a person with AS feel as if he or she is connected to someone. However, for a person with AS, “using porn” can be dangerous, especially if he or she does not fully understand the risks of partaking in porn, the difference between right and wrong, what is considered “socially acceptable behaviors,” and/or what could happen to them by engaging in porn-watching – i.e., porn addiction.

Understand that many people with AS turn to porn out of a desire to feel loved and accepted. Because they have been unable to garner these things from people in the real world, they turn their attention to actors and amateurs on porn sites to feel as if they belong somewhere.

Are There Any Self-Help Tools That Can Help a Person with Asperger’s Syndrome Combat Porn Addiction?

Yes, there are self-help tools that can combat porn addiction.

One effective tool is called “Stop Together.”

What is Stop Together? It is an affordable online porn addiction recovery program that caters to all demographics, which means it caters to people with and without Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Stop Together offers invaluable resources and tools, such as porn addiction support, a personal addiction specialist, therapy, articles written by addiction experts, audio recordings, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) techniques, mindfulness meditation strategies, and discretion. Even better? Stop Together has helped over 1,000 men become free of porn.

So, if you are looking for a way to become and stay “porn-free,” check out Stop Together. It will be the best decision you ever made!