In this episode of the “Embracing Intensity” podcast, host Aurora brings on a special guest, Cate Osburn, better known on social media as Catieosaurus. As a certified sex educator with an emphasis on neurodivergency and intimacy, Cate sparks much-needed conversations, tackling topics others often shy away from. With her unique insights drawn from personal experiences and her role as a sex educator, she brings a nuanced understanding of how neurodivergency can interact with intimacy and sex.
Throughout the episode, Cate and Aurora, among other topics, delve into the intersection of neurodivergence and intimacy, discuss the impacts of societal norms on sex and relationships, and provide tangible strategies to navigate through intimacy issues. Cate advocates for self-advocacy, shedding light on the importance of open and honest communication within relationships.
In a world that rarely discusses the intersection of intimacy and neurodivergence, this conversation with Catieosaurus is a breath of fresh air providing valuable insights, strategies, and reassurance that you are not alone in your struggles. Catch up on this enlightening conversation today.
Use the link in the podcast description to join our Embracing Intensity community to access our courses and tools designed to help you use your own intensity without getting burned! Explore different podcast episodes, meet like-minded individuals, and enjoy self-paced learning to better understand and grow from your experiences.
In this episode:
- The relationship and challenges between neurodivergence and intimacy.
- Tips for navigating sensory issues during sexual activities, such as using tools like headphones.
- An examination of problematic gender dynamics that can play out in intimate relationships.
- Ways to manage relationship satisfaction amidst the challenges of neurodivergency.
- How to distinguish between drama and passion in relationships.
- The importance of self- advocacy, allowing for the fulfilling and authentic expression of our needs.
- The concept of “Ask culture” versus “Guess culture” and the effects on relationships and intimacy.
* Rough Transcript *
Cate: Now I know that I’m neurodivergent, or now I’m starting to really understand my partner’s neurodivergency. How do we communicate about that? How do I ask for what I want? How do I find a framing that fits within our boundaries and our, you know, desires and that kind of thing?
Aurora: Welcome to the Embracing Intensity podcast. I’ll be sharing interviews and tips for gifted, creative, twice exceptional, and outside the box thinkers who use their fire in a positive way. My name is Aurora Remember Holtzman. After years of feeling too much, I finally realized that intensity is the source of my greatest power.
Now, instead of beating myself up about not measuring up to my own self imposed standards, I’m on a mission to help people embrace their own intensity and befriend their brains so they can share their gifts with the world through the Embracing Intensity community, coaching, educational assessment, and other tools to help you use your fire without getting burned.
You can join us at embracingintensity. com.
Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve released a podcast episode as I’ve been recovering from burnout and pushing myself to get my printed planner done with many, many delays and lots of resistance I realized, because most of my content has been digital. So putting out something that’s actually printed was a really big deal.
And I finally released it this past weekend. You can find the link in the show notes. But as I came back to editing this podcast, I realized that I really want to be spending more time. On my podcasts and I have so many people that I’d like to interview. And so many talks, I haven’t even gotten out on the podcast yet because I just haven’t had the time and energy to put into it because I’m trying to figure out things that can help support it financially because the podcast itself does not actually bring in any income.
In fact, it costs me to produce. And so I’ve been trying to focus my time and effort on things that bring in a little bit of income. And while it has brought in some, it’s not really so significant as to support the continuation of this podcast. But really the continuation of this podcast is where I’d rather be spending my time.
So if you enjoyed this podcast, if you’d like to see me putting out more, I would love to get back to producing. Twice a month of possible. And the best way to do that is if I don’t have to spend as much of my time focusing on the paid content, on marketing, on all of that stuff that brings in the income that supports it. and instead can focus on finding awesome speakers and awesome guests and interviewing them because that’s really what I love to do.
So you can support the podcast by joining my memberships, either the full all access, embracing intensity membership, where you can get my course and planner club and access to all past. Calls and discussions and a lot of other stuff that I’ll be adding over time. Or just the monthly planner club where you can get planner tools that are printable.
And I am constantly adding new ones to that as well. So if you’d like to support this podcast, that would be a great way to go. And you can find the full discussion of this talk in the embracing intensity membership. And so here on the podcast, we’ll be sharing the Q and a portion, but the discussion itself stays in the membership area to keep it a little bit more intimate. So you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy.
So welcome, everyone. Glad to have you. So, we were talking about the format and we decided to have more of a Q and A format. And so, I’m going to start with a couple questions and then if you guys have questions, you can go ahead and put them in the chat, the more open questions or more general questions, but then towards the end, it looks like you know, it’s not overwhelmingly large group, so, we’ll have some time for a discussion towards the end.
So great. If you guys have any questions, go ahead and put it in the chat and I was going to start with a general question of like, what are some common themes that you see come up specifically in the world of neurodivergence when it comes to intimacy, sex relationships? I know that’s broad, but like.
Cate: I was like, Oh my gosh that’s such a lovely question. I mean, I think there I’m trying to figure out the best way to answer that. Cause I love how you framed it. I think What I would say is that as someone -so for those of you who don’t know hi, I’m Cate.
I go by Catieosaurus on the internet I’m a certified sex educator my special interest is the connection between neurodivergency and intimacy and I’ve really got my Start out of sheer and honest to God’s spite. I was so frustrated and I was so upset about the lack of conversations that were being had about the differentials between, you know,
intimacy and relationships, especially like between people who are neuroatypical and people who are not, right? And so I think for me, the answer to your question, Aurora, the themes that I see come up the most are themes about satisfaction and whether or not you are finding your sex life, your intimacy, however you want to phrase it, because sex and intimacy is two different things, which we will talk about a little bit later on.
So satisfaction, am I satisfied? Am I having a good time? The second thing would be communication. Now this hypothetical person, now I know that I’m neurodivergent or now I’m starting to really understand my partner’s neurodivergency. How do we communicate about that? How do I ask for what I want?
How do I find a framing that fits within our boundaries and our, you know, desires and that kind of thing? The third thing that I would say is, I’m trying to pick a really clean third one, and I don’t know if there is, so this one’s gonna be like a little wishy washy. It doesn’t have to be clean, I’m gonna put a But I think, I think intimacy.
I think because something that I’m fascinated about is like, I’m a certified sex educator. I make sex content on the internet, and I also am on the asexual spectrum, so I have a really interesting relationship with sex. And so too are a lot of neurodivergent people. A lot of neurodivergent people have different sex drives, and experience desire and need for intimacy in different ways than is normally discussed.
And so I think, bringing about sort of discussions and conversations about intimacy in those ways. Like what are ways, how do you express intimacy when you are dealing with, say, sensory issues? Or how do you deliver intimacy if a partner is in a meltdown? How do you deliver intimacy on a daily basis if you are someone who has a very low sex drive?
And so, yeah, so those are the three things. Where are we getting the intimacy? What does that intimacy look like? Then it’s, there my dog goes. I knew it was going to happen. And then the second is that intimacy fulfilling? And if it’s not, how do we talk about it? Those are my answers.
Aurora: Awesome. Yeah, you know, and it’s funny too, because I’ve learned so much more about the asexual spectrum and that, attraction piece is like, and it occurred to me that I’m kind of on that spectrum as well, but it’s like, I heard the term Recipro sexual, and I was like, that’s it.
Like, I, I don’t even think about it unless it’s presented. But then I can very much, you know, enjoy it. But I think that spectrum is something that people don’t really understand. They just assume asexual means you don’t enjoy sex, but it’s really that attraction piece.
You just don’t necessarily find yourself attracted without other factors.
So I was curious if there was any like specific things that come to mind when you think where people think like, oh, I’m the only one or I’m the only one that this happens to and that they’re like relieved when they find out. Oh, I’m not the only one.
Cate: I think the first answer that comes to mind is definitely navigating sensory issues during sex, because or just intimacy in general.
And I think sensory issues are interesting because they are separate and very different than things like sex drive, right? You can have an incredibly high sex drive, but also have a lot of sensory issues. You can have a very low, you know, you can be low, low, high, high, like whatever the square is, right?
You can be all of those. And so navigating through sensory issues is often really challenging because not only as neurodivergent people, are we looking at, you know, okay, I don’t like this thing, but also I like this other thing. So how do I take the two things and sort of mesh them up into an experience that works for me?
Similarly again, like, especially I think with late diagnosed people or people who are just now sort of starting to understand and really step into their neurodivergent person sometimes you just don’t know what works. you don’t know what doesn’t work. And for a lot of us who spend our whole lives masking and forcing ourselves to be okay and forcing ourselves to be comfortable, sometimes there’s even that like, Oh, I didn’t even know that that was an option.
I didn’t even know that I was allowed to ask for this or, you know, remove this component from my intimacy. A really good example I have is I have a lot of clients who don’t like kissing. They are deeply in love with their partner. They are in a lovely, long term, romantic, intimate relationship.
But their sensory issues are like, I don’t like kissing. It’s overwhelming. It’s close. It’s uncomfortable. I get in my head about it. I feel weird about it. I don’t like kissing. But because In our culture, we have associated this idea of you have to kiss your romantic partner, there has to be kissing, otherwise it doesn’t count, it’s, you know, always kiss me goodnight, like those kind of narratives, and it’s like, always kiss me goodnight, unless my sensory issues make it terrible to be kissed, then, you know, let’s do a romantic high five or something like that, and so, yeah, so I think a lot of those conversations around flexibility and all of the sort of different components that can go into an intimate experience, you know, all five senses, six senses, which whichever, I don’t know, however many there are.
Aurora: Yeah, that’s a really good point.
And just thinking about what we just assume as part of the package and that, you know, it’s very personal what you like and what you don’t. And I would say for my first 10 year relationship, like I had no idea. Because I didn’t have the experience to know, like, so for me, it was just like, take it or leave it because I didn’t know what to ask for because I hadn’t had that experience.
And so I think that’s one of the reasons why these kinds of conversations are so important because if you don’t know that you could ask, or if you don’t know, you can’t ask.
Cate: Well, yeah, and I think that hits on kind of that idea of communication because. You know, we talk endlessly about communication when it comes to relationship.
You have to communicate in your relationship. But it is rare that I see that conversation sort of go to the second part of that, which is communicate what am I talking about? Like what specifically do I need to be communicating in order to sort of achieve those goals of working through these like needs and wants and desires.
And the thing that I think is really important to stress is communication is a tool, right? Communication is a tool we use to sort of navigate in relationships. But like any tool, you can be good at using a screwdriver and you can be really crappy at using a screwdriver. And sometimes To become good at using tools, you have to practice and you have to fail.
And so I think that when we talk about communication, I always really like to stress that there is no one perfect way to have conversations. There’s no one perfect way to have the, like, one perfect magical conversation that fixes everything. Like, it is a constant work in progress and it’s a constant sort of utilization of those tools in order to sort of facilitate that support structure and those needs.
If that makes, that made perfect sense in my head and now I’m second guessing everything I said.
Aurora: That totally makes sense. I’m
curious if you have any specific recommendations for like resources for those people who maybe they want to explore things, but they don’t know even where to start in the conversation.
They don’t even know what to ask because they want to learn more about like what, what they can even ask for.
Cate: Yeah, no, I mean, that’s a really good question. I think that’s a really broad question again. But what I would say is when it comes to sex and sort of intimacy and that you know, what do I want?
What do I like? What do I not like? For people who haven’t done a lot of exploring, one of the most useful tools and there’s a whole bunch of them, they’re all over the internet, but it’s something called a yes, no, maybe list. And basically yes, no, maybe list is literally just basically a big spreadsheet of stuff that you can do in the bedroom ranging from sort of very shall we say, traditional to perhaps much farther out there into like the sort of kink and BDSM world, which is where I spend a lot of my time educating.
So that’s kind of my wheelhouse. But a yes, no, maybe list is wonderful. Because it’s literally just that it’s just a list and you go through and you’re like, You know, sitting honestly with yourself sitting, you know, sort of, being self aware of how you’re feeling and say that sounds interesting.
That might be something that I would like to try or like, absolutely not. That sounds terrible. And then the idea is that you and your partners, you know, come back, you compare notes, you compare lists and out of that sort of a generative discussion can happen regarding, you know, like, hey, do you want to.
Try this new thing. Or, Hey, actually, this is a thing that we’ve been doing and I actually really don’t like it. So that can be a really good way to sort of facilitate just those like, I didn’t even know that was a thing that I could ask for.
Aurora: Awesome. And if you guys have any questions you want to share in the chat, I have one more kind of general question.
And then if you guys have anything, it can be general or specific feel free to put them in the chat. So the one other thing I had mentioned earlier that. I’d just be curious your take. And again, this can be more general, but being the topic of this podcast is embracing intensity, which means most of us tend towards some sort of intensity.
And a lot of times, especially those of us with ADHD tend to be drawn towards that. dopamine hit, which can really be more kind of drama. And I’ve found myself in the past really confusing drama for passion. Like, oh, this person is so passionate, but it’s really more drama and dopamine, that dopamine hit.
And I saw this great article recently, and it was talking about attraction of deprivation versus attraction of inspiration, which I thought was a nice kind of way to differentiate it. And I think that, but that deprivation can really cause that dopamine hit. And we think it’s passion when it’s maybe not or maybe it is.
But I’m just curious your take on, like, kind of differentiating between passion and that, like, dopamine hit drama. I know, it’s very broad.
Cate: I, well, I think part of it is that, like, my autistic brain has latched on to drama, and I’m like, well, that’s Theater, right? Oh, that kind of drama. Yeah. But I, I think I know what you mean. And I think what I would say is that one involves, okay, I’m trying to figure out how to say this in a way that makes sense.
I think the difference between drama and passion is that they both come from a foundation of emotional vulnerability, right? To be passionate about something is to be curious, is to be fearless, is to be excited, is to be interested, is to be intrigued, is to wake up every day and say, hell yes, I want to learn more about Shakespeare or I am passionate about justice and I want to make change in the world.
Whereas I think drama comes from that same place of emotional vulnerability, but it comes from a place of hurt, it comes from a place of deficit, it comes from a place of I am not emotionally regulated, I am not emotionally available in a way that is perhaps healthy or regulated, I’ll say. And so I am going to take this emotional sort of frustration that I’m feeling, and I’m going to put it towards you.
And so this idea of, you know, two people are mad, right? Because something isn’t fair. The passionate person is coming from a place of education. They’re coming from a place of why isn’t this fair? How do we fix this? How do we make this right? The dramatic person says, this is your fault, or, you know, this is society’s fault.
But it, but it comes from that place of less than generative growth is I think my answer.
Aurora: That was actually a wonderful summary. I love it. We got some questions here. So, how do you find the time, make space for intimacy, life work, hyper focus, and task initiation seems to constantly get in the way.
Cate: You’re not going to like this answer very much. I’m just, I just want you to know that going in but for neurodivergent people, especially consistency and structure is often really important when we come to intimacy because of all of those things that you mentioned. Right? Like life is in the way work is in the way our hyper focuses get in the way that sort of task initiation of like, Oh, I’m really invested in, I don’t know, you know, knitting this scarf, or learning everything there is to know about Doctor Who I’m having a hard time transitioning out of that activity into more intimate time.
And so one of the most useful things is simply scheduling time. saying every Thursday, you know, regardless, I’m going to make a point of being intimate with my partner or on the weekends, I’m going to make a point of making my partner feel seen and valued, whatever that looks like. I know that saying scheduling sex can be a little bit more like a little like, Oh, it takes a little bit of the magic out of it.
But practically, like practically speaking, the notion of setting aside a time means that now you can mentally prepare for that transition. You can know it’s Thursday night. What am I doing to support myself? What am I doing to support my partner? So we can move into that more intimate phase of the evening.
And so that’s something that I really advocate for. Especially knowing. The sort of executive functioning deficits that come with neurodivergence. It helps.
Aurora: Awesome. Yeah. I know it is that spontaneity versus planning it out. Like if you’re that with, especially with time blindness and those of us who have aphantasia and don’t like visualize in our head, like it just doesn’t occur, you know, unless you’re planning for it
Cate: Yeah. Well, and can I soapbox about something for a second? Is that okay? So one of the things that I find to be really frustrating when we have conversations about neurodivergency and intimacy is that there is like a stack of boxes that we are handling all at the same time, right?
So the first box that we have. is neurodivergence, right? Like, the specific challenges and the specific things that we don’t necessarily struggle with. Like all of those things are like, that’s the first box. But then we have things like sex drive and sex drive is independent from neurodivergence, right?
And it’s also very individualized. So do I have a high sex drive? Do I have a low sex drive? Right? Then the third box out of that is what kind of desire Do I experience because some people experience much more sort of a conditional desire. Some people experience much more sort of just like spontaneous desire.
So that’s your third box, right? So then the fourth box is stuff like comorbidities. Do I have depression? Do I have anxiety? Am I dealing with other, you know, mental illnesses or other neurodivergencies that are going to impact those other boxes? Right? So then the fifth box on top of that. Is, you know, what kind of pleasure are you looking for?
Are you looking for emotional pleasure? Are you looking for physical pleasure? Are you looking for like an intimate connection? Because all three of those things are different, right? And then the sort of next box is then you start talking about sexual attraction versus romantic attraction. So at any moment in time, you got to get through all of those boxes before you can get to that sort of point of being like, great.
I’m good to go. And that’s a lot. That’s a lot to navigate through. And so like, that’s one of the reasons why I got so curious about this work that I do and these topics. Because most of the time, like the lens that we’re actually looking at is like, are you down?
Like, are you, are you good to go? Like, are you, are you into it? Like, how about tonight? Finger guns. But it’s so much more complicated than that. There’s so many more pieces that you have to move through. So,
Aurora: yeah, that’s such a good point. So many layers. I’m looking at the questions here. How how does ineffective communication fit into drama?
Cate: Oh, girl, how long do you have? Like, I, okay, this is going to also be another little bit of a soapbox, but I think, One of the most detrimental things that we can do in, to any relationship is to force the other person to be a mind reader. There is so much stigma, and there is so much, I think, embarrassment and may, call it shame, call it guilt, call it whatever you want to call it, about these ideas.
Of effectively communicating? Well, he, if he loved me, he would just know, right? Like if, you know, if she really loved me, she would make a point of telling me that she loved me every day like he would know to bring me flowers on my birthday. How have you ever told that person? Right? Have you ever told that person?
And so I think that sort of drama component that often comes in when our needs aren’t being met. And rather than communicate, rather than really break down, like hey, have I ever actually told my partner that it’s really important to me that he kiss me goodbye every morning and tell me that I look good and that I am, you know, beautiful and he’s happy to be with me?
That’s a thing you can ask for. You’re allowed. You, if you need that, if that’s the thing that you need to move into your day in a positive, you know, mindset, that’s the thing you can ask for, but that little piece of, but if he actually loved me, if he actually cared about me, he would just, he would just do it.
That’s where I think that drama component happens because that’s where resentment start to get built like building and anger starts to develop. And the caveat to that though, is if you do ask for it. And then it doesn’t happen. That’s a whole different, that’s a whole different conversation, but that initial ask that that moment of I’m going to take this and really seriously consider it a need.
That is, I think that’s the moment where you start to get like remove drama out of your life and just really start communicating clearly and effectively.
Aurora: Totally, and that’s something that, I think, have you heard that concept of like ask culture versus guess culture?
Cate: Oh yeah, that was like one of my first viral videos.
Aurora: Oh, was it?
Cate: Yeah, yeah.
Aurora: Maybe, maybe you were the one I heard it from.
Cate: Yeah, like asking versus guessing culture, that’s sort of another one of those boxes, right? Like, did you grow up in an asking family? Did you grow up in a guessing family? I definitely grew up in a guessing family. And my partner grew up in an asking family and that was an adjustment of letting go of that fear of direct communication and, well, what if he thinks I’m a jerk or what if he thinks, like, no, it’s asking for what you want is a gift.
Aurora: Yeah, totally. Okay. I have a wide range of sensation available to me because I learned early how to transmute pain to pleasure quickly. Lately, I’ve been exploring finding sensations that are truly pleasurable and I’m struggling mostly with my own patients, perhaps any tips.
Cate: Yes. I have a, I have a thing for you.
So there is an incredible woman who wrote an incredible book. Her name is Betty Martin. And she wrote a book called the Wheel of Consent. And the Wheel of Consent is sort of a breakdown of the consent model into much more of a conversation around giving and receiving, like the gift of communication, the gift of service, like that kind of thing.
And one of the most powerful activities is. There’s like a lot of like hands on stuff that you do. It’s literally called the Ha like Waking Up the Hands Exercise. And I encourage you to get the book, check it out. Cause the Waking Up the Hands Exercise is, it is basically a masterclass. in experiencing what true pleasure feels like in your body.
It’s not sexual, it’s not like a thing that is based in sort of that like orgasmic pleasure, but in that like deep sort of my needs are being met, I feel safe, and I feel pleasure. And so I really encourage you to check it out because it literally changed my life. So. That’s, that’s a thing you can do if you want.
I just get really awkward after I like recommend stuff because I’m like, and then if it doesn’t work, I’m going to feel terrible.
Aurora: Well, I think this is your area of expertise. So I think your recommendations -and not everything is for everyone. So it’s not always going to help every single person. I don’t think anyone expects that.
Let’s see. Do you have any tips for handling sound sensory issues during sex? I hate wet body noises. They really shut me down and send me a thousand miles away, but they inevitably happen. And should, if all is well and comfortable. So sound sensory issues,
Cate: headphones. I’m a huge advocate for headphones and or earplugs during sex.
I am also a body noises. Give me the ick person. And so yeah, like I really recommend headphones. And there’s a couple of different like apps and stuff that exist now where you can sort of like share what you’re, you know, you can like Bluetooth to two different sets of earbuds or whatever. But like music in the background, like that kind of thing.
But I’m such a sound person. Like the joke that I always make whenever I’m giving one of these sort of like talks is like the ceiling fan. Like if the ceiling fan starts clicking, I’m done. I’m sorry, sex is over. Go home. I cannot bear it. So things like headphones or, you know, they even make, like if you don’t want like the bulk or you don’t want like earbuds, they even make like headbands, like sleeping head fan headbands that have like flat that can be more comfortable.
But just like supporting yourself with like addition stuff like that can be really good because you’re right. Body noises are going to happen, but creating that support for like, and here’s something that I can do to like, still enjoy that can be very helpful.
Aurora: When do you think is the right time to have the conversation about what you need? Feels like it probably. A bit too much for the first date or in a dating profile.
Cate: I think that’s a really personal, or it’s not a personal question, but it’s a question that has a lot of individual components to it is maybe what I’ll say. Because I am a person, my dating profile is like, nah, I’m not here to waste time.
Like here’s like 10 things that you’re just going to have to like, you know, I’m just very upfront and I’m very direct because I’m old now when I’m out of cares to give, you know? But I think, I think that’s part of it is what is your comfort zone? Do you prefer sort of like having everything out on the table right away?
Do you prefer sort of having organic discussions? I always say no matter what, don’t have the conversation either right before you’re about to have sex or right after. Wait until you are on neutral ground and neutral territory. I love having conversations on long car trips because you can sort of just like look out the window and you don’t have to make awkward eye contact or, you know, go for a walk around the neighborhood, like that kind of thing.
But the actual when I think really depends on you and what the needs are, right? Because there, there are some needs that are very basic, you know, like, Hey, I really need you to like not touch this shoulder when we’re being intimate because I have an injury. That’s night one. That’s day one, right?
But hey, I’ve been thinking about it and I think that I would like to have a conversation about like a power dynamic in our relationship and I think that maybe it would be kind of hot if I called you sir. That’s maybe something that you sit down and you have like a whole conversation about. But It can be a more than one time thing.
I think that’s like the last part of that answer for me is that there’s not a when, there’s a how often do you continue to have these conversations that allow us to sort of organically have these conversations. I don’t think any of the conversations. I don’t think any conversation is ever one and done is maybe what I’m trying to say.
Aurora: Yeah. I definitely agree. That’s an ongoing conversation. Let’s see. Oh, so the question, so not finding kissing erotic isn’t unusual.
Cate: I’m going to answer that question like this. I think much like the entire idea of neurodivergence as like a concept, I think that unfortunately we grow up being told that there is a right way and a wrong way to be. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Romantic relationships look like this.
Sex and intimacy look like this. And so anything that deviates from that norm is unusual, is weird, is strange. But I don’t think that anything is usual or unusual. I think things are the way that they need to be for you and that is okay. So there might be a lot of people in the world that go, you don’t like kissing, that’s so weird.
But I think are also a lot of people who go, it’s weird that so many people are into kissing. So what I would say is letting go of that, letting go of the idea that there’s unusual ways to do things, or usual ways to do things, or a right way and a wrong way. That is a really important step for neurodivergent people to really start.
Actively embracing our own needs and advocating for ourselves and not worrying about the idea of, is it usual or unusual, but no, it’s not unusual.
Aurora: Awesome. Let’s see. Not sure if it’s a question, but more reflection. I think as a man, there’s definitely a societal pressure to just do the thing and be grateful. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good point.
I was thinking about the gender piece and how, like, when it comes to the intimacy versus the sex, I think it’s often safer for men to, like, make requests on the sex end of things, whereas I think women feel safer making requests on the intimacy end of things – I mean, not in all situations, but kind of a broad generalization, I feel like our culture makes that more acceptable to ask for those things. Just from my observation.
Cate: Yeah. Yeah. It’s really interesting when, when again, like, I think another one of those sort of boxes that you really have to think about is just your gender expression. and how you are socialized, you know, because especially a trend that I see a lot especially in like late diagnosed women is that there is also oftentimes profound like rejection sensitivity and perfectionism and burnout.
And that is something that can really affect sex and intimacy and this idea of like, you know, if it’s not good immediately, then I’m doing a bad job and it’s my fault. And, you know, or my partner doesn’t love me, like that kind of stuff. And so knowing that and really taking the time to sort of break down a lot of the gender, like the gendered ideals that are sort of presented alongside conversations around sex and intimacy.
Even, you know, questions like who is the person doing the pursuing? Who is the person doing the initiating? Because for a lot of neurodivergent people, especially like ADHD out of sight, out of mind isn’t just Like for your keys or, you know, like your, your cell phone or whatever, it can also be things like emotion, right?
Like if, you know, if my partner doesn’t tell me that he loves me every single day, then I don’t feel loved by my partner. Or, you know, if my partner isn’t actively reminding me that sex is an option, I just forget that sex is on the table because it’s not right there in front of me. And so sometimes there can be that idea of like, well, I’m the lady in the relationship and so like the boy is supposed to be the one who pursues, you know, those sort of like very like false ideals that are often sort of the way that we’re, we construct sex like as we’re growing up and really letting go of those and really examining how gendered ideologies can be harmful to the neurodivergent pleasure experience is I think really important.
Aurora: Yeah, definitely. Good point. Are there any final thoughts or questions from the group?
I really appreciate what you guys have shared. Cate, do you have any final thoughts, questions, any major points you’d like to bring across?
Cate: Oh, gosh. Immediately after my talking about talking for 20 minutes. I got about 12. I think what I would say is that one of the, one of the biggest favors that you can do for yourself is to remember that neurodivergency is not one box, you know, neurodivergency is constantly and consistently having to carry around a bunch of different boxes.
And, you know, sometimes those boxes may interact with intimacy and sex and relationships. And sometimes it really is just like, where did I put my keys? And now I’m frustrated. And that frustration is, you know, bleeding over into my relationships. So because of that, because of the way that neurodivergency can show up Especially when we talk about things like executive functioning deficits and communication deficits, that kind of thing.
I don’t like to come at neurodivergency from a deficit model. I think it does more harm than good. But I think it is important to have the very real conversations about as much as talking about. The deficits that we experience. The fact is that there are some facets of neurodivergency that can have an impact on our partnerships and the way that we communicate and they can be struggles for us.
So one of the most powerful things that you can do, and one of the, I think the most important things that you can do is really, really start to work on self advocacy. And what that looks like to every person is going to be different for some people. It might be just being able to talk openly about their neurodivergence for other people advocating for, you know, sensory processing issues and getting the supports that they need.
Because. Sort of universally across the board, what we see is that when neurodivergent people have supports in place, when they are working with their brain, rather than, you know, in constant opposition to their brain that is when we really start to see relationship satisfaction, job satisfaction, life satisfaction as a whole go up.
And so trusting yourself, validating yourself, believing yourself, you’re not being overdramatic, you’re not being needy, you’re not being demanding, you’re not broken, you’re not weird, it isn’t unusual. It’s just what you need. And if that’s something that is not necessarily in line with what the bulk of people do, I don’t know if I can swear.
Can I swear?
Aurora: Go for it.
Cate: Then fuck em. Fuck em. Fuck em. Just fuck em, right? And I feel like we don’t talk about that enough. Fuck em. If you have the right to ask for what you want and what you need. And to get through the day in a way that is authentic and peaceful and generative. And if you are constantly out of spoons at the end of every day, if intimacy and sex is something that has fallen by the wayside because you are so exhausted just getting through, maybe think about creating more supports for yourself.
It’s easy to throw sex into the backseat. It’s easy to back burner sex and say that’s a thing that we’ll get to later. But it’s also something that is, is really important and really necessary in a lot of relationships. And then conversely, if sex isn’t a big deal, that’s also okay. It’s also okay if you actively choose to make sex, sex less of a priority in your life if you are on the asexual spectrum, like all of those things are valid.
But it’s the validity of your own experience and the validity of how you move through life. And finding that and honoring that and saying, yes, I am valid as I am. That is an important thing. That is the end of my statement.
Aurora: Awesome. Thanks so much. And says, I’m glad I woke up for this. This was very informative that you’re the one who said it was five o’clock in the morning your time, right?
Cate: It’s 5 a. m. where you are?
Aurora: That’s awesome. And, how can we follow you on social media?
Cate: Oh, well, that’s easy here. I’ll type it in the chat. I am Catieosaurus. You can follow me as Catieosaurus everywhere. There is a Catieosaurus to be found.
I will let you know a little bit more specifically. So over on Tik TOK I talk a lot about just sort of general ADHD neurodivergence. Over on YouTube, I’m transitioning and making more of a focus into 2024 to be talking more, like, long form content on YouTube. YouTube is where I do a lot of my sex and kink education that is, like, PG 13 ish.
I will also say that I have a educational series that is more in depth, shall we say over on my Schmoanly Schmance. So if that’s content that you’re interested in and then in 2025, which is forever away, but I can finally say it I have a book deal. There will be a book coming out.
I’m very excited. There are, there’s a link that you can sign up on my website if you want to get like notified about when the book is coming out and all of that stuff. But yeah, anywhere there’s a Catieosaurus. Yes, it’s me.
Aurora: That’s awesome. And like I said, I’ll be sharing the, just the Q and a part on the podcast, either I’ve been behind on the podcast due to burnout, but I’m feeling like that momentum.
So it’s either December or possibly January. My hope is, I would love to get back to two episodes a month in January, but I can’t promise more than one episode a month. We’ll, we’ll see where I’m at, but I will right away shared in the Embracing Intensity in the membership area.
I have a talk library where I have all the discussions and the videos saved there so you can find all the past ones as well. So, I’ll be sharing the replay there. And if you guys have any further questions, discussion, the Mighty Networks community, if you guys had reflections you wanted to share, you’re welcome.
Community dot embracing intensity dot com is the community and it’s free. So there’s no charge for the community itself. So I can post something there where if you guys have thoughts and reflections that you’d like to continue on or questions or anything like that, feel free to share thoughts and reflections there.
Well, Catie, thank you so much for taking the time. I know it’s been quite a year for you. And I really appreciate you taking the time out for this conversation. And it’s kind of nice to have a little intimate, more intimate setting. And it’s great to have you.
Cate: Yeah, thank you all for being here and sharing part of your Saturday with me.
And a last thing is that if you ever have any sort of special needs, Specific questions for me I’m going to drop my email here in the chat, so you can always feel free to reach out. But yeah, thank you all so much for being here and Aurora, thanks for having me. This is, this is really fun.
Aurora: Yeah. Thank you so much.
Have a great Saturday for everyone.
Aurora: Looking for ways to embrace your own intensity? Join our Embracing Intensity community at embracingintensity. com, where you’ll meet a growing group of like minded people who get what it’s like to be gifted and intense and are committed to creating a supportive community, as well as access to our courses and tools to help you use your fire without getting burned.
There’s also a pay what you can option through our Patreon, where you can increase your pledge to help sustain the podcast or Or join us at a rate that better fits your needs. You can also sign up for my free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity, a self regulation workbook for gifted, creative, and twice exceptional adults and teens.
All links can be found in the show notes or on EmbracingIntensity. com.