I have noticed a tendency towards androgyny in many on the autistic spectrum. Simon Baron-Cohen’s EQ SQ-theory, suggesting that autism is connected to having been exposed to higher prenatal testosterone levels, seems more applicable to ASD & ADHD & TS females than to classical Aspie males.
Females with ASD, ADHD and TS often think, interact and communicate more like males, and may have both typical male and typical female interests. A majority of the AS and ADHD women that I’ve communicated with report getting along much better with men than with non-spectrum women.
“I must say it’s beneficial to be an Aspie woman. I feel like I’m in the middle between a typical man and a typical woman. Whereas either extreme, i.e., macho man or girly girl seems far away from my understanding, I feel I can kind of see both the male’s and woman’s point of view, although I can see the woman’s point of view a little better and I’m a woman so I’m not really neutral.
- Carrie, female Aspie from USA
“As a girl I was a so-called a Tomboy. Refused to play with dolls, preferred to play with boys and boy activities such as bandy etc. When I started school, horses become my big interest and continued being so until aduldhood. But I continued to prefer being with guys. As an adult I’ve chosen a rather manly profession and today only work with men. My theory is that men’s language is simpler and has fewer undertones than women’s.”
- Kia, female Aspie from Sweden
“Absolutely – men have a much simpler language and is therefore easier for me to understand. With women there is sooner or later conflict, due to them not saying what they mean… and all these hints…”
- ‘Panika’, female Aspie from Sweden
“Generally speaking, I’ve always had an easier time communicating with guys. It is easier, I think. Not so much gossiping, and one is not considered a moron if you know how a toaster works.”
- ‘weasley’, female Aspie from Sweden
“I just got an Asperger diagnosis and that explains some things, e.g. why this with gender identity has been somewhat of a problem. Read that it is an Asperger symptom.
“As a child I used to climb mountains and trees, jumped ice floe etc. The last 8 years I’ve been riding a moped although I’m a lady of 56. My clothes are functional. Often forced into men’s dpt. to find them. In the ladies’ dpt. there are only vain, impractical, see-through clothes that don’t keep me warm on my moped.
“It turned out early that I had too little oestrogen and therefore didn’t get my period until I started eating low-dose contraceptive pills at 27. Today I’d like to believe that my AS-brain and the oestrogen lack is connected. I guess I’m simply more of a man since 75% of AS are men.”
- ‘Debbido’, female Aspie from Sweden
Male Aspies are often softer, more physically or emotionally sensitive, introvert, monogamous, sexually passive, boyish in appearance and less macho than the average male. This may not be true of every Aspie, especially not the naturally hyperactive/intense ADHD type who may be a lot more macho and sexually initiating, although that too can vary between individuals. But many of the classical ‘geeky’ type of Aspie do seem to be rather androgyn in body type, courting behavior and general temperament. Only in the areas of communication, social interaction, interests & systemising thinking can some Aspie males be said to be ‘extremely male’.
According to Swedish professor Annica Dahlström, it is not uncommon in the general population to have both male and female traits in various proportions (two overlapping bell-curves were shown in her 2007 lecture at the annual Swedish brain conference in Gothenburg, televised by SVT). Some people have a different brain gender than body gender. Possible biological reasons suggested for this:
Chromosomes. Some males have two XX-chromosomes and thus turn out more feminine, while some females have an XY-combination and become more masculine.
Hormones. The more testosterone one is subjected to in the womb (and just after birth in males) the more masculine the child; the more oestrogen the more feminine. Girls who don’t get enough of the constant oestrogen flow may develop difficulty with social competence & reading faces and become shy & reserved.
Cell-types. There are also two specific cell-groups in the hypothalamus (INAH-3 & SCN) which determine partner preference, plus one (BST) which determines gender identity. You can thus be a female with a more masculine brain and vice versa without necessarily being homosexual or having a gender identity problem.