SEX SEX SEX – An Intimacy Issue in Antisocial Personality Disorder
Trigger Warning: The article explores different aspects of Antisocial personality disorder that some may find disturbing.
Let’s get comfortable with the word here – SEX! Say it with me – SEX!
Yes, that is what we are talking about. The word that shall not be taken, but we shall!
Let’s start with a story.
Suman’s symptoms first started appearing after she was physically abused by her friends in school at the age of 13. Her first noticeable symptom was when she pushed one of those friends to the middle of the road while a bus was fast approaching. A passerby saved the girl, but Suman’s behavior became the talk of the town. Initially everyone thought it was anger and vengeance.
However, two years later she was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). She is now 23 years old and she is unable to commit to a relationship as she feels no affection towards them. She goes around having sex with random people with no emotional bonding whatsoever.
I am sure you were able to dissect some of the features of ASPD with the vignette that you read above! Lack of regard for others’ emotions or safety, lack of empathy, inability to display normal social behavior and exploiting and manipulating others are some of the many symptoms of this life-altering disorder.
Like Suman, many people with ASPD are not able to commit to a relationship. Why you may wonder! The answer is quite simple actually. The lack of oxytocin – a neurotransmitter associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. It impacts bonding behavior, the creation of group memories, social recognition, and other social functions. It is also known as the love-hormone, and is induced while hugging or orgasms.
This shortage of oxytocin production becomes an obstacle for intimacy. But if they don’t feel affection or intimate pleasure, why does Suman sleeping with random guys? What did she get out of it? Well, she gets pleasure out of it as oxytocin is induced during orgasms. But the pleasure is quite self-centered.
For said ‘normal’ people, sex is a two-way experience. We want to satisfy each other and think of ways to please each other. For people with ASPD, sex is a personal thing. They can’t care for the pleasure of the person they are having sex with. They only care about themselves, and their own sexual satisfaction. It might seem unusual and abnormal to us but for them that is normal. And even if they don’t feel love for others, they definitely have a lot of love for themselves.
They get what they want by approaching people and having sex, but they often can’t have a romantic relationship. For people diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, sex is a pleasurable activity, and they know they can derive satisfaction out of it. For their relationships however, they can’t feel the same way.
So if you know someone like Suman, know that it is a disorder and with help from mental health professionals, their symptoms can be treated.