Thursday, May 14, 2020

Spectrum's Incel article and comments from "sex therapist" Amy Gravino and neurodiversity proponent Sara Luterman

A new article in Spectrum magazine on Incels has been recently gaining traction.  For those who don't know, Incel is a contraction for the words involuntary celibate or people (usually men) who can't find a sexual partner who want one.  The old saw misery loves company rings true here in that there have been a variety of forums on Reddit and other places where these men have been able to hook up and commiserate.

There has been some controversy in this movement in that a small percentage of them have engaged in nasty misogynistic rants against women.  Some of them have even threatened outright violence.  A very few of them have even committed murder.  The most well-known example of this is Elliot Rodger, "the virgin killer".  He's an individual whose mother labeled him a high functioning autistic in divorce papers.  Frustrated at not being able to find a girlfriend or even knowing how to ask a woman for a date, he went on a killing spree, murdering several women.  Alek Minassian, another individual, praised Rodger and then ran over some persons with a van, frustrated at not being able to have sex.

Because of these outliers, there has been a tendency to paint autistic men who can't find girlfriends with a broad brush and label us as "entitled" "stalkers" or bad people.

The problems of involuntary celibacy are very real for many autistic men.  The vast majority are not violent or misogynists who have a feeling of "entitlement".  We just want to have normal heterosexual relationships the way non-handicapped men do.  It is wrong to label us all this way and it does not help the situation.

But what if one of the people is someone who is a counselor who wants to give autistic individuals (as far as I know only men and no women) advice about sex and labels themselves "The Dr. Ruth of autism"  An individual named Amy Gravino has done this.

These are strange words from someone who claims they are a sex advisor like Dr. Ruth and states they want to help autistic men find dates and make a living from it.

I not only believe these comments are not helpful, but they are sexist and ableist bigotry.

Ms. Gravino obtained a masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from a lower tier college.  Afterwards, she became a "certified autism specialist" from some diploma mill.  She has a job at Rutgers University in New Jersey where she plies her trade without any type of state clinical license.

I never felt I was entitled to have a woman for sex.  I never wanted to make others miserable.  I realize there are some autistic men who stalk women.  I am not one of them and I never defended this.  I certainly never defended Elliot Rodger or Alex Minnasian.

The author of the spectrum article did engage in a bit of sensationalism in my opinion and I suppose it should be no surprise that it elicited a bigoted reaction such as this.

Though autistic men who have a disability that prevents them from having a girlfriend are by no means entitled, I do believe they deserve empathy.  They do not deserve to be stereotyped in a groundless fashion.  I pointed this out in a polite email to the author of the spectrum article and he replied and acknowledged this.

This is a real problem for many autistic men and others with disabilities and people should not use this as fodder for sensationalism and bigotry.

Though my loneliness and celibacy has caused me frustration.  I'd rather have it than be a client of Ms. Gravino.

Another female neurodiversity proponent who has weighed in on this is writer Sara Luterman:

Sara Luterman is someone who has repeatedly published in Spectrum magazine, Washington Post, and many other outlets.  I don't share her view that the article was sympathetic to incels.  Though it was fairly well-balanced, if anything it provided an unflattering portrayal of of autistic men frustrated by celibacy.  The article mentions Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho whose mass shootings had nothing to do with sexual frustration.    I don't believe most autistic men are vulnerable to being turned into incel extremists.  They are mostly likely born that way and don't become Elliot Rodgers or Alex Minnisians vis-a-vis indoctrination.  This is a very insulting statement in my opinion.

One last point to ponder is Luterman's statement virtue-signaling autistic women as opposed to males because the males are the ones who engage in mass shootings.  In the general population of mass shooters, regardless of sexual frustration being the issue or not, it is far more likely  that men will commit a mass shooting than women.  This is likely due to hardwired sex differences in the brain.  So this is an unfair apples to hurricane comparison. 

I can only hope anyone reading this post will be wary of the Amy Gravinos and Sara Lutermans of the world. 


Rick Cross said...

Kind of a fucking asshole, aren't you, dude? Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Hit a nerve, did see?
See you a bit to clearly for your liking?
All you are doing is PROVING HER RIGHT.
You ARE who she is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I can't believe you have the audacity to criticize her. Sounds like you are what she is talking about. You are literally stalking her Twitter, teating apart everything she says. Get a life! Also she never claimed to be a therapist. She is a counselor/aid. So your comment about her being a therapist practising without a license is false information. She is amazing. She has been PERSONALLY INVITED to tons of speaking engagements.. including if I'm not mistaken the UN. She is sought out because of her work and her knowledge.
She is kind hearted and an amazingly sensitive and sweet soul and anyone that can't see that is blind.
It a little obsessive and crazy that you not only stalked her Twitter, but wrote a blog post on her..
That's straight up stalking and you should be lucky she doesn't report you to the police.

jonathan said...

Fine have her report me if she believes I did something illegal. I did not stalk her. I was following a thread on John Robison's feed which she posted on also. Counselor versus therapist is a matter of semantics. She's an unlicensed individual who makes a living giving sex advice who got certified from a diploma mill.

The autism world is occupied by all sorts of vulnerable desperate people and this is the only reason she has been invited as a speaker. If people want to hear her speak and think she has something to offer that is only their opinion. I don't share that opinion and don't believe anyone should have her as a client.

Anonymous said...

Amy is someone that does need to be called out. She is constantly on a high horse in a very non-productive way. She has taken advocacy and turned it more into a victim mentality of “the whole world is against me because I’m autistic.” As someone who has dealt with life long chronic illness and also mental health obstacles, it irks me that she uses whatever platform she places herself on as a means to highlight her victim hood and make outlandish, sexually demeaning comments about men in their 70s.

Roger Kulp said...

Ms. Gravino does have a valid point,many people on the spectrum,unless they are very high functioning,have extreme difficulties in social situations,and can often say very hurtful or damaging things,without realizing they are hurtful or damaging.I can easily see where such statements could be considered sexist,or abusisve,coming from an autistic man,and the man not realizing the nature of what he said.As someone trained to work with autistic adults,Ms. Gravino should know this.That said,there are some real creeps,at the higher functioning end of the spectrum,who do feel they are owed sexual favors from women.I believe such men are more common than you might think.

I know nothing about Ms. Gravino,or her educational background,but why would a university like Rutgers,hire someone who either graduated from a low quality diploma mill,or who practices therapy without a lisence?Are we looking at a neurodiverse version of affirmative action?

It would be interesting if Ms. Gravino would come onto this blog,and post something in the comments,to respond to what you say here.

jonathan said...

Hi Roger,

You're correct, there are autistic men who are like that, but Gravino should not be expressing such contempt for these people she claims she wants to help. It's wrong for her to paint all involuntarily celibate autistic men with a broad brush and it's wrong for them to claim that they use autism as an excuse.

She has a masters degree in applied behavioral analysis and is a certified autism specialist from some unaccredited institution which no one would tolerate for any other condition.

I have no idea why Rutgers would hire her, but I guess it's the nature of the low standards of science and everything else that is applied to autistics. Like why would cambridge university hire simon baron cohen when he says people who want to end autism are the same as nazis and members of the KKK and also was behind that study that tried to show that autistics had super human vision which turned out to be a hoax.

Anonymous said...

Looks like there are a few ND follower loons trolling you on this thread.

Sex is a need just like any other not life dependent but long terms essential need, like feeling wanted, socialisation in NT`s, and meaning. Absence of these things over time have a long term negative effect on health, stress levels and life expectancy. Unfortunately because its sex it comes with its fair share of hypocracy and BS.

Although that's not an excuse for criminal behaviour in some men.

There`s more than just celibacy that makes an Incel anyway.

Looks like she`s just virtue signalling to her feminist friends, "men clear the area please behind the blast zone please!"