Why Are So Many Kinky, Queer, or Poly Folks Neurodivergent?

A sex coach’s thoughts on correlations.

Shannon Burton, SXI (they/she)


Photo by David Cassolato

A while back, a friend of mine hosted a brunch to introduce all her kinky comrades to one another.

I happily attended, of course. Kinky people are fun!

Within an hour, however, we were bonding over something else we had in common: neurodivergence.

Neurodivergent: a non-medical umbrella term that describes people with variation in their mental functions, which can include conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and giftedness

Since that brunch, I’ve been thinking about the prevalence of neurodiversity in kink. Many people I interact with at kink events and parties comfortably acknowledge and discuss their neurodivergence with others.

This isn’t just true for kink spaces, though. I’ve also listened in on conversations about autism and polyamory, and come across labels like neuroqueer and trans-autistic.

As a kinky, polyamorous, queer, nonbinary, and possibly autistic person diagnosed with ADHD, I couldn’t help but wonder…was there something going on here? Is there really a correlation between neurodivergence and these identities?

As usual, I turned to Google for answers. I was looking for research on neurodivergence, sexuality, and gender…and somehow ended up researching the Industrial Age.

Settle in, friends: this one’s a long, winding journey.

Obligatory Neurodivergent Disclaimer

Photo by SHVETS production



Shannon Burton, SXI (they/she)

Sex & Orgasm Coach helping women+ have blissful sex and effortless orgasms. | Visit sexcoachshannon.com for free resources. | 🌈Queer, Kink, & Poly Affirming