First of all, thanks to Lia for this idea.
Although she's billed as "arguably the world's most successful woman with autism", I'm not sure how famous Temple Grandin really is. Have you heard of her? One of her claims to fame-- an invention to make cattle less panicked as they're slaughtered-- kind of freaks me out, to be honest. She wrote a book called Animals in Translation that is fairly well-known. Grandin also seems to have done a good deal of writing and speaking on various autistic issues. Thanks to an intrepid reader of this blog, I found a 2-page essay that Grandin wrote for the book Asperger's and Girls. The introduction to her essay claims that "...Temple's story should caution us all against automatically conforming to society's relationship standards." It's all about how she finds her career to be more fulfilling than romantic relationships. It's so short that I'm tempted to scan the whole thing. But that might not be legal, so I'll quote some portions:
I was asked to explain in this paper why I was never interested in dating. During my teenage years I never became boy crazy. My good friend Carol swooned over the Beatles and howled with delight when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. I thought they were cute, but I did not have the emotional reaction that the other girls had. They were experiencing something I did not experience. (148)
and among other interesting passages:
I have been reasonably happy even though I am totally celibate...My lifestyle is not for everyone with Asperger's. It was easier for me because the brain circuits that made my friend Carol swoon over the Beatles are just not hooked up in me. (150)
It's not clear whether Grandin is actually asexual (ie, "someone who does not experience sexual attraction"), or just finds a lot of things more interesting than sex. After all, there's only so much time in a day. I do think the passages I quoted are fairly apt descriptions of many peoples' asexual experiences. Although it's certainly possible, I'd have a hard time believing that Grandin has never heard the term "asexual". Maybe she just prefers "celibate". But out of all the current potential famous aces, Grandin, from what she's said, sounds the closest to being one of us. It's probably horribly pushy of me, but I do hope she says the word at some point...