ORIGINAL PAPER

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 260-269

First online:

Sexual Behavior in High-Functioning Male Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Hans HellemansAffiliated withUniversity Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Antwerp, ZNA Middelheim, University of Antwerp Email author 
  • , Kathy ColsonAffiliated withCW Laken
  • , Christine VerbraekenAffiliated withCLB Lier
  • , Robert VermeirenAffiliated withVU Medical Center
  • , Dirk DeboutteAffiliated withUniversity Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Antwerp, ZNA Middelheim, University of Antwerp

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Abstract

Group home caregivers of 24 institutionalized, male, high-functioning adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, were interviewed with the Interview Sexuality Autism. Most subjects were reported to express sexual interest and to display some kind of sexual behavior. Knowledge of socio-sexual skills existed, but practical use was moderate. Masturbation was common. Many subjects were seeking physical contact with others. Half of the sample had experienced a relationship, while three were reported to have had sexual intercourse. The number of bisexual orientations appeared high. Ritual-sexual use of objects and sensory fascinations with a sexual connotation were sometimes present. A paraphilia was present in two subjects. About one third of the group needed intervention regarding sexual development or behavior.

Keywords

Autism Sexuality Sexual behavior Sexual problems Paraphilia