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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 9, pp 3638–3655 | Cite as

Sexuality in the Autism Spectrum Study (SASS): Reports from Young Adults and Parents

  • Kathrin HartmannEmail author
  • Maria R. Urbano
  • C. Teal Raffaele
  • Lydia R. Qualls
  • Takeshia V. Williams
  • Clay Warren
  • Nicole L. Kreiser
  • David E. Elkins
  • Stephen I. Deutsch
Original Paper

Abstract

Previous research indicates that although those with ASD desire sexual relationships, they may not effectively engage in romantic and intimate interactions. The purpose of this study was to compare reports from young adults with ASD and parents from the same families on the young adult’s sexual behavior, experiences, knowledge, and communication. 100 young adults (18–30 years) and parents completed an online survey. Results indicated that young adults reported more typical privacy and sexual behaviors, and higher sexual victimization than their parents reported on their behalf. Our findings indicated that individuals with ASD desire and pursue sexual relationships typical of most people and suggest the need for sex education and communication about topics generally covered for neurotypically developing young adults.

Keywords

Sexuality Young adults Parents Family Autism spectrum disorder 

Notes

Author Contributions

All listed authors were involved in the creation and revisions to this original manuscript and approved its final revision for submission.

Funding

No funding was granted for this research study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the appropriate institutional review board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathrin Hartmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria R. Urbano
    • 1
  • C. Teal Raffaele
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lydia R. Qualls
    • 3
  • Takeshia V. Williams
    • 4
  • Clay Warren
    • 5
  • Nicole L. Kreiser
    • 1
  • David E. Elkins
    • 1
  • Stephen I. Deutsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Catholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical PsychologyNorfolkUSA
  4. 4.Children’s Hospital of the King’s DaughtersNorfolkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Organizational Sciences and CommunicationGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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