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

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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.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the subjects and their parents who gave their consent to this study, and the caregivers who had to stand the time-consuming ISA-interview. We also want to thank Herbert Roeyers (University Ghent) and Peggy Cohen-Kettenis (Free University Amsterdam) for their help in developing the initial concept of this study. Preliminary results of this study were presented as a poster at the 1st International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), San Diego, November 9th and 10th, 2001.

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Correspondence to Hans Hellemans.

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Hellemans, H., Colson, K., Verbraeken, C. et al. Sexual Behavior in High-Functioning Male Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 37, 260–269 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0159-1

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