Brief Report: Sexual Attraction and Relationships in Adolescents with Autism

Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3092-6

Cite this article as:
May, T., Pang, K.C. & Williams, K. J Autism Dev Disord (2017). doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3092-6


Past research suggests more variation in sexual attraction in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) using clinical samples. This study utilised a population representative group of 14/15 year olds from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Ninety-four adolescents (73 males, 21 females) with ASD and 3454 (1685 males, 1675 females) without self-reported on sexual attraction and past sexual relationships. Females with ASD reported lower rates of heterosexual preference (adjusted odds ratio: 0.14, p < .001), higher rates of bisexuality (adjusted odds ratio: 6.05, p < .001) and uncertainty in attraction (adjusted odds ratio: 10.44, p < .001) compared with non-ASD females. ASD males reported fewer prior boyfriends/girlfriends. Findings confirm female adolescents with ASD have differences in sexual attraction compared with non-ASD females.


Autism Adolescent health Sexuality Sexual attraction 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara May
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ken C. Pang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Katrina Williams
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Murdoch Childrens Research InstituteParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical ResearchParkvilleAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Adolescent MedicineRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  6. 6.Developmental Medicine Royal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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