Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 365–382 | Cite as

Sexual Satisfaction of High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • E. Sandra Byers
  • Shana Nichols
Original Paper


This study examined the validity of the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction (IEMSS) as a framework for understanding the sexual satisfaction of 205 adults (77 men and 128 women) with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HF-ASD) who were in a romantic relationship of at least 3 months duration. Participants completed an online survey that included a background questionnaire, the IEMSS Questionnaire, and a measure of autism symptoms. The results provide support for the validity of the IEMSS in that all the IEMSS components (relationship satisfaction, balance of sexual rewards and costs, balance of relative sexual rewards and costs, equality of rewards, equality of costs) were significantly associated with sexual satisfaction. Relationship satisfaction and the balance of rewards and costs added over and above the other components. The model was not moderated by gender, relationship duration or extent of autism symptoms. However, participants with more autism symptoms related to social functioning reported lower sexual satisfaction as well as lower scores on all of the IEMSS components. There were few gender differences. These results are discussed in terms of the impact of HF-ASD on adults’ experiences of their sexual satisfaction with their partner.


Sexual satisfaction Autism spectrum disorder Sexuality Asperger syndrome Canada United States 



The authors would like to thank Susan Voyer and Georgianna Reilly for their help with the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.ASPIRE Center for Learning and DevelopmentMelvilleUSA

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