Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Intimate Relationships and Dating

  • Anthony BurnsEmail author
  • Rachel Loftin
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102141-1


Intimate relationships, including marriage and long-term dating relationships, are close relationships that include physical and/or emotional intimacy. Typically, intimate relationships have a sexual component. There has been limited research on intimate relationships in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it appears that people with ASD may have more difficulty achieving intimate relationships than typically developing people. Certainly, some autistic people marry, but it appears that many people with ASD do not achieve the intimate relationship they desire.

Historical Background

Historically, sexuality was regarded as a taboo topic within the content of developmental disabilities and autism. For years, our knowledge about sexuality and sexual expression in this population was limited by our reliance on caregiver reports describing institutionalized sample populations. By relying on these samples, the field ran the risk of reporting inaccurate rates of sexual behavior,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AARTS Center, Rush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA