Sexuality and Gender Issues in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Laura A Pecora, Merrilyn Hooley, Laurie Sperry, Gary B Mesibov, Mark A Stokes
Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2021, 44 (1): 111-124
This article reviews relevant literature on sexuality in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Findings reveal a growing awareness of desire for sexual and intimate relationships in individuals with ASD. However, core impairments of ASD lead to difficulties establishing requisite knowledge and skills necessary to attain a healthy sexuality and facilitate relationships. Consequently, individuals with ASD present with increased risk of engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviors and sexual victimization than their typically developing peers. The literature asserts the need to implement effective sexual education programs to assist in development of healthy sexual identity and relationships that meet each individual's needs.

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