Lurie Center for Autism: Sexuality

Sexuality can be a difficult subject for everyone – including individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Awareness of potential opportunities and challenges related to sexuality and ASD can help prepare families.

Sexuality is a normal, healthy part of life for everyone. Whether one is an adult or teen with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a parent of a child with autism, the issue of sexuality will eventually come up. Many individuals with ASD lack even a basic knowledge of sexuality and many do not know when to ask questions or who to ask. Very few programs exist to teach people with ASD about love, sex and sexuality. Because people with ASD are often unaware of social cues and peer expectations, clear, direct education is often critical. While typically developing individuals learn about sexuality through their natural environment, individuals require direct instruction. The majority of the time it is the parents who take on this challenge.

Below are several resources for frank discussions and clear instruction.

General:

Aspergers Assocation of New England: search “sexuality” for workshops and articles

Autism Society of North Carolina

Peter Gerhardt, Ed. D. Director of Education, Upper School, for the McCarton School
in New York City.   Check out his interview regarding sexuality and autism  

Indiana University: list of books, videos and websites                                                                                                                      

University of Louisville Pediatrics                          

Books:

Jerry Newport’s book:   Autism - Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond. Future Horizons (2002)

Mary Wrobel’s book is an excellent resource:   Taking Care of Myself: A Hygiene, Puberty, Curriculum for Young People with Autism.   Future Horizons  (2003)

Robie Harris' book: It’s Perfectly Normal Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health. Candlewick Press(2009)

Sarah Attwood's book:  Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex, Relationship for People with Aspergers Syndrome

Sexuality and Autism:  book list 

Teresa Connor's book:  Good Touch Bad Touch: Learning About Proper and Improper Touches 

Wendy Lawson’s book: Sex, Sexuality and the Autism Spectrum  Jessica Kingsley Publishing (2005)

Videos:   

Indiana University: list of books, videos and websites

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