Autism and sexuality

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I am looking for research about autism and sexuality. 

Can any of you refer me to results / research articles or ongoing research on this topic?

Edited on February 23, 2017 - 9:07am

July 27, 2015 - 10:35am

Hi Sirdorf

The NAS has a large reference library with over 30,000 published research papers, articles and books. The library catalogue is called Autism Data and every entry has an abstract and keywords to help with searching. There is material on autism and sexuality in the catalogue.

You can access Autism Data here

I hope this is helpful.


August 28, 2015 - 8:19pm

Hi Sirdorf, my thesis is on the area of young women on the spectrum and romantic relationships.  Sarah Hendrickx and Maxine Aston have both published books on this topic. 

These references might be useful for more academic texts:

Research proposal references:


Attwood, T. (2007). The complete guide to Asperger’s syndrome. Philidelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.



Byers, E.S. & Nichols, S. (2014).  Sexual satisfaction of high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder.  Sexuality and Disability.  32 (3), 365-382.


Byers, E.S., Nichols, S., Voyer, S.D. & Reilly, G. (2012).  Sexual well-being of a community sample of high-funtioning adults on the autism spectrum who have been in a romantic relationship.  Autism, 17(4), 418-433.



Chan, J. & John, R.M. (2012).  Sexuality and sexual health in children and adolescents with autism.  The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 8(4), 306-315.


Cridland, E.K., Jones, S.C., Caputi, P. and Magee, C.A. (2014).  Being a girl in a boy’s world: investigating the experiences of girls with autism spectrum disorders during adolescence.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 1261-1274.


Fombonne, E. (2005), The Changing Epidemiology of Autism. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 18: 281–294. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3148.2005.00266.x


Gilmour, Laura, Schalomon, P. Melike, & Smith, Veronica. (2012). Sexuality in a Community Based Sample of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, (1), 313-318.


Gould, J. (2014). The diagnosis of women and girls on the autism spectrum.  Presentation at the Autism In Pink Conference, Lisbon, May 2014.  Retrieved December 1, 2014 from


Grandin, T. (Ed) (2012).  Different, not less. USA: Future Horizons.


Hurley, E. (Ed) (2014). Ultraviolet voices: Stories of women on the autism spectrum. Birmingham: Autism West Midlands.


Jobe, L.E., Williams White, S. (2007). Loneliness, social relationships, and a broader autism phenotype in college students.  Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 1479-1489.


Konstantareas, M., & Lunsky, Y. (1997). Sociosexual knowledge, experience, attitudes, and interests of individuals with autistic disorder and developmental delay. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27(4), 397-413.


Lamport, D. & Turner, L.A. (2014).  Romantic attachment, empathy, and the broader autism phenotype among college students.  The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 175(3), 203-213.


Lau, W. & Peterson, C.C. (2011). Adults and children with Asperger syndrome: Exploring adult attachment style, marital satisfaction and satisfaction with parenthood. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 392-399.


Lawson, W. (2004).  Sex, Sexuality and the Autism Spectrum.  London: Jessica Kingsley.



Marriage, S., Wolverton, A., & Marriage, K. (2009). Autism Spectrum Disorder Grown Up: A Chart Review of Adult Functioning. Journal Of The Canadian Academy Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(4), 322-328.


Mehzabin, P, & Stokes, M.A. (2011). Self-assessed sexuality in young adults with High-Functioning Autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 614-621.


Mertens, D. (2010). Research and evaluation in education and psychology : Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (3rd ed.). London: SAGE.



NAS (2014). What is autism? Retrieved December 6, 2014, from



Nichols, S. & Blakeley-Smith, A. (2010). ‘I’m not sure we’re ready for this’: Working with families towards facilitating healthy sexuality for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Social Work in Mental Health, 8, 72-91.


Pollmann, Monique M. H., Finkenauer, Catrin, & Begeer, Sander. (2010). Mediators of the Link between Autistic Traits and Relationship Satisfaction in a Non-Clinical Sample. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (4), 470-478.


Smith, J.A., Jarman, M., & Osborn, M. (1999). Doing interpretative phenomenological analysis.  In M. Murray & K. Chamberlain (Eds.), Qualitative health psychology: Theories and methods (pp.219-240).  London: SAGE Publications.


Stiles, W. (1999). Evaluating qualitative research.  Evidence Based Mental Health, 2, 99-101.


Stokes, Mark, Newton, Naomi, & Kaur, Archana. (2007). Stalking, and Social and Romantic Functioning among Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 1969-1986.


The Autism Act (2009). Retrieved December 1, 2014, from


The Children and Families Act (2014).  Retrieved December 1, 2014, from


The SEND code of practice (2014). Retrieved December 1, 2014, from


Willig, C. (2008).  Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology.  New York:  Open University Press.


Wolcott, H. (1990).  On seeking and rejecting validity in qualitative research.  In E. Eisner & A. Peshkin (Eds.), Qualitative inquiry in education: The continuing debate (pp.121-152).  New York: Teachers College Press.

April 21, 2016 - 12:22pm

Hi Shona, I never thanked you for the many very useful references - thank you very much!

And what an interesting subject for your thesis!


August 30, 2016 - 8:10am


Almas, E & Jensen, S,B. (1983). 6 aspects of Sexuality. Nordisk Sexologi, 1, 104-107 (in Danish)

Adams, W .V. & Sheslow, D.V. (1983) A developmental perspective of adolescence, In Schopler & Mesibov, G.B. (eds). Autism in Adolescents and Adults. Plenum Press, N.Y. and London.

American Psychiatric Association, (1986) DSm III-R in Development. Washington D.C. 1986

Brown, J.L. (1969). Adolescent development of children with Infantile Psychosis. Seminars in Psychiatry, vol 1, No 1, Feb, 1969

Buttenschøn, J. (1987). Sexual problems among the mentally retarded. In P. Hertoft (ed.) Clinical Sexology. Munksgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark (in Danish)

Buttenschøn, J. (1987) Sexuality of the mentally retarded. In Sexuality and Health. Nr. 2 (In Danish).

Craft, A. & Craft, M. (1978). Sex education for people with Autism. Structuring information and opportunities. In Cohen and Nonellean (eds.) Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Mental Disorders. Wile, N.Y.

De Myer, M.K. (1979). Parents & Children in Autism. John Wile & Sons, London

Dewey, M.A. & Everard, M.P. (1974). The near-normal autistic adolescent. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol 4, No. 4.

Ford, A. (1987). Sex education for people with Autism. Structuring information and opportunities. In Cohen and Donellan (eds.). In Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Mental Disorders. Wile, N.Y.

Gillberg, C. & Schaumann, H. (1981). Infantile Autism and puberty. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Vol. 2, No. 4. pp 365-371.

Gillberg, C. (1983). Adolescence in Autism. Awakening of sexual awareness. Paper presented at the 1983 Europe Autism Conference.

Gillberg, C. (1984). Autistic children growing up: Problems during puberty and adolescence. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurosis 26, 122-129.

Haracopos, D. & Kelstrup, A. (1975). Psychotic behaviour: An analysis of psychotic behaviour of children under the institutions for the mentally retarded. S.A. Materialer, Copenhagen, Denmark (In Danish).

Haracopos, D. (1988). Sexuality among autistic youngsters. Specialpædagogik, Nr. 2, Year 8. (In Danish).

Haracopos, D. (1988). What about me: About autistic children and youngsters. Andonia Publishing Co. Denmark (In Danish)

Harcopos, D. & Pedersen, L. (1990). Sexuality among autistic people. Sikon, Copenhagen (In Danish)

Haracopos, D. & Pedersen L, (1992). Diagnostic observation scheme for autistic youngsters and adults. Not in print (in Danish)

Haracopos, D. & Pedersen L. (1992). Questionnaire of sexual behaviour among autistic people. Not in print yet (in Danish)

Hertoft, P. (1987). Clinical Sexology. Munksgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark (In Danish).

Johansen, B. (1988). The hidden desire. Ekstrabladets Forlag, Copenhagen, Denmark (in Danish).

Kanner, L. Rodriguez, A. & Ashenden, B. (1972). How far can autistic children go in matters of social adaptation? Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp 9-33.

Kreiner, S. (1987). Analysis of Multidimensional contingency. Tables by Exact Conditional Tests. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics. 14, 97-112.

Langfeldt, T. (1986). Childrens’ sexuality. Mallings. Denmark (in Danish)

Lier, L. Isager, T., Jørgensen O.S. & Larsen, F.W. (1988). Child Psychiatry. Han Reitzels Publishing Co. Copenhagen, Denmark (In Danish)

Masters, W.H. & Johnson, V.E. & Kolodny, R.C. (1988). Sexuality, Gyldendal, Denmark.

Melone, M.B. & Lettich, A.L. (1983). Sex education at Benhaven. In Schopler, E. & Mesibov G.B. (eds). Autism in Adolescence and Adults. Plenum Press N.Y.

Mitchell, J. & Popkin, M. (1983). The pathophysiology of sexual dysfunction associated with antipsychotic drug therapy in males: A review. Archives of Sexual Behaviour. Vol. 12, No. 2. pp 173-183.

Mulhern, T.J. (1975). Survey of reported sexual behaviour and policies characterising residential facilities for retarded citizens. American Journal of Mental Deficiency. Vol. 19. No. 6. pp 670-673.

Ousley, Y.O. & Mesibov, G.B. (1991). Sexual attitudes and knowledge of high-functioning adolescents and adults with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Vol 212, Nr. 4, 8.

Pedersen, L. & Haracopos, D. (1988). Alternative treatment for 10 autistic youngsters af NyAllerødgard/ Allerød, Denmark (in Danish)

Rutter, M. (1970). Autistic children: Infancy to adulthood. Seminars in Psychiatry. 2, pp 435-450.

Schopler, E. & Mesibov, G.B. (eds.). (1986). Autism in Adolescents and Adults. Plenum Press N.Y. & London

Schopler, E. & Mesibov, G.B. (eds.). (1986). Social Behaviour in Autism. Plenum Press N.Y. & London

Social Ministry (1989). Guidance on Sexuality – regardless of the handicap Sikon, Copenhagen, Denmark (in Danish).