Sexuality in the Autism Spectrum Study (SASS): Reports from Young Adults and Parents

J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Sep;49(9):3638-3655. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04077-y.


Previous research indicates that although those with ASD desire sexual relationships, they may not effectively engage in romantic and intimate interactions. The purpose of this study was to compare reports from young adults with ASD and parents from the same families on the young adult's sexual behavior, experiences, knowledge, and communication. 100 young adults (18-30 years) and parents completed an online survey. Results indicated that young adults reported more typical privacy and sexual behaviors, and higher sexual victimization than their parents reported on their behalf. Our findings indicated that individuals with ASD desire and pursue sexual relationships typical of most people and suggest the need for sex education and communication about topics generally covered for neurotypically developing young adults.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Family; Parents; Sexuality; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult