Autistic Spectrum Disorder And Teen Sexual Problems

The adolescent years are difficult for most teens and is further complicated with the sexualization of our culture and the abundance of pornography.  Those struggling with autistic spectrum disorder including Asperger’s Syndrome can have particular difficulty navigating sexuality issues.   These issues can range from addition to pornography, to chronic violation of others personal boundaries to sexual offending behaviors.  Teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop sexually in the same way as other teenagers do, but often require extra help to build the social skills and maturity that go along with developing sexuality.

Teens with autistic spectrum disorder or Asperger syndrome are interested in sex and sexuality – just like other youth, and can develop romantic relationships too. However in the process of exploring their interest, some autistic teens encounter problems with sexual boundaries, relationship boundaries and occasionally encounter legal problems relating to these struggles.

Sexual and romantic experiences and feelings can create extra challenges for autistic teens. Many teenagers with ASD can find it hard to understand feelings of intimacy, attraction and affection – in themselves and others. Often it is more difficult for them to express their feelings. For autistic teens, these situations can be difficult and can put an autistic teen at greater risk of doing inappropriate, risky or illegal sexual behaviors or getting into unhealthy relationships.

 STAR Guides Wilderness - Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Teen Sexual Problems

Teens with ASD have a strong need for understanding  the concepts of consent and safety in their relationships. Consent refers to the need to be sure that they understand and are OK about any degree of sexual activity and that the other person is OK with it as well.  Safety means that the teen and the other person are protected against being exploited, abused or manipulated and that the experience is respectful and non-violent.  These are issues that teens with ASD don’t naturally conclude or realize, but often require instruction and education.

Parents of autistic teens need to spend time to educate their children about intimate relationships and sexual health.  As a teen goes through puberty, parents will want to talk to them about sexual relationships.  Some may already have a biological understanding of sexual development from lessons at school, but keep in mind there is an ongoing needs to develop a healthy attitude toward intimate relationships.

Teens with ASD can be vulnerable to sexual abuse because sometimes it is difficult to recognize when something’s not right. Autistic teens have a specific need for understanding explicitly the difference between good touch and bad touch.

STAR Guides Wilderness - Sex Education

Lastly, it is important for parents of autistic teens to know that even when problems occur, there is still hope that healthy sexuality can be achieved.  Star Guides Wilderness is able to cater an individualized program to assist teens with autistic spectrum disorder and Asperger Syndrome learn to manage problematic sexual behaviors including pornography addiction, boundary issues and sexual offending behaviors.

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