Gay, lesbian, and gender nonconforming individuals with autism

Mark A. Stokes*, Laura Pecora, Jeroen Dewinter, Kirstin Greaves-lord, Anna I. R. Van Der Miesen, Merrilyn Hooley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


Historically, it has been assumed that autistic individuals were asexual or maladaptive in their sexual behavior. No distinction in this was made by gender. It is now clear that autistic men and autistic women express a desire for a level of sexuality similar to non-autistic individuals; have satisfying experiences like non-autistic individuals; and have some specific difficulties including communication with others, and for autistic women increased victimization. Compared to the general population sexual desire is similar for autistic men, but lower for autistic women, whereas, rates of sexual encounters and relationships are similar for autistic women, while lower for autistic men. Gender and sexual orientation are more diverse among autistic individuals, which intersect with autism to increase mental health risks. Forensically, victimization is higher among both male and female autistic individuals, but there is little evidence that autistic men are more likely to have sexually offended than others in the general population. Finally, there are some well-developed programs to support autistic individuals to explore, develop, and understand their own sexuality; however, much remains to be understood, particularly in the influence of older age, elder-status, and ID upon sexuality in either gender.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorder
Subtitle of host publicationAssessment, diagnosis, and treatment
EditorsJohnny L. Matson, Peter Sturmey
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-88538-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameHandbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder
ISSN (Print)2192-922X
ISSN (Electronic)2192-9238


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