Autism and sexual desire

I wondered wether there’s something in being on the autism spectrum and having reduced sexual desire-not come across anything in my reading yet so wondered what people’s experiences are? Oh and asking as a woman too. Thanks

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  • There is conflicting research in this area. Some studies suggest autistic men are more likely to experience enhanced sexual desire compared to neurotypical men (using frequency of masterbation as a proxy for libido) and that for women sexual desire is about the same as neurotypicals but less often translates into a desire for sex. 10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.4/dschoettle Other studies suggest autistic people have on average less sexual desire but are more likely to experience the extremes of high or low sexual desire than neurotypicals. 10.1371/journal.pone.0087961

    One study in particular suggests autistic men experience above neurotypical sexual desire and autistic women experience below neurotypical sexual desire 10.1007/s10803-019-04204-9 (behind a pay wall) However this study also reports that 44% of the autistic women in the study self identified as lesbian (much higher than the 1st study and higher than their neurotypical control). The mean age of participants was in the early 20s and recruitment was by internet adverts and ‘word of mouth.’ In short I’m not convinced their sample was representative.

    More generally I’m really wary of past attempts to characterise autistic people as asexual. It’s been used to infantilise autistic people before. It also creates problems for autistic people who are highly sexual. People may erroneously assert ‘well you’re too sexual to be autistic.’ Or say ’you can’t be autistic people you have a girlfriend / boyfriend or because you go around having casual sex.’ etc. Autistic people are hugely diverse and the one thing I think I can assert is we often tend to gravitate to extremes. So I find the 2nd studies finding that autistic people are more likely to be much more or much less interested in sex to be the one that rings truest to me and my personal experience.

  • I used to edit a magazine for alternative lifestyles - the thing I noticed with high-functioning auties and aspies is 'there are no limits'.    If you can think of it, and it's fun, and everyone enjoys the experience, then why not?    Lots of 'exploring the limits of sensation' stuff.

  • I've met people at both ends of the spectrum (no pun intended). Some autistic people who say 'ew bodily fluids creep me out so the idea of sex is imposable for me' through to girls who'd say things like 'yes I've slept with 5 men at the same time? So what? I had fun, everyone involved was ok with it. Will probably do it again next week.' The irony is with the former people find perfectly acceptable but with the latter they start talking about whether people need protecting from themselves. It's that sort of patronising attitude I find distasteful.

  • I think the Victorians really screwed up a lot of the social things and sex was the biggest one - the prudish, repressed and inhibited attitudes still hang around today - even though we've been through the 'swinging 60s'.

  • That was because Peep Shows and Decadence were rife in that era.

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