Aspergers Teens and Sexuality

"I need help in teaching my daughter appropriate sexual behavior. She will be 16 in June, has Asperger’s, and acts out sexually. She feels this is what she is 'supposed' to do when she likes a boy, and I just can’t get her to feel moral values."

A 16-year-old girl with Asperger’s will have a fully developed female body, but it is unlikely that she will have a full understanding of adolescent sexuality. Depending on her exposure to popular media, she may have formulated an impression of sexuality from the licentious “celebrities” that have become well-known for their use of drugs and alcohol and their fickle, promiscuous sexual behavior. Your daughter could very well believe that behaviors such as candid flirtation, physical sexual cues, sexual language, and sexual activity are what she, as you say, is supposed to do when she likes a boy. The media sends this message loud and clear!

Your daughter needs the advice of a professional counselor now as she is exhibiting behavior that could lead to very severe consequences. In addition to the negative effects of the media, teenagers with Asperger’s do not acquire “street smarts” when it comes to dating or sex. As a result, they are na├»ve and misinformed about sex.

Your daughter is an adolescent, and she wants to develop an identity separate from yours. One aspect of this development is challenging your thoughts and beliefs. When this happens, many parents feel that they have to be friends with their teenagers in order to keep calm in the home. In doing so, they abdicate their parental responsibility, and children suffer in the process. Your daughter still needs to have clearly defined rules while she is living in your home. You know the possible negative consequences of overtly sexual behavior, she does not. Impose specific rules with her. Considering the situation, she shouldn’t be alone with boys or go on dates without an adult who accompanies and supervises.

She may not understand why you are imposing rules. So you need to stress that they are for her benefit, now and in the future, and explain why in very specific terms (e.g., to protect her from sexual diseases, HIV/AIDS, and pregnancy). She needs to understand not just what the consequences of sexual activity are, but what will happen if she gets a venereal disease, HIV/AIDS, or gets pregnant. This will be far more meaningful to her than vague advice about “morality.”

It is imperative that you teach your daughter about sex. She needs specific details about responsible sexual behavior and the consequences of reckless intimacy. Start with basic sex education and move on from there. Freely expressing her sexual feelings because she thinks it is the only way to be accepted and loved must be countered with facts about sexual consequences and information on more appropriate ways to be accepted by boys.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide


•    Anonymous said... the woman throwing the Bible in our face needs to step off of her pedestal. Hypersexuality is a medical condition. My daughter goes to a Catholic school, reads the bible, and goes to church twice a week. Religion has nothing to do w her impulse control issues that cause the hypersexuality!!!!
•    Anonymous said... Have you tried to be very blunt. You do that he will want to and probably will even when you dont want or want to stop.
•    Anonymous said... I have a 16yo Aspie in similar situation. I tell her that boys are scum. They will tell you whatever you want to hear so you'll do whatever they want and when you do they'll tell everyone they know. Probably not the best approach but still. My daughter has trouble with social queues so any slight interest in her makes her feel that you love her... I'm open to any suggestions also
•    Anonymous said... I have a son and we have had many discussions on sex, consequences of sex, being prepared for sex, etc. it is not easy but having many conversations, videos and other material does help. Remember that our aspies learn more by reapeated lessons or behavior.
•    Anonymous said... I have to disagree with your idea here, (though I do agree with being blunt, just not in the same way). That sounds a lot like victim-blaming to me. Having sex with someone once does not give that person the right to their body whenever they please. Explaining it to her that way opens her up to blaming herself were she ever to be raped. She needs to understand that her body is her own, that even if she does consent once-it doesn't make it okay for someone to take as they please. On the contrary, I think you would do her better to explain that everyone feels those urges, and there is a social stigma to not keeping yourself from following them all the time. Explain that everyone has their own responsibility to respect their own body, and to share it only with those that deserve it. Perhaps some stories about what a "deserving" partner would be like, and stories that show what really *is* expected of a girlfriend her age would help. I imagine she's getting her ideas from tv and movies, like most teens, and is getting a very over-romantic idea of what teen relationships are. The difference is her NT counterparts can more easily wade through what is reasonably expectable and what isn't. Good luck
•    Anonymous said... My daughter is 10 and we've dealt w the hypersexuality already...not looking forward to when she's a teen
•    Anonymous said... not trying to make light of the situation ....not at all....my first thought though was we should introduce our kids when my son is a bit older....high functioning....13....and thinks the sex act....his words....is only for procreation and is disgusting....ugh....

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Anonymous said...

Fortunately I was spared this. I read the entire Bible five times before I reached high school. That is what every Aspergian ...indeed every Human being needs to do. I am 51 years old and quite proud to say I am still pure. I didn’t want to have kids and was aware of the fact birth control often fails, and so did what God wants people to do, control themselves. It’s not like its hard and anyone who says its hard is fibbing.

Anonymous said...

Sexuality is really important here. As a now 45 year old woman with two boys with profound AS I realize that I am “on the spectrum” too. I look back at my early sexual experiences and all the features are there, tunnel vision, inability to see the context of the behavior, high physical drive, acting up and flirting with any male. Boy I’m glad I got through unscathed. They were heady times in high-risk situations. What I have done with my teens is very up-front risk management: how to explore sex without huge and adverse consequences. My then 16yo girl chose to have a contraceptive implant instead of relying on her non-existent organizational skills. She has a steady boyfriend and we overtly support the use of condoms. We stress fidelity to one partner and loyalty to herself. And nothing bad has happened. Stay strong and be the best parent you can be!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is an area all parents have some trouble with not just when we have aspergers kiddos. It is not always an easy talk to have. It is very important to be very specific about what is appropriate and what is not. You cannot pretend that they are going to avoid the opposite sex forever. When things come up in the media or conversations come up about what was said at school (without getting excited) discuss calmly what was inappropriate about what was said or done. Give examples such as “when someone says this, the other person thinks that.” Give examples (specific) of appropriate things they can say and can do (and don’t make them sound like a grandma or they won’t use your advice!). Use lots of examples. Be very specific about sex education and what different terms and slang mean. Be sure to include many “scripts” of what they can say and do so they will have that information to rely on before the time comes.

Anonymous said...

My Aspie son recently told me he thinks he is gay or maybe even Bi. Then more recently he came out and told me he wants to wear girl’s clothes. I am a Christian woman and was raised that way. My son Scott seems to have no regard for Christianity because he says “how can I believe in something I can't see”? Scott has not had his father in his life for years, and his father prefers to stay out. His father has never accepted Scott for his Aspergers and that he is different. Scott also has no physical life friends …mostly online friends. So I guess his father being absent part of the cause of the S.S.A. I am so frustrated because I don't know how to help my son. He is defiant, rebellious, and disrespectful. He also has a brother who is High Functioning Autistic, and Scott has very little tolerance for some of Jeremiah's behavior. I am not convinced that Scott even understands what being Gay is? I recently found Scott a Mentor and hoping and praying it will help Scott grow up and learn how to be a man. Is there anything else I can do to help my son in the meantime? Should I be cutting off communication with his Gay friends and Boyfriend [keep in mind these are online relationships.] or should I let it go and let him explore and figure it out himself? I don't think he understands what he has admitted to?

TheJmanRocks said...

Unfortunately the bible or morals don't prevent the need to be accepted. Many times Aspie's have spent a great deal of their childhood looking for the "right" thing to do to be accepted. Sexual activity requires little conversation and is fairly easy to do. For a young girl , where social interactions are a huge part of life & girls are horribly critical, this activity brings a great deal of relief. Not only do you have companionship for a short time but you have a temporary friend. I am sorry this is the case. It doesn't mean your daughter is immoral. She is just lonely. Don't stop sharing your views. Just know that being critical and rejecting yourself WILL make her lonelier.

Unknown said...

Part of being a good parent to an Aspie or NT child is acceptance. We have to accept our children for who they are. I can not change that my son is a Aspie, I can embrace it and doing that will help him embrace himself. Sexuality is part of who we are, all of us. My son, Aspie or NT, gay or straight will have my love and support. Part of being a parent is teaching our children first and foremost to love themselves. In doing that they will learn how to have safe and loving relationships with others. I would not ever suggest trying to change someone's sexuality just like I would not suggest a parent try to change the fact that they have a child with ASD. If you ignore that you are ignoring who they are, on the inside. Love your children, no matter who they are.

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