Navigating the Intersectionality of Autism and Sexuality

Posted On: December 24, 2023

Navigating the Intersectionality of Autism and Sexuality

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. People with autism often experience challenges in navigating social situations, which can make exploring their sexuality and gender identity more difficult. In fact, studies have shown that people with autism tend to identify as LGBTQIA at higher rates than the general population.

According to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 20% of autistic adults identify as LGBTQIA, compared to 4.6% of non-autistic adults. This intersectionality can create unique challenges for individuals with autism who are exploring their sexuality and gender identity.

One reason for this higher rate of LGBTQIA identification among people with autism may be related to differences in social communication and emotional regulation. People with autism may struggle to conform to societal norms around gender and sexuality, leading them to explore identities outside of the traditional binary.

However, navigating this intersectionality can be challenging for individuals with autism. They may struggle with communication and emotional regulation, making it difficult to express their needs and desires in sexual and romantic relationships. Additionally, they may face discrimination and stigma from both the autistic and LGBTQIA communities.

So how can individuals with autism navigate this intersectionality and explore their sexuality in a safe and affirming way? Here are some tips:

  1. Improve Communication Skills: Developing strong communication skills is essential for navigating any relationship, but it’s especially important for individuals with autism who may struggle with social interaction. Consider working with a therapist or sexologist who specializes in working with individuals with disabilities to develop your communication skills.
  2. Build Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions as well as understand the emotions of others. This skill can be particularly helpful for individuals with autism who may struggle with empathy and emotional regulation. Consider working with a therapist or sexologist who specializes in working with individuals with disabilities to develop your emotional intelligence.
  3. Seek Out Resources: There are many resources available for individuals with autism who are exploring their sexuality and gender identity. Consider joining a support group or online community for LGBTQIA individuals with autism. Additionally, there are many books and articles available that can provide valuable information and guidance.

Here are some resources that individuals with autism in Singapore can use to improve their communication and emotional intelligence skills:

  1. Autism Resource Centre (ARC) Singapore: ARC provides a range of services and programs for individuals with autism, including social skills training and communication therapy.
  2. Pathlight School: Pathlight School is a school for students with autism that provides a comprehensive curriculum that includes social skills training and emotional regulation.
  3. Autism Partnership Singapore: Autism Partnership Singapore offers a range of services for individuals with autism, including social skills training and emotional regulation therapy.
  4. The Social Skills Place: The Social Skills Place offers social skills training programs for children and adults with autism, including communication skills and emotional intelligence.
  5. The Art of Autism: The Art of Autism is an online platform that provides resources and information for individuals with autism, including articles on communication and emotional regulation.
  6. Autism Association (Singapore): Autism Association provides a range of services for individuals with autism, including social skills training and communication therapy.
  7. Rainbow Centre Singapore: Rainbow Centre Singapore offers a range of services for individuals with disabilities, including social skills training and emotional regulation therapy.

Remember, it’s important to find the right resources that work for you and your needs. Consider reaching out to these organizations to learn more about their services and how they can support you in improving your communication and emotional intelligence skills. Additionally, individuals with autism who are exploring their sexuality and gender identity may benefit from seeking out a sexologist for private consultation. As a sexologist, I can provide a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their sexual and gender identity, as well as provide guidance on communication skills and emotional intelligence. If you are interested in scheduling a private consultation, please feel free to reach out to me for more information. Remember, you are not alone in navigating this intersectionality, and there are resources available to support you in your journey.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Dr. Martha Tara Lee has been a passionate advocate for positive sexuality since 2007. With a Doctorate in Human Sexuality and a Masters in Counseling, she launched Eros Coaching in 2009 to help individuals and couples lead self-actualised and pleasurable lives. Her expertise includes working with couples who have unconsummated marriage, individuals with sexual inhibitions and discrepancies in sexual desire, men with erection and ejaculation concerns, and members of the LGBTQIA+ and kink communities. Dr. Lee welcomes all sexual orientations and is available for online and face-to-face consultations. Martha speaks English and Mandarin.

She is the only certified sexuality educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in the region (as of 2011) and is also an AASECT certified sexuality educator supervisor (as of 2018). She strives to provide fun, educational, and sex-positive events and is often cited in the media including Huffington PostNewsweek, South China Morning Post, and more. She is the appointed Resident Sexologist for Singapore Cancer Society, Of Noah.sgOfZoey.sg, and Virtus Fertility Centre. She is the host of radio show Eros Evolution for OMTimes Radio. In recognition of her work, she was named one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women under 40’ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between (2013),  Orgasmic Yoga: Masturbation, Meditation and Everything In-Between (2015), From Princess to Queen: Heartbreaks, Heartgasms and Everything In-Between (2017), and {Un}Inhihibited (2019).

You can read the testimonials she’s received over years here. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

         
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