Autistic people tend to get different feelings (Hyper and Hypo) in relation to sex because of their different sensory experiences. This makes it very important for young autistic people to be provided with the right information and education regarding sex.
At the Autism Voice autism and sex education workshop held on Thursday 12th March, Autism and Sexuality specialist Dr Susy Ridout talked about the importance of sex education, understanding puberty and body changes, emotions and hormones and how these could impact the sexual lives of autistic people, feelings and sensory experiences and relationships.
The goal of this workshop was to provide a frank and open discussion around autism and sex education for young autistic people transiting from childhood to adulthood. The workshop also aimed to help young autistic people grow up into responsible adults and develop the skills, knowledge, and thought needed to make healthy choices about sex and relationship.
Dr Ridout emphasized on the need for safe sex and to be mindful of the consent age of 16. The discussion also covered the need for the adult population to protect young people and vulnerable family members, discuss safe sex, consent, appropriate and inappropriate relationships without being judgemental.
The importance of sex education for young people with autism is to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy sexual relationship, help prevent teen pregnancies, discuss sexual violence and harassments and supporting young people with their choices.
Attendees feedbacks were positive with some mentioning the need for a specialist mental health support for young autistic people (especially girls) who are sexually abused.
Autism Voice is committed to this and will refer to the appropriate service any service user who reported being sexually abused. The organisation will also support the service user throughout the process.