If you have a kid with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) talking to them about sex can seem like a daunting task, I’m sure. You already have so many worries on your plate I am sure that adding in sex ed can feel overwhelming. And just to be clear, I’m not an expert on
ASD, but I am one on SEX and think every child deserves a great sex education. Please be sure to leave any sex-talking wins and ideas you have for other parents of ASD kids in the
As with most children who are not typically developing in someway, your kiddo is more vulnerable to being taken advantage of sexually. This makes it doubly important you have conversations with your child that are direct, regular and chock-full of information.
Here are a few tips:
1) Use a straightforward and factual tone, but remember to be light hearted about your conversations as well.
2) Use my sex talks formula with wild abandon. It’s clear and simple, so it’ll be helpful for your child. The formula is this: FACTS + VALUES. Explain what something is and what your value is about it. You can also think about this as FACTS + (WHY) + VALUES.
For example: FACT: A condom is something a man puts on his penis before he has sex to capture the semen and sperm. It stops the woman from becoming pregnant and prevents passing germs. VALUE: The rule is (or I believe) when you have sex with someone the man always uses a condom so you can have safer sex.
3) Have frequent conversations about bodies and boundaries and be specific about what kind of touching is okay and when and by whom. For example, “It’s okay to touch your own penis in private when you are alone. It’s not okay to touch your penis in public because people don’t like it. It’s not okay for anyone else to touch your penis unless you are at the doctor.”
4) Use the real words (penis, testicles, vulva, vagina, breasts) and skip the euphemisms (making love vs. sexual intercourse) until they have a good understanding of what goes where, how things work, etc.
5) Do not fall for the idea that your child is either over-sexual or under-sexual. This means either the person is over-sexual, they are crazed and obsessive about it; or not sexual at all and have no desire for or interest in sex. Just like every other person on the planet, your kid is probably somewhere in the middle.
6) If you thought puberty was strange and romance confusing when you were growing up, your ASD child may be finding it even more so. Make sure they have good, fact-based books to help them navigate this important part of life. Check out these resources for autistic kids.
Here is a great website for you: Autism Sex Education
Again, I’m not an expert on ASD, so if you have any other ideas for parents when it comes to these important conversations, feel free to leave them in the comments section.
For more ideas for talking to kids about sex in general, visit my website – BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com