Friday, August 25, 2017

Are Autistics More Often Bisexual?

I've cited this study several times in saying that autistics (at least AFAB autistics) are more likely to be asexual, but today, I'm focusing on another finding of theirs. In addition to finding that 17% of their sample was asexual, they also found 13.2% were bisexual.

So, is this borne out by other studies? Are autistics more likely to be bisexual?

This study compared autistic people of both AGABs with matched NTs, and found that autistic and NT AMAB participants didn't differ in sexual orientation, but AFAB autistics were significantly more likely than AFAB NTs to experience attraction to women. In fact, 64% of AFAB autistics were attracted to women, with all but one of them identifying as bisexual. (Note also that 33% of AFAB autistics in this sample had a gender identity other than female.)

This study looked at institutionalized AMAB autistic participants. Their methods are questionable, depending far too much on caregiver report and including what sounds like very subjective 'impressions' caregivers had of their charges' sexuality, but they did find that 13% of the sample were thought to be bisexual. Also, 25% were considered 'unclear', probably including a mix of asexual participants, those whose caregivers just didn't have any real information, and those who hadn't gotten enough sex ed to really consider whether/who they were attracted to. If that group is excluded, bisexual participants jump to 17%. (They also found two possible hetero-pedophiles and several who may have had fetishes.)

This study, which focused on romantic relationships in autistic adults (both sexes), found that 10% were bisexual, 7% homosexual and 14% couldn't label their orientation with the options given. (I'm guessing probably most were ace-spectrum, but some may have been multi-spec.) This was described as significantly higher than population norms.

This study screened binary trans individuals for autistic traits, finding elevation in autistic traits among both trans men and trans women. In addition, non-straight trans people (who they transphobically describe as 'non-homosexual') were more likely to be autistic than straight trans people.

This study assessed relationship functioning in a community sample of autistic people, and reported that 42% of their sample identified as sexual minorities, with 15% gay/lesbian, 9% bisexual, 12% unlabeled and 5% unsure.

This qualitative study of relationships in autistics of all genders found that in their sample, 25% identified as asexual, 17% as bisexual and 12.5% as gay or lesbian. They also commented on how many individuals identified with multiple labels, with the asexual and bisexual groups overlapping. Only 37.5% identified solely as heterosexual.

Overall, it seems that autistic people, especially AFAB autistic people, are significantly less likely to be straight. But, despite desexualizing stereotypes, bisexuality and possibly homosexuality are elevated too, not just asexuality.

There are a lot of possible implications for this. But one that immediately springs to mind is this: it's especially important for autistic kids to have LGBA-inclusive sex education, even more so than for NT kids. And yet, my impression is that sex ed for disabled kids, when it's offered at all, tends to be more conservative.

It's also important to remember that sexual identities shaped by autism are just as valid as sexual identities held by neurotypical people.

1 Comments:

Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

With the Marriage Equality plebiscite in Australia, a lot of people are getting an education they might not otherwise have had before.

There are high-level interventions in response to distress. The helplines are buzzing.

I wonder how many will be accessible to autistics - or if someone has started a text line or two?

"There are a lot of possible implications for this. But one that immediately springs to mind is this: it's especially important for autistic kids to have LGBA-inclusive sex education, even more so than for NT kids. And yet, my impression is that sex ed for disabled kids, when it's offered at all, tends to be more conservative."

And I suspected/knew that I was not on 0 on the Kinsey scale either. Probably for the last 15 years now and 11 since I've been free to explore everything but the heteronormative narratives.

[0 = exclusively heterosexual 6 = exclusively homosexual so that anything from 1-5 could be considered bisexuality].

Hite Report is also a good one to read.

Conservative as in civil/legal or conservative as in more religious?

10:22 PM  

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