Sexuality is an aspect of life that people experience, enjoy and grow to cherish through love and intimacy. Unfortunately, this only applies to most people. Several disabilities, disorders and diseases impede one's sexual desires, behaviors, and relationships. Autism is a brain disorder that typically affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment (Neuwirth, 1997). Consequently, it affects their sexuality in several ways. Although sexual behavior is a common occurrence among people with autism, it is expressed in an inappropriate way, problems tend to occur and they are unable or have difficulty establishing sexual relationships. The disability affects social aspects, which in turn hurt one's ability to behave in an orderly sexual manner. As more research is done, it is clear that sexual behavior is practiced by autistic people.
Studies have shown that sexual behavior is extremely common among autistic people. One study has shown that whether one masturbates or not is quite similar to the norm. By the end of adolescence, 65% of autistic residents masturbate. Within the normal population, 49% masturbate during teenage years and 84% during adulthood (Van Bourgondien, Reicble, and Palmer, 1997). Being inside the range relative to the norm, it is easily seen that autistic people have sexual desires. The fact that group home staff members intervene due to inappropriate masturbation and that some give up because they fail to learn how to perform the action must be taken into consideration with the minor difference in percentages from the study. Moreover, 43% of autistic residents show definite forms of sexual behavior towards others. Including the indefinite signs such as kissing, holding hands, and hugging, 71% demonstrate this sort of behavior (Haracopos and Pederson, 1992). These studies all agree to facilitate that sexual behavior is common among autistic people; however, the problems begin with inappropriate expression of sexuality.