None of the Above: Sexuality, Gender, and a Thing Called Autism

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‘None of the Above’: Sexuality, Gender, and a Thing Called Autism


Sexuality and disability, and especially conditions conceptualised as developmental and intellectual disabilities, have long made for uneasy bedfellows in both the popular and scientific imagination. Here I aim to further an understanding of the interaction of autism with sexual orientation, distancing the discussion of the intersection of these entities from the dominant discourse of pathology and fear that so often pervades this area of research. The subject is approached more specifically as it pertains to autism and ‘unconventional’ expressions of sexuality and gender. As well as reviewing existing literature in the domain an online discussion forum of autistic people with the title ‘Autism and Sexuality: Are They Related?’ has been mined to explore how sexuality is discussed by autistic people. Existing research identifies an extremely high proportion of autistic individuas whose sexual and gender identities and behaviour appear to defy conventional norms. Forum posts confirm this and provide nuance into autistic experiences of sexuality and gender, and insight into challenges that confront research in this area. The forum also offers an intriguing glimpse into how certain forms of research, far from widening knowledge in this area, may actually contribute to perpetuating existing beliefs, prejudices, and perhaps arbitrary dichotomies that autistic experiences of sexuality may be uniquely placed to call into question.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventPostgraduate Medical Humanities Conference 2017 - Exeter University, Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


ConferencePostgraduate Medical Humanities Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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