Teenagers with Asperger’s syndrome often are eager to understand and experience the social and relationship world of their peers, including romantic relationships and sexual experiences, but there can be problems regarding the source of information on relationships and sexuality.
An adolescent with Asperger’s syndrome usually has few, if any, friends with whom he or she can discuss and be informed about relationship topics such as romantic or sexual feelings and the codes of sexual behaviour.
One of the diagnostic characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome is the development of a special interest that is unusual in terms of its focus or intensity.
In adolescence and early adult years, the focus can be a person, which could be interpreted as a typical teenage “crush,” but the intensity and some of the associated behaviours could lead to accusations of stalking or harassment.
The charges tend to be for sexually inappropriate behaviour rather than sexually abusive or sexually violent behaviour.
Adolescent women with Asperger’s syndrome may use television programs and films as source material to learn about relationships, and fail to recognize that the actions and themes are not an accurate portrayal of how to achieve and maintain a relationship in real life.
He or she can be bewildered as to why other people appear to be “obsessed” with expressing love for each other.
We know that young adults with Asperger’s syndrome have significant difficulty developing peer relationships and are developmentally delayed in knowing what someone may be thinking or feeling.To achieve a successful relationship, a person also needs to understand and respect him- or herself.Adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome also are gullible and vulnerable to being given misinformation on relationships by fellow teenagers.People with Asperger’s syndrome can have difficulties at each stage on the continuum.
To progress along the relationship continuum from a friend to a boyfriend or girlfriend, an adolescent or a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome needs to understand the art of flirting and romance in order to accurately read the signals of mutual attraction and understand the dating game.While a young adult with classic autism may appear content with a solitary “monastic” lifestyle, this is often not the case with young adults who have Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism.