Understanding Autism and Sex Is Not Rocket Science

An Interview with Rachel Loftin, PhD

Imagine trying to build a rocket by watching YouTube videos, talking on snapchat, or watching TV.

autism and sex

That would be hard! And can you imagine what that rocket would look like once you were done?

In this episode, I’m speaking with Dr. Rachel Loftin, PhD, who’s an expert in discussing autism and sex.

She joined the Thrive with Aspergers podcast previously to talk about adult autism diagnosis.

In This Episode You’ll Learn

  • Why sex education is important
  • How sex education should be different for autism spectrum
  • Increase in use of pornography to get sex education versus comprehensive course about health human sexuality
  • Accepting media or pornography as reality – that’s now how things work – it’s fantasy content that does not reflect what sex is in reality
  • Making healthy choices
  • Benefits and challenges of autism spectrum and sexuality
  • High stakes, high complexity, high consequence
  • The challenge of having interests that minors may have – as an adult or young adult, be sure to check about the age of the person you’re interacting with online – this will protect you from being targeted as a potential child predator, for example
  • How to protect ourselves or others from illegal sexual activities
  • Don’t follow examples from the media as the reality of the way things are – read accurate, reality based sex education materials

Autism and Sex Resources Recommended By Dr. Loftin


The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality, and the Law: What Every Parent and Professional Needs To Know, by Dubin, Henault, and Attwood.

Sex Education

Intimate Relationships and Sexual Health: A Curriculum For Teaching Adolescents/Adults with High Functioning Autism and Other Social Challenges, by Catherine Davies and Melissa Dubie.

Autism-Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond, by Jerry and Melissa Newport


Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Aspergers/Autism, by Eva A. Mendes

(You can also listen to a couple Thrive with Aspergers episodes by Eva Mendes here and here.)

The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): A Guide to Living in an Intimate Relationship with a Partner who is on the Autism Spectrum Second Edition, by Maxine Aston and Tony Attwood.

Sex Education, Sexual Health, and the Autism Spectrum, an article by Dr. Rachel Loftin and Ann Hartlage

About Dr. Rachel Loftin

Website: Video Introduction

Bio: Rachel Loftin, PhD

AARTS Center: Autism Assessment, Research, and Treatment Services at Rush University Medical Center.

Twitter: RachelLoftinPhD

Finally, here’s the article I mentioned at the end of today’s episode: Girls Are Better At Masking Autism Than Boys.

Access a full transcript of this podcast interview here.

Copyright: graphicsdunia4you / 123RF Stock Photo

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I’m Steve Borgman. I’m a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

Are you tired of feeling alone, like you’re the only one in this world? Please join the Thrive with Aspergers Community to connect with others just like you!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Adrienne

    Please also include a dictation of this episode as it is VERY important, and those with autism may find the audio very difficult to listen to.

  • Hi, Adrienne – I republished the audio version of this podcast episode because I posted the unedited version the first time. http://traffic.libsyn.com/thrivewithaspergers/57-57_TWAP057_Updated_Episode__Autism_and_Sex.mp3. Can you listen to this recording and tell me if it’s better than the one you listened to?

  • Adrienne

    I am listening to this same link. It may be better than the original, I just know that the folks I would like to share this with would be frustrated and unable to hear what is being said. Yet I know they would certainly read a transcript of the interview. Just a thought for a wider audience – even the audience intended who may miss out.

  • It’s a great thought, Adrienne. My funds are a bit limited to pay for transcription for each episode, but I’m looking into getting this episode transcribed, per your very helpful suggestion. Thank you for the input! 🙂

  • Adrienne

    It’s a very important topic, especially as our world and sexuality becomes more complex and subtle. I appreciate the effort and funds it will take to make this particular podcast more accessible for others. I also appreciate the fact that you even addressed sexuality and autism in the first place… Great interview and great information! Thank you!

  • Stephen Borgman

    Thanks, Adrienne! The episode is being transcribed as we speak, hopefully it will be ready early next week 🙂

  • Adrienne, you can now find a dictation/transcript of this episode here – http://www.myaspergers.net/twap057-autism-sex/

  • Adrienne

    Thanks so much for the transcript! It is truly appreciated!

  • You’re so very welcome – thanks for mentioning it in the first place 🙂