Exploring the Experience of Romantic Relationships and Sexuality Education in Neurodivergent and Neurotypical Young Individuals

Smusz, Magdalena, Birkbeck, Christopher, Bidgood, Amy and Allely, Clare S. (2024) Exploring the Experience of Romantic Relationships and Sexuality Education in Neurodivergent and Neurotypical Young Individuals. Sexuality and Disability. ISSN 0146-1044

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Purpose The literature indicates that sexuality education provided in schools/colleges in the United Kingdom (UK) may not be appropriate for people with Autism Spectrum Dis�order (ASD). There appears to be a lack of understanding of the subject regarding young people with Attention-Defcit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a dual diagnosis (ASD co-occurring with ADHD). Research also suggests that compared to neurotypical peers, young people with ASD tend to receive less support on sexuality from their parents, who often feel that they lack the appropriate skills to help their children with some sex-related issues. Some young people with ASD and ADHD also report lacking an understanding of the social nuances of dating and intimacy, which is crucial for navigating romantic rela�tionships. Design/methodology/approach This study explored sexuality education and romantic relationships in young people based on a semi-structured interview approach to the topic. Thematic Analysis (TA) was employed to analyze the data. Findings Six themes were developed from the participants’ narratives: Societal ideology about sexuality; Sub�standard school-based sexuality education; The role of adults in sexuality education; Por�nography, as a very powerful alternative means of sexuality education; Young people and romance—a complicated world to navigate; Experience of abuse in the young neurodiver�gent population is a serious matter. Findings revealed that many neurodivergent and neu�rotypical young people received basic sex education in their schools/colleges and homes and encountered challenges navigating romantic relationships. Neurodivergent young peo�ple reported experiencing greater challenges related to their understanding of and building romantic relationships than their neurotypical peers. Originality/value To the research�ers’ knowledge, this is the frst exploration of romantic relationships and sexuality educa�tion in neurotypical young people as well as three groups of neurodivergent young people (with ASD, ADHD, and ASD co-occurring with ADHD).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The version of record of this article, first published in [Journal name], is available online at Publisher’s website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11195-024-09857-8
Divisions: Faculty of of Arts, Society and Professional Studies > Department of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Hazel Barham
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2024 09:03
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 09:03
URI: https://newman.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17367

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