They also can have an extreme sensitivity to particular sensory experiences.

All of these diagnostic characteristics will affect relationship skills throughout childhood, and will eventually limit an adult’s ability to achieve a long-term successful relationship.

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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.

Clinical experience has identified that the majority of such adolescents and young adults would like a romantic relationship.

He or she can be bewildered as to why other people appear to be “obsessed” with expressing love for each other.

Someone with an ASD also may be conspicuously immature in his or her expressions of affection, and sometimes may perceive these expressions of affection as aversive experiences.

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.For example, a hug may be perceived as an uncomfortable squeeze that restricts movement.The person can become confused or overwhelmed when expected to demonstrate and enjoy relatively modest expressions of affection.Typical children do this naturally and have practised relationship skills with family members and friends for many years before applying these abilities to achieve a successful romantic relationship.Young adults with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism also have conspicuously limited social conversational skills or ability to communicate emotions, especially affection.Unfortunately, the source of information on relationships for adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome can be pornography for males and television “soap operas” for females.