The Associação Portuguesa Voz do Autista has been working on the importance of research and knowledge about sexuality and relationships in autistic people. Despite the fact that more and more studies and first-person accounts indicate a potentially active sex life and a willingness to get involved in relationships, similar to what is seen in non-autistic people, there are still few studies on the specific experiences and needs of autistic people in relation to this topic, which, in the Portuguese context, is practically non-existent.<br>We are against a deficit discourse on sexuality in autism, which is often medicalised because of the difference in needs, by highlighting the systemic and institutional barriers to information and education on autistic sexuality. These barriers include discrimination and stigma, the infantilisation of autistic people and the denial of their right to privacy and intimacy, among others, which can lead to a lack of access to support in the area of sexuality and relationships.
It is important to know and understand the needs related to sexuality and relationships, in their own voice, in order to ensure that autistic people can have a full and healthy sexual and emotional life, and it is important to prevent and support against violence, taking into account the specific needs mentioned, as well as developing support and services that take these points into account.
The following report was the result of a community-led study carried out with the aim of exploring the needs in the area of sexuality and violence prevention in autistic people, and showing the need for more studies in the area.