Effect of Difficulties Experienced by Parents of Autistic Children on Their Sexual Life: A Qualitative Study

AYLAZ R., Yilmaz U., POLAT S.

SEXUALITY AND DISABILITY, vol.30, no.4, pp.395-406, 2012 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11195-011-9251-3
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.395-406
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: Yes


The study was conducted to investigate the difficulties experienced by parents of children with autism on their sexual life. The study used the method of focus group interviews and face-to-face in-depth interviews for qualitative studies. Interviews were held with the parents of 12 autistic children registered at the Application and Research Center for child with disability in Inonu University using a semi-structured questionnaire prepared by the investigators through screening. A voice recording device was used during the interviews, but since the parents expressed their unwillingness for any voice recording during the interviews about their sexual lives, face-to-face interviews were held with them in a suitable physical environment without any voice recording. It was found at the end of this study that the parents of autistic children experienced difficulties in their family relations, in social and economic spheres and in coping with the education and problematic behavior of their children and their sexual lives were adversely affected by such difficulties. It was observed that a large part of the responsibility for giving care to their children was assumed by women and their interaction and sexual relation with their husbands diminished for this reason. In view of these findings, we suggest that the nurses working in this particular field should provide professional social support to the parents and guide them into recognizing the difficulties they experience, the importance of their sexual life and the places from where they can get service.