Please Note: This post may contain material which could be considered offensive. If you are squemish? Please do not read further.
This topic was suggested by one of my readers and given that it's not only frequently a source of parental concern but can also cause major social issues, I thought it was well worth covering.
Like all aspie traits, the ones described here don't necessarily apply to everyone. People with aspergers are individuals too and there's no reason to expect that any generalisations hold true.
One thing that I've noticed with many aspies that I've come into contact with is that they tend to cling to the extremes of permissiveness more than their neurotypical counterparts.
For example; most NTs learn that nudity isn't socially acceptable from an early age and will generally avoid it. By their mid to late teens however, many NTs push at the boundaries of social acceptance without crossing them in any major way.
In this situation, there are two extremes and you often find aspies clustered at both. On the one hand, there are the shy, prudish aspies who consider it a big deal to unbutton the top button on their shirt, or to wear shorts. At the other end of the scale, there are aspies who think nothing of nudity and aren't concerned who sees them. Surprisingly, there are also a number of confusing individuals who constantly flip between the two extremes.
Causes of Concern
Both types of aspies create social issues with the "prudish" type often being subjected to bullying over their appearance. They also often have problems attending gym/P.E. classes. These aspies often face longer-term life and relationship issues because social rejection in the teenage years can often have lasting consequences. All too often, these people have major issues with dating and with meeting people. In this regard, some of worst problems stem from their conservative dress sense and the fact that they would never set foot in many of the places where social/dating activities are conducted (pubs, clubs, dances etc).
Unsuprisingly though, it's the more "relaxed" types of aspies who tend to get themselves into the worst trouble. There's no mistaking the problems that females who are just a little too forthcoming when talking about adult issues or who flirt inappropriately attract amongst the less controlled members of our society. Male issues tend to be more likely to involve the police, or violence.
Growing Up Permissive
Your aspie's tendencies will generally start to become obvious from an early age, typically around 5 or 6 years. My children for example are sent outside fully clothed to play but frequently when I look out of the window, I see the discarded piles of their clothes on the ground and find them happily jumping around stark-naked on the trampoline where all our neighbours can see them. No amount of correction seems to get the message through.
Even worse, they seem to have an unhealthy fascination with their organs and with "potty talk" when their peers have mostly outgrown this. The big problem with this delay is that it brings us uncomfortably close to puberty. When such frolicking and talk ceases to be innocent and becomes altogether more dangerous.
Like all children, aspies are curious about their bodies and those of others around them. It's fairly normal for children to show themselves to others ("You show me yours and I'll show you mine"). Unfortunately, this is where the sexual and social delays and fascination with the wrong subjects can cause big problems. It is not uncommon for an aspie child to remain focussed on the "show and tell" stage for much longer than their peers.
I remember this stage myself and I remember how my friends had outgrown such things and I eventually asked a child who was several years younger to show and tell with me. It was all innocent but you can imagine the social implications had that other child's parents caught me. I hadn't grown out of that stage by the time I stopped but I had started to fear the punishments that awaited me if I got caught. I'm not keen on negativity as a deterrent but in this case, it was pseudo-fear that did the trick. Certainly I'll be impressing on my children that such behaviour past a certain age will involve the police.
The other issue affecting teenagers with Aspergers is obsession. Aspies are well known for forming fixations on objects, concepts and even people. These obsessions need to be monitored carefully lest they get out of control.
Again, it's not at all uncommon for aspies to develop sex obsessions, even without a partner. Most of these obsessions are perfectly safe behind closed doors but if they are even discussed openly, there could be social problems. Aspies have a tendency to say just a bit too much.
I think that it's much more critical that the "birds and the bees" be discussed with aspies than with NTs as aspies have more naievity and greater scope for trouble. Of course, I'm still not sure what the right age for this discussion should be.