In The Book of Happy, Positive and Confident Sex for Adults on the Autism Spectrum…and Beyond!, acclaimed author and autism advocate, Michael John Carley, takes readers on a journey of self-exploration, and permission-giving. He invites readers along the spectrum to consider their personalities, orientations, character traits, and behaviors as positive aspects of personhood that imbue healthy sexual identities. Michael challenges societal norms, the negative media portrayals of sexuality, and in writing what is the most LGBTQ-friendly book of its kind thus far, he challenges the less-than-inclusive autism books of the past.
—From the Foreword by Michelle Ballan, Ph.D.
In this exuberant, sex-positive book, Michael John Carley provides information about erotic pleasure and its sometimes bewildering connection to emotional intensity. In frank, honest language, with his terrific sense of humor, he demystifies sex without banalizing it. Whether you have autism or not, you can learn a lot about pleasure from this book.
—Andrew Solomon Author, Far From the Tree; Contributing
Contributor for the New York Times
David Reuben’s opus “Everything you always wanted to know about sex,” just got kicked to the curb by Michael John Carley’s groundbreaking new book on autism and SEX. Yes, autistics are people, and yes, they want to have sex just like the rest of the adult population, but what they didn’t have until now was a book that speaks directly to them. Carley’s, “Book of Happy, Positive, & Confident Sex,” will open eyes and open doors for spectrumites and neurotypicals alike: one group who will find validation for their totally natural feelings; and the others who never knew they had them.
—Linda J. Walder
Founder and Executive Director,
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation for Adult Autism
Michael John Carley has courageously and successfully taken on the monumental task of addressing the potential challenges and great possibilities inherent in sexual behavior and relationships for those on the autism spectrum. With great humanity, directness and humor, Michael provides specific information and advice culled from personal experience as a spectrumite, as well as from research. This book provides a wealth of information that is focused most directly on increasing understanding and comfort, and thereby reducing anxiety, with the ultimate goal of helping those on the spectrum (as well as neurotypicals!) be more accepting and fully engaged in their sexual lives in ways that are respectful of individual differences and desires. An important and timely work!
—Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Adjunct Professor, Brown University. Director, Childhood
Communication Services. Author, Uniquely Human.
This is an important and timely book that addresses a major gap in resources for individuals on the autism-Asperger’s spectrum. Carley brings a wealth of knowledge to the topic and deals with it in honest and straightforward ways. This book will be invaluable to adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum and their supporters.
—Fred R Volkmar, M.D., Irving B. Harris Professor
Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine
Editor in Chief, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
As a parent, I fully understand wanting to protect our offspring who are more innocent and/or naïve concerning matters of sexuality. However, how dare we presume to censor such information to people whose other rights are forcefully advocated by us all! Michael John Carley taught me a few things about sex that I never knew… and I’m REALLY old and have been married for 47 years! He honestly, tactfully and fearlessly addresses the subject of sex in all of its complexities and pleasures. I find his approach refreshing and helpful. My non-typical offspring deserves access to this book… and so does yours!
—Susan J. Moreno,
CEO and Founder, OASIS@MAAP
MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Michael John Carley has written a groundbreaking book that is geared towards those on the autism spectrum, but is in fact relevant for anyone who would benefit from a primer on sexual behavior. He writes with a unique voice that speaks to all of us who are under-informed about sexuality and especially, sexual behavior. All forms of sexual behavior and pleasuring are explored and described in language that is both frank and concrete. A welcome light shone on the subject that has been shrouded in shadows and judgments for far too long.
—Lorna Littner, MPH, LCSW,
AASECT-Certified Sexuality Instructor
Kudos for “The Book of Happy, Positive, and Confident Sex,” by Michael John Carley. In the most sex-positive manner, Michael John has put together a wonderful, fun-to-read guide about sex for readers on the autism spectrum. In fact, Michael’s book has intrinsic value for all readers, be they on the spectrum or not (“and beyond!”). As a sexuality educator, I heartily recommend this book to readers disabled and non-disabled alike, and especially to parents who question whether or not their disabled children have sex and intimacy in their futures.
—Melvyn Littner, MPH, MA in Special Education,
AASECT-Certified Sexuality Instructor
“Part anthropological, part sexological, part autobiographical, and all Asperger’s, Michael John Carley has written a tour de force. This is the first book ever written that helps autistic people navigate sexuality, their bodies, and their relationships to others without resorting to the ‘how-to-date’ approaches that exist in spades. As a gay man who struggled all his life with his sexuality, this book could have been life-saving to me if I had read it earlier. Prior to 2010, my entire life could have taken a different turn had someone placed this book in my hands.”
—Nick Dubin, Ph.D., author of Asperger Syndrome
and Bullying; Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety; and
The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law (co-author)
How refreshing to have Michael John Carley speak the truth about sex and sexual feelings. In his book, The Book of Happy, Positive, and Confident Sex, he removes the shame of sex and normalizes being a sexual being and having a healthy sex life. This well written and well-researched book will take you on a journey to understand just what sex is and how to be sexual. Michael John Carley and his great sense of humor have created an open minded, thoughtful, balanced, and useful book for those on the spectrum “and beyond.”
—Katherine McLaughlin, Founder and Director of Training
Elevatus Training: Leaders in
Sexuality and Developmental Disabilities
Michael John Carley’s brave and witty Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum explains in simple language how people on the spectrum can negotiate some of the trickiest aspects of a neurotypical world. Carley provides cogent advice on how to do and be what is needed in professional contexts without burying your true self and identity, and he does so with immense charm and hard-won wisdom.
—Andrew Solomon, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University and National Book Award-winning author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
“‘Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum’ presents a very fresh perspective on joblessness. Michael’s message will help many people with ASD.
—Temple Grandin; Author: Developing Talents, The Autistic Brain
Michael John Carley has long been a champion and respected leader in addressing quality of life and mental health needs of persons on the autism spectrum. In Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum, he goes at one of the most challenging issues that is sadly all too common for spectrumites, but does so with practical advice from his first hand experiences as an unemployed autistic person, and as a support for so many others. In a highly respectful, personal and intimate manner, Michael wisely addresses the absolute priorities of emotional well-being and living a healthy lifestyle as inseparable from seeking employment. Infused with poignant quotes and anecdotes from many autistic people, this book is a call to action, and provides specific guidelines to motivate readers to take control and make positive changes in their lives. Thanks to Michael’s deep wisdom and generosity, this book will help countless individuals transform their lives for the better.
—Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; Author, Uniquely Human
If you are on the autism spectrum, or simply care about someone who is, then you really should to read this book. However, if you are among those of us diagnosed as “typical,” then you NEED to read this book. Why? Because in “Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum” Michael Carly will introduce you to a vast, untapped workforce of people who just may be your next essential employee and who, simply by you taking that first step toward understanding neurodiversity, may well change both your lives for the better.
—Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D.; President, Peter Gerhardt Associates, LLC
“Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum,” should be required reading for every person as they enter their adult lives, not just individuals diagnosed with autism. It is like having an older, and worldly brother provide guidance, support and encouraging ideas as one journeys on the obstacle course to employment. Filled with facts, personal anecdotes and a unique perspective on the challenges faced by individuals on the spectrum, Michael John Carley has written a highly readable resource not only for those on the autism spectrum, but for all who seek to better understand and employ them.
—Linda J. Walder; Founder and Executive Director of
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation for Adult Autism
A tremendously valuable resource this volume addresses an important, and rarely discussed issue. As with all of us individuals on the autism spectrum often face issues of employment and best approaches to finding new jobs. This volume brings considerable insight into the issue of employment for persons with Asperger’s and higher functioning autism. Full of practical and useful advice it will be an immense help to those seeking to enter the work force.
—Fred R Volkmar, M.D., Irving B. Harris Professor; Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; Editor in Chief, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
If you’re looking for a book filled with fluffy platitudes promising an easy path toward employment for people on the spectrum, this isn’t the read for you. But if you’re a hopeful realist who wants counsel on how to deal with the ups and downs of unemployment (yes there are ups, as Carly will point out); encouraging guidance on how to believe in and achieve your own highest potential; pragmatic direction for building a strong background and dossier; and loads of helpful ideas for finding your way through the maze of hoops between unemployed and employed; then you have found the very book you are looking for!
—Liane Holliday Willey; author of Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life
As the Executive Director & CEO of both Gateway Academy/Spectrum College Transition Program and a mother of a 23 year old Aspie, I found Michael’s perspective and insight more than enlightening. It was encouraging and informative! In my experience, the most difficult time for Aspie’s is after they have completed their post secondary education, and the thought of securing a job disables them. As someone who “walks in their shoes”, Michael offers a unique perspective and understanding. We will be making this book mandatory in our post secondary program. Thank you Michael!
—O. Robin Sweet; Executive Director & CEO, Gateway Academy
“Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and others who think they might be Asperger’s will greatly benefit from this book.”
–Temple Grandin, Ph.D., author of Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation
“Michael Carley is unique in his ability to combine and integrate his experiences with conclusions and insights that are remarkable and powerful. His unique ability to integrate, conceptualize, compare and contrast at such a high level is what makes his work stand out.”
–Gary Mesibov, Ph.D., Director, Division TEACCH,
Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“A wonderfully candid and encouraging book about navigating the world of Asperger’s Syndrome. I recommend it to everyone, on or off the spectrum, who believes in creating a more tolerant and inclusive society.”
–Sigourney Weaver, actress
“Michael John Carley is not only a successful leader in the AS community, he has proven himself to be a gifted writer. EVERYONE who is involved with the Asperger Syndrome Community, their family, friends, and the professionals who help them MUST read this book!“
— Susan J. Moreno, M.A., A.B.S.,President,
MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome
“It’s a new day for adults with Asperger’s! Michael John Carley offers reflective, penetrating and exquisitely expressed personal descriptions of the inner and outer challenges faced by people with AS. The person with AS will find a family, a community of like-minded individuals and a guide for dealing with a world that is often ill-suited to AS thinking. The rest of us find threads of commonality that indicate, again and again, that there is more that unites, than divides us all.”
—Veronica Zysk, Author & Managing Editor,
Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine
“For years, Michael John Carley has supported his colleagues on the spectrum through GRASP. With this excellent book, Michael John will now be able to provide much needed support to thousands more. This highly informative book provides tremendous insight on a broad range of topics for those both on the spectrum and for those supporting individuals on the spectrum. This is something that should be read by all. “
–Cathy Pratt, Ph.D., Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism
“Asperger’s from the Inside-Out is refreshing, concise, systematic and to the point. It spans the history of ASD diagnosis, the identity crises involved in diagnosis . . . It explores positive versus negative takes on ASD and their consequences, the resonating impact of a diagnosis on other family members but, more so, gives spiritual guidance about more or less healthy ways of managing all these things and the consequences that choices have for each individual. Beautifully alive with quotes from a broad range of voices with ASD, this is a helpful addition to the world of autism-related literature.”
–Donna Williams, author of Nobody Nowhere and The Jumbled Jigsaw
“Michael has written a wonderful book that will serve as an invaluable resource to us all. This must-read provides a perspective that is essential.”
—Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D. University of Kansas
“This book fills a special niche for individuals on the spectrum and others as well. It addresses many topics important to those on the spectrum and in a way that helps with the struggle of what such a diagnosis means. This book is a fantastic resource for recently diagnosed adolescents and adults, as well as for family members and professionals.“
–Lynda Geller, Ph.D., Clinical Director, Asperger Institute,
New York University Child Study Center
“Michael John Carley is an articulate and passionate advocate for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. His engaging book offers a thoughtful and creative roadmap for people with Aspergers and their loved ones.”
—Mark Roithmayr, President, Autism Speaks
“Well-written, positive, yet never preachy, this practical book realistically describes what if feels like to be an adult with AS. It is highly recommended not only to adults on the spectrum and their family members, but to anyone who works with people on the spectrum. Neurotypical or Aspie, there is much to learn in these pages.“
–Chantal Sicile-Kira, author of Adolescents on the
Autism Spectrum and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Forewords Written by Michael John Carley for Other People’s Books
A Spectrum of Solutions for Clients with Autism: Treatments for Adolescents and Adults
(Bedard, Ph.D. & Hecker, Ph.D., Editors. Routledge. 2020)
Asperger’s and Entrepreneurship, 2014
(Bergemann. Jessica Kingsley Publishing. 2015)
The OASIS Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome
(Bashe. Harmony Books. 2014)
Asperger’s Syndrome and Bullying
(Dubin, Ph.d. Jessica Kingsley Publishing. 2007)