Sexual identity is how one person thinks of themselves regarding their sexual and romantic attraction. Sexual identity can also refer to sexual orientation, which is where people identify with a certain sexual preference and orientation.Sexual identity is closely related to sexual orientation, however are also slightly different. Identity refers to how one sees themselves, whereas behavior refers to how one performs sexual acts and attraction to others.
Historical models usually view sexual identities formation as a process that is only undergone by sexual minorities. More contemporary models of sexual identity show the process as being more universal, and present sexual identity within the scope of other major identity theories.
There are many ways in which one can identify sexually:
- Heterosexuality – this often describes someone who is attracted to the opposite sex.
- Bisexuality – this term is used to describe people who are attracted to both men and women.
- Homosexuality – this describes people who are attracted to the same sex
- Monosexuality – this is someone who is only attracted to a person from one sex or gender group. A monosexual may identify as heterosexual or homosexual.
- Asexuality – this is someone who lacks sexual attraction to others, they usually have low interest or desire for sexual activity
- Pansexuality – this describes people who are attracted to others regardless of their sex or gender identity. Pansexuals often refer to themselves as gender blind.
- Polysexuality – this is often used by people who are attracted to many, but not all genders. It is often used by people to replace the term; bisexual; as they believe that bisexual represents a dichotomy.
- Sapiosexuality – this describes attraction to intelligence
- Unlabeled – this is often used by people who don’t want to label their own sexuality.
What Is SIT?
SIT or sexual identity therapy is a framework to aid mental health practitioners to help people who want to arrive at a healthy acceptance for their sexual identity.
Sexual identity therapy puts the emphasis on how the client wants to live and identifies.The creators state the these recommendations are not sexual re-organisation therapies in disguise. Instead, they state that this model helps clients to live according to their values.
Steps In Sexual Identity Therapy
The purpose of this therapy is to help clients align their sexual identity with their beliefs and values. At any point throughout the therapy, the therapist may decide to revisit a previous step for further investigation or to explore a new direction.
The first step is to learn the reasoning of the client. Therapists need to determine here whether the motivations of the clients is internal or external. It is usually followed by open conversations about different motivations whilst being considerate about the clients views.
Advanced informed consent
Clinicians would need to stay up to date with the literature around sexual identity,and if the client asks something about it, the therapist would need to answer without affecting their course of action.
SIT gives a specific framework for existing techniques of psychotherapy, however if the therapist thinks that the client has a preferred direction that would be more suited with the clients mental health, then the therapist should follow suit. The goal of this is to help the person explore and be able to feel comfortable within a sexual identity that is synonymous with their values and beliefs.
Sexual identity synthesis
As clients synthesize their identity, the therapist should make them aware of the consequences. Interventions can be used if needed, and the client should be perusing their valued behavior.
If you have any more questions on SIT then please feel free to contact us and one of our sex educators will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, leave a comment below and start a discussion!