What might help me figure out my sexual identity?
Last Updated: 08/13/2019 at 11:32am
Jamie Rautenberg, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I'm passionate about helping clients understand emotional experiences & mental chatter do not define who they are. I'm here to guide them through the fog back to themselves.
Top Rated Answers
Time, time, time... Give it a lot of time. I think your sexual identity is something what needs to grow. Especially during puberty. It's not something you can force it to be. Discovering what it exactly is depends from person to person. But keep in mind that kissing someone from the same gender and don't liking it doesn't make you directly straight, and kissing someone from the opposite gender and not liking it doesn't make you directly gay. It's more than just only this.
Asking this question is a very brave first step! Figuring out your sexual identity can be overwhelming, especially at first. Taking the time to ask yourself introspective questions is a great way to start. Think about any relationships you may have had, and how much attraction was there, what you liked and didn't like. Think about the people you naturally have crushes on or fantasies about. Are there any patterns? When you think of people of your gender identity, what feelings and thoughts come up? Which feelings and thoughts come when thinking of people with gender identities other than your own? Keeping the answers to questions like these written down somewhere private and safe can help, as well as keeping a journal about your processing. Reading books on sexual identity (although this book is mainly about gender identity, Kate Bornstein's "My Gender Workbook" is a great one) can help as well. Please also remember that there is no time limit on this journey.
You can analyze your feelings and sensations about men and women. Maybe you can imagine yourself with men and women and see how that makes you feel, whatever feels good determines your orientation! You can also experiment if you think it would help you, but it's not necessary, it's really all about how you feel rather than what you have experienced.
Time. Think on it. Journal. Read other people's stories and relate it to yourself. Read labels and definitions. Think even more. Take your time. Remember that labels are General, and YOU are unique. A label probably wont fit PERFECTLY, but it just needs to be something you feel comfortable with. Remember that you don't NEED a label. Your identity is YOURS. All you need to know is which individual you would like to have a relationship with, so if you never find a big general label that fits you - that's okay too. Take your time, and be gentle with yourself. It's going to be okay.
In my own experience, it helped me to step back from everyday things and look at it from an outside perspective, almost. I looked at those whom I had experienced feelings for over the years and examined my drive to be with those different people. What I found was that all of the boys I wanted to be with, it was more for a popularity sort of thing, that trivial high school attitude I'm sure most of us had at some point. All of my other friends had boyfriends, so I had to as well, that kind of thing. But the only real connections and attractions that I had were to girls. This may just be my thing, but I thought I would share!
Ask yourself some questions: Lately was I more attracted to specific people? Or not attracted to anyone ever at all? How do I imagine a couple life and sexual relationships? Also, have some experiences, listen to yourself, try new things but remember to stay comfortable and safe! Finally, don't pressure yourself too hard on figuring everything out and putting yourself definitely in a box! There is no urgent need for anyone to do that, just stay confident on what you feel. Some people take the time to figure out their sexual identity (either sexuality or gender it applies to all) some other change many times on the road and others don't ever label themselves and in every case it is fine! :)
Sexual identity is a very personal issue that I think about a lot. I don't think we owe anyone else an explanation or a definitive answer. There's no rush. You you are, and being able to write out a definition for the boundaries of your sexual identity might be comforting, but it probably wouldn't change too much about who you are. Experience can help clarify some ideas, but be careful not to put yourself at risk.
Take some time by yourself to understand your sexuality. Also, talking to a counselor could help a lot too! It can be confusing to understand your sexuality growing up but go with your gut feeling :-) Hope this helps!
Don't focus on labeling yourself. Think more about what would make you happy. Do you like girls? Great! Do you like guys? Great! Too often we try to label ourselves, and that also limits us. Don't limit yourself to one thing, explore, experience, enjoy. That is life :)
Experience. Something that helped me was physical experience with a member of both sexes as well as someone who was nonbinary. It helped me figure out, very quickly, who I felt chemistry with and in general which individual was even attractive to begin with.
A way that you can figure out your own sexual identity by yourself, would be to take the time. To relax, and enter deep thought, thinking about every aspect of the situation, being truly honest with your conscience. Another way to solve this issue would just be to relax, and allow things to work out the way they do.
Experimenting. Looking into what some of them are. Talking to somebody who knows for sure what they are. Reading defintions of what each one is.
Through your feelings and emotions to another person. If you have feelings both sexually and emotionally to a person in your same gender, it can mean that you might be gay or lesbian. If you have feelings for both gender it can mean that you maybe bisexual.
It can take time for a lot of people to figure this out. It's good to remember that when you find a label or a name that you feel represents you, it might not be as relevant in the future. It's always a fair idea to try asking those who are knowledgeable about the LGBTQIA+ community, and people can definitely help lead you down the right path, but ultimately you're the expert on you. Take some time to sit down and think about who you are. With some research and introspective, I'm positive that you'll find your identity!
Telling a close friend how you feel about sexual attraction may help you figure out your sexual identity. They will support you.
something that you could try to figure out your sexual identity would be to go and experiment with deifferent things
Digging deep, figuring out what you like in a person, sexually or emotionally, and then you got it..
Learning more about sexual identities, and finding out which one most reflects your feelings, and attitude.
I highly recommend two things: research and television shows. This answer may sound silly, but please hear me out. When I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I didn't know where to look for information and I was so desperate to find out what exactly it means to be lgbtq+. So what did I do? I researched and read anything I could get my hands on. The Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, GLAAD have some really helpful information and guides on lgbtq+ issues. As for television shows, I was constantly watching shows that included lgbtq+ characters. This helped me so much. I recommend The L Word (a bit unrealistic, but still helpful). If you need someone to talk to, please contact me!
You, you and only you. Sexual identities develop with you as you grow in your life. They are a formulation of your desires, fantasies and more important, your own self identity. Now, it's you who has decide it eventually as it's you who feels. Just take a step, forget what people say and enjoy your life. However, whatever decisions you make, be satisfied. It's all about contentment and happiness.
Asking yourself what specifically you are attracted to. Really evaluate how you feel, read through descriptions of different sexualities and decide which you relate to the most.
The best way to help you figure out your sexual identity is thought. What thoughts are you sexually attracted to? Is it thoughts of men, women, both, neither? Thoughts and fantasies are the safest and best way to discover your sexuality since it is just a conversation with yourself, and no one has to know that you are trying to figure it out.
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