What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual and romantic attractions, behaviour and identity. It can be influenced by many factors, including biological, psychological and social factors. Sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed.
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It is an integral part of a person’s identity and can have a significant impact on their mental health and well-being. Understanding sexual orientation can help individuals make better decisions about their sexual health and relationships.
How can I find out about my sexual orientation?
Discovering your sexual orientation can be a complex and often confusing process. For some people, their sexual orientation may be clear from a young age, while for others it may take time and self-exploration to understand their attraction patterns.
There are many ways to understand your sexual orientation. Some signs may include attraction to people of a certain gender, romantic or sexual fantasies, and emotional attachments to people of a certain gender.
There is no one “right” way to find out your sexual preference, and ultimately it is up to each individual to decide how to identify themselves. Some common signs that may indicate a person’s sexual orientation include
- Feeling attracted to a particular gender
- Fantasising about romantic or sexual experiences with a particular gender
- Feeling attracted to or in love with a particular gender
- Feeling uncomfortable or uninterested in romantic or sexual experiences with a particular gender
The best way to find out about your sexual orientation is to explore your feelings and attractions in a safe and supportive environment. This may involve talking to trusted friends or family, seeking therapy or counselling, or interacting with online communities that support people exploring their sexual identity.
What are the different types of sexual orientation?
- Heterosexual: attracted to people of the opposite sex
- Homosexual: Attracted to people of the same sex
- Bisexual: Attracted to people of the same sex
- Pansexual: Attracted to people of the same sex
- Asexual: Not sexually attracted to anyone
It is important to note that sexual orientation exists on a spectrum and individuals may not fit neatly into a particular category. In addition, sexual preference is not necessarily fixed or static and some people may experience changes in their attraction patterns over time.
Does sexual orientation change?
Although sexual orientation is often thought of as a fixed aspect of a person’s identity, research shows that it is more flexible than previously thought. Some people may experience changes in their attraction patterns over time, and these changes may be influenced by a number of factors, such as life experiences, personal development and hormonal changes.
However, sexual preference is not something that can be ‘changed’ or ‘cured’. Attempts to change sexual preference through therapy or other interventions are widely rejected and can cause significant harm to individuals.
Sexual orientation tests
Sexual orientation tests are useful tools for people who have difficulty understanding their sexual attractions and behaviour. These tests, also known as sexual preference tests or sexual preference tests, are designed to help individuals explore and understand their sexual preference in a safe and supportive environment.
An example of a sexual preference test is the Kinsey Scale, developed by American sexologist Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s. The Kinsey Scale measures a person’s sexual orientation on a scale of 0 to 6. 0 represents exclusively heterosexual, while 6 represents exclusively homosexual. People in the middle of the scale are considered to be bisexual.
Another example of a sexual preference test is the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid (KSOG), developed by American psychologist Fritz Klein in the 1970s. The KSOG measures sexual preference along seven dimensions: sexual attraction, sexual behaviour, sexual fantasies, emotional preference, social preference, lifestyle and identity.
Understanding sexual preference is an important part of promoting mental health and well-being. By learning about different types of sexual orientation and using sexual preference tests, people can better understand their sexual attractions and behaviour.
How can dengem help you?
Sexual orientation is a unique part of each person and should be respected. With the help of a supportive community and therapists, people can explore and accept their sexual identity. This can help individuals understand themselves better and increase their sexual health and well-being.
dengem is here for you with its psychologists! dengem’s psychologists can help you find the best treatment approach based on the individual’s specific needs and situation. You can make an appointment with one of our psychologists at any time. In Europe, it is now very easy to get therapy in your mother tongue!
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- Blais, M., Aghedu, F. C., Ashley, F., Samoilenko, M., Chamberland, L., & Côté, I. (2022). Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression conversion exposure and their correlates among LGBTQI2+ persons in Québec, Canada. PLOS ONE, 17(4), e0265580.
- Jackson, C. L., Agénor, M., Johnson, D. A., Austin, S. B., & Kawachi, I. (2016). Sexual orientation identity disparities in health behaviors, outcomes, and services use among men and women in the United States: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 16(1).
- Sexual orientation and gender diversity. (n.d.).
- Wamsley, L. (2021, June 2). A Guide To Gender Identity Terms. NPR.