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  • How Can You Know Your Sexual Orientation?

    In this blog we will how you can know your sexual orientation. We believe this to be an important topic to speak to because many people continue to find their sexual orientation confusing at best. So, let’s talk about it.

    Knowing Your Sexual Orientation

    The study of sexual orientation has been quite a controversial topic for many years now, and one that continues to raise many questions. Examples of these questions include:

    • How does a person identify their sexual orientation?
    • What makes a person identify as non-straight, and what percentage of the population currently identifies as such?
    • Is sexual orientation determined entirely by biology?
    • What role do early learning and other social experiences play?

    Human Sexuality and Sexual Orientation

    Sexuality is such a beautiful part of being human, and yet for too many of us, sexuality can be so complex. And as complex as sexual orientation can be, it’s easy to see why many people—particularly young people—struggle with determining their own sexual orientation. For many teens who are experiencing their sexuality for the first time, thanks to those new and surging hormones, exploring their identity can be exciting, scary, and super overwhelming all at the same time.

    So, How Can You Know Your Sexual Orientation?

    While many people simply “know” their sexual orientation, a certain percentage of people find themselves in a nebulous or confusing world. There is no test that can be taken to determine if you are lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, two spirit, or something else entirely. And there’s no one way that non-straight people look or act. The LGBTQ+ population is just as diverse as the straight population.

    It’s important that people understand this: Just because a young man might be gentle and effeminate does not necessarily mean he’s gay, and a classically masculine and brash jock is not necessarily straight.

    What Is Sexual Orientation?

    In order to try and determine your own sexual orientation, it’s important to first understand what those words mean exactly. The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation as an “enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional” attraction toward another person.

    With this definition in mind, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine whether you might be gay, lesbian, straight, bi, etc.

    • Have I ever been sexually attracted to the same sex?
    • Do I feel strong emotional bonds to the same sex?
    • In my sexual fantasies, am I with people of the same or the opposite sex?
    • Am I physically attracted to the same sex?
    • Have I considered having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex? How did this make me feel?
    • Have I had sexual same-sex experiences in the past? If so, how did I feel during and after?
    • Have I ever felt romantic and intimate attraction to the same sex?
    • When I imagine myself being intimately and sexually involved with another person, are they the the same sex as I, and if so, does that excite me? Does that appeal to me? Or is the person I imagine the opposite sex than I?

    Discovering You’re Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay…

    Depending on where you live (e.g. small town vs big city) and what kind of support systems you have in place—loving and open-minded friends and family vs. unsupportive and antiquated or old-fashioned friends and family—you may find it difficult to discover you are bisexual, gay, lesbian etc.

    Sexual Orientation and Coming Out

    You may be tempted to hide your real self, and your feelings, from others. But having worked with gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients in our practice, we can tell you that hiding your true feelings and identity is typically a very painful way to live.

    If you are interested in learning about coming out, feel free to read our blog “Coming Out as an LGBTQ+ Adult

    You’re Not Alone

    Know this: If you determine that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual etc., you are not alone. There are many others like you who are leading healthy and happy lives. If you come out to friends and family and they don’t support you, there are other resources you can turn to.

    Also, consider working with a therapist if you find dealing with your sexual orientation overwhelming and confusing. They can offer guidance, support, and coping strategies.

    More and more LGBTQ+ individuals are coming out and finding support. And loving themselves more as they become who they truly are. While things may seem scary right now, your life can feel exactly as normal and happy as anyone else’s; i.e. as happy and fulfilling as folks who live in the hetero-normative box, and LGBTQ+ allied straight folks. It truly is possible!

    If you or someone you know thinks they might identify with any of the LBGTQIA2S+ letter orientations and would like to explore counselling, please be in touch. We would be more than happy to discuss how we may be able to help you.

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