As time and generations continue to progress and communicate their identities and desires, we as LGBTQ therapists in Orlando and humans learn about the complexities of attraction and sexuality. The most interesting thing about how we view and describe our sexuality differs from one person to another. It is very common that these identities or labels might shift or change throughout your lifetime as you gain more experience and find more people to relate to.
The LGBTQ+ community was created based on some different labels within the community.
L for Lesbian
G for Gay
B for Bisexual
T for Trans(Gender/Masc/Femme, etc. Note: the original term "transexual" has become outdated to some people within the LGBTQ, especially those that identify with it. It is always best practice to ask someone who has already come out to you the way they feel most comfortable identifying as!)
Q for Queer
& Finally (+) for that outside of the first few which include:
Asexual: the lack or absence of sexual attraction or interest.
Pansexual: sexual, romantic, and emotional attraction to someone regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Demisexual: sexual attraction based on an emotional attraction or connection with a person first.
There are many other different forms of labeling or identification within the community, including gender identity and presentation, and romantic feelings. We will get more into this in another blog!
As you might have found within people you know, celebrities, or others who discuss their sexuality proudly, their identifying labels can shift or change based on their experiences. We can look at these as umbrella terms for a wider spectrum underneath. For example an individual on the bisexual spectrum, which can mean an even split of who they are attracted to 50/50, it could also mean 10/90 male leaning or female leaning (or femme/masc). No matter where they fall on that spectrum they do fall in that bisexual label or umbrella term that most accurately depicts their sexuality. The same goes for the Asexual or "Ace" spectrum - someone that falls on the Ace spectrum may not ever be interested in sexual attraction or desire/acts, and others can be more open to that depending on their partnership. This is also viewed as an umbrella term with subcategories underneath that include their gender presentation, romantic feelings or lack thereof also known as romantic orientation, and even their preference in partners.
Common barriers I find as a sex-positive counselor and LGBTQ therapist in Orlando is that we feel pressured to pick one and stick to it. However, it is both okay and normal to shift your labels throughout your lifetime, or even to feel uncomfortable picking one. Finding something that resonates with you is important in this process. Often time people utilize queer as a means to relate and be a part of the LGBTQ+ because their sexuality may change, or they feel that there isn't one they gravitate to or explain their own attraction and sexual preferences.
Exploring attraction, sexual desires, past experiences, and how we have perceived ourselves and partners within our relationships are beneficial to better understanding our sexuality. Society, parenting style, family dynamics, religion, and exposure to diversity all affect the way we view ourselves and our sexuality. Identifying the values that come from our core beliefs and attitudes is crucial to finding your own identity. If you need help exploring these topics, better understanding where you fall within this spectrum, or having trouble resonating, talk to an LGBTQ therapist in Orlando at Orlando Thrive Therapy today. We would be happy to listen, empower and help you work through your own personal barriers to living proudly.
To contact the author of this article, reach out to Mallory Hawkes, LMHC at Orlando Thrive Therapy.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.