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4 Ways Therapy Helps You Explore Your Sexual Orientation

Questioning your sexual orientation can be both scary and exciting. In our culture, heterosexuality is the default. It can be daunting to realize you fit outside this box. You might be wondering whether you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community or whether you fit into any labels at all. Perhaps you’re coming to terms with same-sex attraction after being in a straight relationship for years, or you’re learning your sexuality might be more fluid than you thought. Whatever your situation, therapy can be an excellent place for you to start asking these questions. Here are four ways therapy can help you explore your sexual orientation.

1. Understand your identity

The first step to exploring your sexual orientation is having a deep awareness of who you are as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual, or queer person. It’s crucial to start from a place of affirmation and support. If your environment cannot immediately provide those, you need to start within yourself. Becoming self-affirming will empower you to conquer your fears about who you really are. This will help you make more authentic decisions moving forward. A therapist will give you strategies for self-empowerment and the tools to help you feel safe as you explore and live openly.

2. Deconstruct your past

In exploring your sexual identity, you may be dealing with events from your past that shaped you. You may even have unresolved trauma. To move forward in your life and fully embrace your sexual orientation, it’s important to confront and learn from your childhood and other past experiences. Therapy can be the place where you unlock insights into past experiences that impacted you. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression as a result of untreated trauma, a therapist will help you develop healthy coping strategies. Eventually, you’ll be able to practice them in your daily life to deal with anxiety and stressors as they come up.

3. Provide a judgment-free space

Part of exploring your sexuality most likely involves coming out to friends, family, and the wider public. You may be facing backlash from people in your life who don’t accept your sexuality or gender expression. Perhaps you feel misunderstood and stigmatized by those around you. This can lead to anxiety around your sexuality and stop you from fully exploring it in a way that would benefit you. A good therapist will provide a space free from stigma and judgment and do their best to understand you. It’s important that you have someone who can listen to your struggles and provide open and honest feedback. By building a strong professional relationship with your therapist, you’ll feel more comfortable opening up to new experiences.

4. Give a sex-positive perspective

It’s crucial to separate sexual exploration from moral judgment. In a sex-negative culture like ours, these biases and stigmas prevent people from fully embracing the benefits of healthy sexual exploration. Sex-positive therapy will guide you away from feeling your desires and impulses are “wrong.” Instead, your therapist will help you challenge your internalized negativity and look at your life holistically, regarding sex as a key component of who you are.

How therapy can help

Remember, there is no way to change your sexual orientation. Conversion therapies are widely discredited by medical professionals and human rights advocates. Good, healthy therapies are the direct opposite of conversion tactics. If you’re struggling to understand your sexual orientation or want to explore your identity, talking to a licensed therapist might be right for you. The goal of these sessions is acceptance and embracing sexual freedom. It’s key to find a sex-positive therapist who specializes in LGBTQIA+ issues.

To find out more about how therapy can help you explore your sexual orientation and identity, please reach out to us for support in LGBTQ Counseling.