Gender And Sexuality Therapy
Most people still use the terms gender and sexuality interchangeably. However, these two could not be any more different from one another. In recent years, knowing the differences between terms such as gender, sexuality, and sex have become more important.
This is where gender and sexuality therapy can help you to understand more about yourself and what you need in life.
As society moves to become a hopefully more inclusive and affirming society, knowing the differences between gender and sexuality is a crucial part of helping yourself and others to heal and feel welcomed.
Our identities consist of many different traits that are unique and personal to us. Ranging from our sexuality, culture, religion, gender, age, body, ability and so much more. At the end of the day, our identity is OURS to decide.
Not anyone else’s. Nobody has the right to tell you what or who you can identify as, because that is yours to understand, choose and share as feels right to you.
There’s probably some confusion as to the differences between gender and sexuality. So let’s expand this and go over the differences between sex, gender and sexuality. And if you are ever looking for even more help, receiving gender and sexuality therapy with a trained therapist can be very helpful.
Gender And Sexuality Therapy – Tip 1. Sex
When someone is referring to their sex, they are often talking about the biological characteristics that they were born with. It refers to the physical characteristics of your body that biology uses to determine if you are male or female.
Sex can also referring to the levels of hormones (testosterone or estrogen) that are present in your chemical composition.
However, it is always best to ask and not assume. Doing so is respectful of another person’s ability to define themselves as feels most appropriate to them.
Gender And Sexuality Therapy – Tip 2. Gender
“What’s your gender?” is a common question with typical answers of “Male,” or “Female.” However, this isn’t really the best definition of gender, because as we see above, this generally equates to asking “What is your sex?”
It is more apt to say that gender refers to your sense of self, when it comes to masculinity or femininity or non-masculinity or non-femininity. It is how we feel in our mind and heart.
For many, their gender identity will match up with their sex. Now, this is commonly referred to as being cisgender.
When you don’t feel as if your identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth, you may be transgender or fall elsewhere on the gender spectrum like many, many other healthy and normal people.
There is more to gender identity than just feeling as if you are a male or female. For instance, some people may identify with aspects of being a male and a female. Still yet, some may not feel like they identify as either male or female. In this case, this is often referred to as being gender diverse or non-binary, gender-fluid or genderqueer.
When someone identifies as trans, non-binary, gender-fluid or genderqueer, they will often choose the pronoun that feels right to them to describe who they are. For instance, instead of she or her, they may prefer they or them.
Gender And Sexuality Therapy – Tip 3. Sexuality
Our sexualities are who we are attracted to. This can be either who you are romantically or sexually attracted to.
Since we put labels on everything, this is where terms such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, straight, and pansexual come into play.
When we identify as a certain sexuality, other people may have certain expectations of what you are supposed to be like. If you are a gay man, then people may assume that you love fashion or gossip. This and many other stereotypes exist around sexuality and gender.
Gender and sexuality therapy can really help you undo the baggage that society has foisted upon you, freeing you up to become and be your truest self.
Gender And Sexuality Therapy – Tip 4. The Important Thing Is Who You Are
The most important thing to remember about all of this is that it should not matter to anyone what you choose for yourself.
If you are a non-binary person who considers themself bisexual, then that’s fine. If you are a straight, cisgender female, that is completely fine too. If you are a gay man, that’s great as well.
What is important to remember about gender, sex, and sexuality is that at the end of the day, it’s our choice and decision to be who we feel we truly are and to make the most of our precious time on earth! In our hearts or in our minds, you have the choice to make the decision of what labels (if any) feel right for you AND you have the right to let other people know how you would like to be referred to.
We are living in a more inclusive and open world, or at least trying to get there. So knowing the terms and labels associated with these worlds is important and respectful. It is also helpful and a good idea to learn about intersectionality – the idea that different identities affect people differently and how people of different backgrounds are treated better or worse in society.
And again, if you don’t know what someone would like to be called, or how someone would like to be referred to, please just ask and don’t assume. This is a way of valuing a fellow human being’s dignity and humanity. We all deserve this (and need this) in abundance.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the USA and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 16 years of experience. I specialize in anxiety, therapy for gay men, gender and sexuality therapy (not the same thing!) and teaching the tools of self compassion for LGBTQ+ people.
I have received advanced specialist training in using Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy which have been shown to be very effective in helping people learn tools to change their brains and lives in as short a period as possible.
No matter what or who you identify as, if you are ready to take the next courageous and life changing step of learning to love yourself once and for all – I’d be honored to help.
I am here to provide support, kindness and practical solutions to help fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community navigate the difficulties that often come with identity in a society that can unfortunately be far from affirming.
Click to learn more about therapy for gay men (and the wider lgbtq+ community)