Sexual identity refers to an individual’s self-concept as heterosexual (denoting exclusive attractions to the other sex), lesbian/gay (denoting exclusive attractions to the same sex), bisexual (denoting sexual attractions to both sexes), or none of the above (including individuals who feel that none of these categories adequately describes them as well as individuals who feel that they are asexual and have no sexual attraction to either sex). This entry reviews contemporary scientific thinking on the development and life-span expression of sexual identity, clarifies how sexual identity differs from sexual orientation, reviews the different motives that may underlie an individual’s selection of specific identity labels, and discusses the psychosocial challenges faced by individuals who adopt nonheterosexual identities at all stages of life.

Diversity in Development of Sexual Identity

Early ...

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