It is usual that sexual orientation is a concept confused with sexual identity. What differentiates both is in how it is possible to identify aspects of an individual’s own sexuality . Sexual orientation refers to as a person following six with respect to another, this means that characteristics of a sexual nature belonging to another individual manage to attract our attention.

However, sexual identity is different because it refers to how we particularly feel about ourselves. Sometimes it is difficult to identify with those qualities that are inherent to the gender or sex with which you are born. Also some characteristics of masculinity and femininity Imposed by society turn out to be difficult for some individuals to accept.

It is here where both concepts find differences, however it can be affirmed that sexual orientation has a greater influence on identity. There are various theories that try to find what are the origins or causes of a person’s sexual orientation . So far the scientific community seems to agree on the possibility that both biological and cognitive factors are partly influenced by favor.

The sexual orientation of a person begins to manifest itself from an early age, here it is implicit how genetic, hormonal, physiological and also psychological factors play an important role during the phase of sexual development.

What is sexual orientation? 

Sexual orientation is defined as a set of characteristics that are directly related to the emotional, affective and sexual sensations that one person may feel with respect to another. This means that people manifest their sexuality including elements of their biological sex and with their sexual identification. Understanding it in another way, people manifest physical needs of a sexual nature combined with others in a more psychological sense.

People’s sexual orientation tends to conform to cultural norms that define the behavior of men and also that of women. Usually reference is made to heterosexuality which is defined from the sexual attraction felt by a person who belongs to a gender other than their own. Also included are gay and bisexual people who experience sexuality from an emotional , physical and affective point of view in a very different way.

The sexual orientation of people is also manifested from a behavior in which it is clearly defined what are the feelings and also the concept that one has of oneself as a person. It may be difficult for some individuals to understand their sexual orientation at first, depending on their youth experiences as well as other externally influencing factors.

What are their characteristics?

The main characteristic of sexual orientation is that it usually depends on the biological gender or the gender identity with which the person is born. But the possibility that a person adopts an unconventional classification to that of binary genders must also be taken into consideration. This is manifested in the individual’s own behavior and personality, which includes characteristics of masculinity or femininity as their own.

Another important characteristic is related to the psychological state, people begin to experience thoughts and sensations that are related to sexual needs. This is a very important characteristic because it is also related to gender identity, these are static and immutable factors that the person can detect as a type of desire that is produced by a specific person.

It is also important to mention that sexual orientation is a choice that is made unconsciously . Different factors can influence a person’s sexual orientation, in each case it is different because the experiences that are lived and also the environment in which they live are never the same.


The most common examples of sexual orientation are homosexuality and heterosexuality. The latter has a greater license test in today’s society because statistically there are more people who identify themselves in this way. It is characterized by manifesting physical and emotional attraction for people who have a gender other than their own.

Homosexuality is characterized by manifesting both emotional and physical sexual attraction for people of the same gender . It can manifest itself in both men and women, usually particular terms are used to refer to each other. Gay is a widely used Anglicism to refer to men who are sexually attracted to other men. Lesbian is a word used by women who feel the same attraction to other women.

But also in a broader sense human sexuality is much more diverse. Bisexuality, for example, shows that some individuals have restrictions when they express physical attraction to both genders. Sexuality can also be seen beyond the physical plane, to people who claim to be sexually attracted to others depending on how they feel emotionally, they tend to define themselves as pansexual .

Sexual orientation and development of the person

It is important to mention that sexual orientation is not a conscious choice. It is usually defined during the adolescence stage or at the end of childhood , taking into consideration that this is a period of a person’s life where they do not necessarily have any previous sexual experience. Psychologists affirm that the feelings and sensations that are had in a personal way are the only elements that are taken into consideration when defining sexual orientation.

Socially, conflicts are still generated regarding people’s sexual orientation. Heterosexuality continues to have greater validity and acceptance, on the other hand, homosexuality in its various types is the subject of discussion due to the rejection and even violence that revolves around the mistreatment suffered by people defined in this way.

Currently, different types of therapies are still being used that affirm that it is possible to change people’s sexual orientation, however this is impossible because it is not a disease that requires treatment. Religious aspects and as well as norms dictated by society in which individuals who define themselves in this way are not accepted, are elements that influence relatives of gay, lesbian and bisexual people to seek help from a mental health professional.

Unfortunately, some societies and regions of the world continue to consider homosexuality in its various variants, as a type of disease that affects mental health. A sexual orientation disclosure process involves the development of various strategies that seek to improve relationships with family and friends. Even these people must deal with the prejudice that affects their personal and professional lives.

Although it is true that so far there has been an important change in terms of the acceptance of homosexuality at a global level, important contributions must still be made in sexual education in schools and a radical change in the way of thinking in some societies. With respect to past times, a favorable change can be observed at a generalized level, but there are still violent cases framed by bullying for homophobia.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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