Advertisement

Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 138–150 | Cite as

Sexual orientation, sexual identity, and the question of choice

  • Laura Reiter
Articles

Abstract

Sexual orientation, determined early in life, may or may not match sexual identity, which can change over time. Starting with a review of some definitions of homosexuality in the literature, the author offers a definition that differentiates between orientation and identity. She goes on to describe several possible routes from gay orientation to gay identity, explains discrepancies, acknowledges the potential threat to subjective identity when sexual identity shifts, and argues that identity, not orientation, is open to choice. Two case examples illustrate some of these points.

Keywords

Sexual Orientation Sexual Identity Potential Threat Subjective Identity Identity Shift 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bayer, R. (1987).Homosexuality and American psychiatry: The politics of diagnosis. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, A., & Weinberg, M. (1978).Homosexualities: A study of diversity among men and women. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  3. Berger, R. (1983). What is a homosexual? A definitional model.Social Work, 28(2), 132–135.Google Scholar
  4. Cass, V. (1984). Homosexual identity: A concept in need of definition.Journal of Homosexuality, 9(2/3), 105–126.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, C., & Stein, T. (1986). Reconceptualizing individual psychotherapy with gay men and lesbians. In T. Stein & C. Cohen (Eds.)Contemporary perspectives on lesbians and gay men. New York: Plenum, pp. 27–54.Google Scholar
  6. Coleman E. (1978). Toward a new model of treatment of homosexuality: A review.Journal of Homosexuality, 3(4), 345–359.Google Scholar
  7. Coleman, E. (1988). Assessment of sexual orientation. In C. Coleman (Ed.)Integrated identity for gay men and lesbians. New York: Harrington Park, pp. 9–24.Google Scholar
  8. Dannecker, M. (1985). Toward a theory of homosexuality: Socio-historical perspectives. In J. DeCecco (Ed.)Gay personality and sexual labeling. New York: Harrington Park, pp. 1–8.Google Scholar
  9. Forstein, M. (1986). Psychodynamic psychotherapy with gay male couples. In T. Stein & C. Cohen (Eds.)Contemporary perspectives on lesbians and gay men. New York: Plenum, pp. 103–137.Google Scholar
  10. Freud, S. (1905).Three essays on the theory of sexuality. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Goffman, E. (1963).Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity: Engelwood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  12. Goldberg, R. (1984). Heterosexual panic.American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 44(2), 209–211.Google Scholar
  13. Hart, J. (1985). Therapeutic implications of viewing sexual identity in terms of essentialist and constructionist theories. In J. DeCecco (Ed.)Gay personality and sexual labeling. New York: Harrington Park, pp. 39–51.Google Scholar
  14. Hencken, J. (1985). Conceptualizations of homosexual behavior which preclude homosexual self-labeling. In J. DeCecco (Ed.)Gay personality and sexual labeling. New York: Harrington Park, pp. 53–63.Google Scholar
  15. Issay, R. (1986). On the analytic therapy of gay men. In T. Stein & C. Cohen (Eds.)Contemporary perspectives on psychotherapy with lesbians and gay men. New York: Plenum, pp. 139–155.Google Scholar
  16. Kirkpatrick, M., & Morgan, C. (1980). Psychodynamic psychotherapy of female homosexuality. In J. Marmor (Ed.)Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal. New York: Basic Books, pp. 357–375.Google Scholar
  17. Marmor, J. (1980). Overview: The multiple roots of homosexual behavior. In J. Marmor (Ed.)Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal. New York: Basic Books, pp. 3–22.Google Scholar
  18. Monteflores, C. (1986). Notes on management of difference. In T. Stein & C. Cohen (Eds.)Contemporary perspectives on psychotherapy with lesbians and gay men. New York: Plenum, pp. 73–101.Google Scholar
  19. McDougall, J. (1986). Identifications, neoneeds and neosexualities.International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(19), 19–31.Google Scholar
  20. Richardson, D. (1984). The dilemma of essentiality in homosexual theory.Journal of Homosexuality, 9(2/3), 79–90.Google Scholar
  21. Saghir, M., & Robins, E. (1980). Clinical aspects of female homosexuality. In J. Marmor (Ed.)Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal. New York: Basic Books, pp. 280–295.Google Scholar
  22. Sanders, D. (1980). A psychotherapeutic approach to homosexual men. In J. Marmor (Ed.)Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal. New York: Basic Books, pp. 342–356.Google Scholar
  23. Stoller, R. (1968).Sex and gender: On the development of masculinity and femininity. New York: Science House.Google Scholar
  24. Troiden, R. (1988).Gay and lesbian identity: A sociological analysis. New York: General Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Warren, C. (1980). Homosexuality and stigma. In J. Marmor (Ed.)Homosexual behavior: A modern reappraisal. New York: Basic Books, pp. 123–141.Google Scholar
  26. Weinberg, G. (1972).Society and the healthy homosexual. New York: St. Martin's.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Reiter
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute of LivingHartford

Personalised recommendations