Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Sexual Identity

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_281

Introduction

Identity consists of a personally significant, meaningful sense of one’s goals, beliefs, values, and life roles (Erikson, 1968; Marcia, 1987). Among sexuality researchers, “sexual identity” typically refers to sexual orientation. However, more recently, researchers have adopted more inclusive and multidimensional conceptualizations of sexual identity (e.g., Dillon, Worthington, & Moradi, 2011). As with models of sexual identity, much of the theorizing on sexual identity has also specifically focused on sexual orientation and the “coming out process” for sexual-minority individuals. Nonetheless, there is increasing evidence that rigid, dichotomous models of sexual identity fail to accommodate the true complexity and diversity of individuals’ lived experiences. As a result, sexual identity researchers now acknowledge that conventional sexual identity models are in need of expansion, clarification, and further investigation (e.g., Savin-Williams, 2011).

Definition

Sexual...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References

  1. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4(3), 219–235. doi:10.1300/J082v04n03_01.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Dillon, F. R., Worthington, R. L., & Moradi, B. (2011). Sexual identity as a universal process. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (vols. 1 and 2) (pp. 649–670). New York: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978–1-4419–7988-9_27.Google Scholar
  4. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  6. Marcia, J. E. (1987). The identity status approach to the study of ego identity development. In T. Honess & K. Yardley (Eds.), Self and identity: Perspectives across the lifespan (pp. 161–171). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Reynolds, A. L., & Hanjorgiris, W. F. (2000). Coming out: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity development. In R. M. Perez, K. A. DeBord, & K. J. Bieschke (Eds.), Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients (pp. 35–55). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10339–002.Google Scholar
  8. Savin-Williams, R. C. (2011). Identity development among sexual-minority youth. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (vols. 1 and 2) (pp. 671–689). New York: Springer Science + Business Media. doi:10.1007/978–1–4419–7988–9_28.Google Scholar
  9. Savin-Williams, R. C., & Diamond, L. M. (2000). Sexual identity trajectories among sexual-minority youths: Gender comparisons. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 29, 607–627. doi:10.1023/A:1002058505138.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySpringfield CollegeSpringfieldUSA