Re-conceptualizing the experience of individuals who are exploring their sexuality
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/digital/collection/etd/id/60161
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Workapplication/pdf
vi, 38 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Psychology
The present study aimed to gain an understanding of the experience of individuals who are exploring their sexual identity. Participants represented an online convenience sample and included 84 adult individuals who are exploring their sexual identity. Participants completed a series of opened ended questions regarding understanding their experience of sexuality. Analysis indicated that participants were demographically diverse in their self-identified labels of sexuality, both prior to and during sexual exploration. In addition, not all participants shifted their identity labels and many reported patterns beyond the stereotypical movement away from a heterosexual label. Thematic analysis revealed four main themes related to participants’ sexual exploration: 1) openness, 2) not limited by, 3) exploring own identity, and 4) exploring identity through others. Discussion focuses on the heterogeneity of participant's responses, the heteronormative assumptions that impact sexual exploration, and the way participants generally describe their experiences as positive. Implications for counseling are also discussed.