Sexual Identity

homosexualityWe discussed sexual identity in Human Sexuality today. We reviewed and updated research in key content areas covered in the book Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate. This meant updating research on the prevalence of sexual minorities, causes of same-sex attraction and homosexual orientation, mental health correlates, and whether sexual orientation can change. On this last point, change, we discussed the Ex-Gays? longitudinal study among others. 

In addition to this background information, we discussed sexual identity as another way to approach the topic of homosexuality. This included a review of research and theories related to sexual identity development and synthesis, as well as milestone events in identity formation. 

What is particularly interesting is the study of Christians who experience same-sex attraction and are sorting out identity issues in light of their faith. We discussed the decision to integration same-sex attractions into a gay identity as well as the decision to dis-identify with a gay identity and the persons and organizations that support that identity. 

In this context we discussed Sexual Identity Therapy among other approaches to providing clinical services to sexual minorities. We discussed common clinical concerns, including public and private identity labeling, conflicts between religious and sexual identities, issues related to stigma and bullying, and so on.

4 Comments

  1. I don’t suppose you touched on the Cass model of identity formation? also, I’ve been turning over thoughts on integrative processes in my head for th past six months. How is sexual identity formation and integration thereof, different from integration of a religious identity?

  2. James – Yes, we did discuss the Cass model of identity formation, as well as some of the other ones for lesbian identity formation, bisexual identity formation, and ethnic minority sexual identity formation.

  3. Karen – I hadn’t thought of posting that information. Some of the updates (through 2005) are available in a special issue of Journal of Psychology and Christianity; Stan Jones did that update (2000-2005). I did one for a course packet for a group I train with in Atlanta, but I don’t think that the packet is going to be made available outside of the class (although I think the other instructors may look into publishing it eventually).

    Stan Jones and I will be presenting the update to the Ex-Gays? study at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting this August in Toronto. The update is from Time 4 through Time 6 and represents approximately six years of attempted change.

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