Fortunately, we are more and more aware of sexual identity, it cannot be reduced to homogeneous fields, but rather there is a very diverse spectrum. In this sense, humans have always tried to categorize and label how we feel and act, and this is why more and more labels try to define what an individual is like .

Current models of society and education are based on gender stereotypes that are unable to help understand the basic concepts of sexual diversity . That is why it is necessary to understand that there is no single universal way of living, since sexuality goes beyond sexual orientation or one’s own sex and there is a very diverse field that concerns the identity of the individual beyond the sexual attraction that feel for others as well as the sex you were born with.

Identity and sexual identity

Identity is the way one thinks and understands oneself , being the way we see ourselves and feel. Identity is defined by concepts that make the difference between one individual or another. It involves both the personal and the social terrain , and it is a concept that nowadays does not stop being redefined.

In these terms, sexual identity is a key concept, not for society to understand us, but to understand ourselves. This perception is not static and can change over time . Although some experts conceive that our sexual identity is formed in the first years of life, the truth is that more and more people are not defined between some categories and others, which causes them to fluctuate over time .

Broadly speaking, it could be said that within the term sexual identity we can introduce others that influence it, such as biological sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression.

biological sex

The biological sex is genetic condition where people are born with a sexual characteristics male, female or combined (intersex). This includes not only the internal and external sex organs, but also the chromosomes and hormones. We must bear in mind that biological sex does not determine our sexual identity or our sexual orientation , it is simply a condition with which we were born that luckily can currently be modified.

In recent times there is a debate in the scientific field about the duality of the female (XX) and male (XY) genders, due to the chromosomal discrepancies that exist: XXX, XXY, XYY and XO. Thus, males are also born with the XX pattern known as La Chapelle syndrome, and women with the XY known as Swyer’s syndrome. All this implies that biological sex cannot really be reduced only to women and men, since there is a much broader spectrum .

In fact, when a baby was born with undefined sexual characteristics, this caused the parents to choose the gender and to undergo an operation for that baby. Currently this practice is becoming obsolete, since babies with this condition may have psychological problems in the future because they do not feel comfortable with their biological sex .

Gender and gender identity

It may seem that these two terms are synonymous, but this is not the case, so they must be differentiated to avoid confusion .

Gender refers to the socially constructed roles and the attributes and behaviors that a person has, which are associated with the male or female role by society . This is associated with femininity and masculinity , and although each time it is tried to diminish this; If the biological sex does not match the gender shown, some people often resort to terms used disparagingly such as ‘effeminate’ or ‘macho’.

Gender identity for its part is the feeling of belonging to the male or female gender or both. That is, to feel like a man or a woman or both depending on the moment of that person’s life.

According to this, there are different labels depending on the gender identity with which each person feels identified.

  • Transsexual : In some people, biological sex does not coincide with a person’s gender identity. This is extremely painful , as people who feel it are trapped in a body that they do not recognize as their own . It must be made very clear that feeling this is not a psychological problem as it was thought a few years ago. To correct it, if the person wishes, they can modify it by undergoing a transition process where sexual characteristics are modified at the genital and hormonal level, and can end with a change of sex.
  • Transgender : These are people who identify with the opposite biological sex but have not undergone a sex change .

Gender expression

It is because in the society in which we live, there are some attributes that are represented more with one gender than with another. Gender expression is the way in which people externally express gender . It includes not only clothing, but also behavior.

On the other hand, it is not necessary to exclude people of fluid gender from this list, commonly called ‘androgynous’. These people are the ones who fluctuate between one gender or another depending on the moment and how they feel themselves, and they are usually considered transgender.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation is the feeling of physical or romantic attraction for people based on their biological sex. In this sense, there are three main categories that are the most common .

  • Heterosexuality : Being attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Homosexuality : Being attracted to people of the same sex.
  • Bisexuality : Feeling attracted to both sexes.

Likewise, it should not be forgotten that there are individuals who feel asexual , that is, they do not have any interest in either sex.

There is currently a great debate with pansexuality and bisexuality . The pan – sexuality is supposed to be physical attraction to men and women, but not depending on sex but by something deeper as the personality of the people themselves are considered “gender blind”. However, many consider that the term ‘pansexual’ should not exist, since they think that it is the same as bisexual. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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