Are You Seeking Peace and Clarity About Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and/or Expression?
Are you feeling lost, confused and frustrated in the midst of questioning your sexual orientation, desires and/or behavior? Perhaps the gender you were assigned at birth has you feeling trapped, misaligned and uncomfortable in your body and life. It may be that you have decided to claim your true gender or sexual identity, but a partner, friends, family or coworkers don’t seem to understand or accept you. Do you experience disempowering discrimination or microagressions because of your gender identity or sexual orientation, and wish you were able to attain the necessary tools to cope with and safely express your feelings? Maybe you’re questioning your sexual orientation because you’ve unexpectedly fallen in love, and the belief that your sexual orientation must be restricted has become undeniably limiting. Regardless of the particular questions you’re navigating, you may desperately crave the ability to openly express who you are.
Struggling with emotions and judgments about your sexual orientation, sexual identity, expression, exploration, cross-dressing and gender identity can be confusing, disheartening, overwhelming and isolating experiences. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone’s unique process of discovering and owning their sexual orientation and gender identity, because these issues are widely misunderstood, many non-heteronormative or queer folks experience low self-esteem, heavy grief, sadness, anxiety and isolation. You may experience or fear hostility every time you leave the house, leading to all-consuming stressors that prevent you from embracing your full potential.
“Normal” Sexuality And Gender Binaries Are Cultural Myths
From a young age, we learn what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” and comply with that cultural script. These ideas are so ingrained that it’s hard to navigate our world without adopting one of these established identities. But, the truth is these binaries are extremely limiting and do not represent the realities of many. Human sexuality and gender are so complex that, for most, they are impossible to define in fixed terms. Although now we have a variety of diverse labels beyond LGBTQ (e.g sexually fluid, gender fluid, intersex, heteroflexible, pansexual, polyamorous, gender non-binary and gender non-conforming), the truth is that everyone’s sexuality and gender identity is unique. While some people have a fixed sexuality over the course of their lives, most of us do not. This has been especially evident since the late 1940s, when Alfred Kinsey’s “Kinsey Scale” showed that both men and women, in general, are not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual.
Since then, further research has shown that not only is it likely that your sexuality falls along a spectrum (and can shift throughout your life), there is also no definite correlation between the type of sex you have and the gender of the people you find attractive. In other words, there is no one like you. No two heterosexual men are alike in their sexualities, identities, behaviors or attractions, for example. And that’s the good news. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you or anyone’s unique gender identity, sexual orientation and expression. Through counseling with a qualified and compassionate sex therapist, you can safely explore your gender and/or sexual expression, feel more comfortable in your own body and figure out who you are and what you want.
Gender Identity Counseling & Sexual Orientation Counseling Can Help You Claim & Express Your True Self
Even though you may feel overwhelmed right now, transitioning into the life you want is an incredibly positive opportunity. Once you realize there are many options waiting for you, it’s difficult not to move forward. Counseling offers a sacred, accepting space for you to decide what you truly want and to acquire the guidance and tools needed to transform your life. If you’ve come to the realization that you feel incongruent in your body and are transgender, you are in love with your best same-sex friend, you are not embodying your true sexual identity, or are not living up to your full sexual potential, transgender therapy and sexual orientation counseling can help.
Throughout sessions, you can openly share conflicts and concerns in an encouraging and safe environment, and together we can clarify any hindering thoughts or beliefs that may be holding you back. If you’ve experienced trauma in the past (which is very common for non-hetero identifying folks), we can process and resolve old wounds and develop positive strategies that allow you to gain the awareness needed to build the thriving future you are meant to have. In our customized work together, I may use a variety of embodied and mindfulness-based practices, including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT draws on various theories of alternative medicine, including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) to help regulate and calm the nervous system while changing limiting beliefs. I also incorporate Gestalt practices and the 4-D Wheel model to engage your full narrative of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences. These techniques can be incredibly empowering as you explore your identity and work toward affirmation, community building and other resources.
I am deeply passionate about working with issues concerning gender identity, sexual orientation and expression, as they represent my areas of expertise as well as my life’s work. I’m currently a Doctoral student in the Human Sexuality Ph.D. program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. I know, personally, professionally and academically how complicated and important these issues really are. And with expert guidance and support, it’s possible to navigate lifestyle transformations, adopt a new pronoun and become unashamed of your uniqueness. No matter your age, relational status or family dynamic, it’s possible to harness your inherent strength and live a more open, expressive and vibrant life.
You may still have questions or concerns about the process…
I’m afraid that coming out will jeopardize my relationships, career and life as I know it.
Rejection by some may be inevitable, but it’s possible to learn effective, empowering methods to work with judgment and get in touch with your own values and self-worth. Coming out is an exciting time. It means that you are no longer held captive by past limiting beliefs, and are able to connect with others in more authentic and satisfying ways. In sexual identity counseling, we can work through difficult emotions, fears and scenarios step-by-step. The goal is to gain self-acceptance while being unapologetically yourself in all aspects of your life.
I’ve identified as a heterosexual woman until I fell in love with my female friend. Does that mean I’m a lesbian?
Maybe. Maybe not. Developing romantic feelings for someone of your same gender does not automatically forfeit your previous sexuality. The labels we have to define sexuality are, in truth, too tiny to encapsulate the vast complexity of human sexuality. How you choose to identify (or not identify) is completely up to you. I support and encourage your unique sexual orientation and expression.
I’ve heard sex therapy can cost a lot of money.
If you are worried about the cost, I can present a solution-focused therapy regiment that works within your budget. Many people experience dramatic, positive changes in only a few sessions, and in those sessions, I can provide you with effective tools that address your needs as efficiently as possible. I can also help you build community by recommending the appropriate gay support groups, sexual trauma support and transgender support. This is an exciting, transformative time in your life, and with some guidance, it is possible to feel accepted, loved and whole.
Love Who You Are: Claim Your Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Expression
If you’re struggling with sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity development or are in need of LGBTQ support in Boulder, CO, I invite you to schedule a free 20-minute consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about sex therapy or my practice.