Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Degree

Master of Science in Counseling

Department

Counseling, Leadership and Special Education

Committee Chair

Angela Anderson

Keywords

sexual orientation, sexual fluidity, unlabeled, three-category model, mostly heterosexual, mostly homosexual, same-sex sexuality, sexual identity, women

Subject Categories

Counseling

Abstract

This qualitative study increases our understanding of sexual orientation in women aged 18 and older whose experiences do not fit within the three-category (heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual) model of sexual orientation. Through in-depth interviewing, this study explored the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of five women who described their sexual orientation as 'unlabeled', 'mostly heterosexual', and/or reported experiencing sexual fluidity. The results suggest that gender is not always the determining factor in an individual's experience of attraction and that the three-category model is an oversimplification of the complexity inherent in sexual orientation. The lived experience of the women in this study calls for the development of a more inclusive model of sexual orientation. Findings in this and other studies expanding on our awareness of sexual fluidity can be used to improve sexuality education in schools, to train counselors and psychologists effectively to understand and validate the experiences of clients, to promote healthy conversation about sexuality as an aspect of identity, and to reduce the stigma surrounding same-sex attraction in the United States.

Copyright

© Julie C. Wrocklage

Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons

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