Sexual identity is how one thinks of oneself in terms of whom one is romantically or sexually attracted to.[1] Sexual identity may also refer to sexual orientation identity, which is when people identify or dis-identify with a sexual orientation or choose not to identify with a sexual orientation.[2] Sexual identity and sexual behavior are closely related to sexual orientation, but they are distinguished, with identity referring to an individual's conception of themselves, behavior referring to actual sexual acts performed by the individual, and sexual orientation referring to romantic or sexual attractions toward the opposite sex, the same sex, both sexes, or having no attractions.[1]

Historical models of sexual identity have tended to view its formation as a process undergone only by sexual minorities, while more contemporary models view the process as far more universal and attempt to present sexual identity within the larger scope of other major identity theories and processes.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedReiter L (1989). pp. 138–50.[1]
  2. Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedAppropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation pp. 63, 86. American Psychological Association (2009). Retrieved on February 3, 2015. “Sexual orientation identity—not sexual orientation—appears to change via psychotherapy, support groups, and life events.”
  3. Dillon, F. R., Worthington, R. L., & Moradi, B. (2011). Sexual identity as a universal process In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds), Handbook of identity theory and research (Vols 1 and 2), (pp.649-670). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media

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