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Gender and Sexuality

Gender- and sexuality-related issues are some of the many parts of the human condition that our holistic team of psychotherapists work with here at The Holding Space. To find out more about how we approach treatment for gender- and sexuality-related issues, read below.

What are gender- and sexuality-related issues?

Gender and sexuality are two closely related, yet distinct parts of the human condition. Both are multifaceted and complex, so we will start by discussing them separately, starting with gender. First and foremost, it is important to note that gender and biological sex are not synonyms. Biological sex is determined by the combinations of chromosomes, hormones, and primary and secondary sex characteristics that an individual has. Despite popular belief, biological sex exists on a spectrum, not as a binary, which is exemplified by the existence of the intersex community. Gender, which exists on a spectrum as well, does include one’s biological sex, but it also includes their internal gender identity and their external gender expression. Gender identity is one’s psychological sense of their gender, which is based on what they understand to be the options for gender and how they do or do not align with those options.

Image by Allec Gomes

Like gender, sexuality involves various factors. The labels we use to describe sexuality (e.g., straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc.) are generally based on the relationship between one’s gender and the gender(s) they are attracted to. However, attraction itself is multifaceted—there is sexual attraction, or the drive to engage in physically intimate behaviors with someone (e.g., touching, kissing, intercourse, etc.), and romantic attraction, or the drive to engage in socially intimate behaviors with someone (e.g., flirting, dating, marriage, etc.). Some people experience both forms of attraction, while others experience only one, or none. Some people experience both forms of attraction to the same gender, while others experience both forms of attraction to all genders, and others, still, experience the different forms of attraction to different genders. Like gender, one can experience issues related to any or all aspects of their sexuality, as well as to how those around them and society at large react to their sexuality and/or aspects of it. Finally, gender and sexuality issues commonly cooccur, and they are often also impacted by the gender(s) and sexuality(ies) of one’s partner(s).

Image by Jiaxiang Li

What do gender- and sexuality-related issues look like?

 

As mentioned, gender- and sexuality-related issues can be experienced in a variety of ways. For some, they center around the impacts of negative biases such as homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, etc., from internal and/or external sources. These sources can include acute traumas, microaggressions, systemic issues, internalized beliefs, and more. For others, their gender- and sexuality-related issues center around questions or concerns about their various identities, expressions, and/or attractions. For example, someone who has always identified as heterosexual may start to realize that they experience romantic attraction to both genders; or, someone who identifies as genderqueer may be unsure about how they feel most comfortable expressing themselves. Of course, there are also those who experience cooccurring gender- and sexuality-related issues, as well as those who experience these issues in conjunction with other mental health issues. 

 

If any of these experiences sound similar to your own, you may want to consider therapy at our Los Angeles-based practice!

This is part of why gender is often discussed as a social construct—the culture and society one lives in informs the gender options they believe they have through social roles, gender norms, and more. Gender expression, on the other hand, is how one externally shows their gender; this can include, but is not limited to, how one dresses, grooms, styles their hair and/or makeup, and behaves nonverbally. The labels we use to describe gender (e.g., cisgender, transgender, gender queer, gender fluid, etc.) are generally based on the relationships between one’s biological sex and their gender identity and expression. One can experience issues related to any or all aspects of their gender, as well as to how those around them and society at large react to their gender and/or aspects of it.

Image by laura adai

Can gender- and sexuality-related issues be experienced in several ways?

 

Yes, indeed! As mentioned, our holistic experience of our own gender and sexuality is complex and individual. Beyond this, there are many factors in the relationships that we have with ourselves, our support systems, and the communities and cultures around us that impact our personalized experience of sexuality and gender.  

Why is this important? Because there is no singular method for dealing with gender- and sexuality-related issues. Instead, we can help you find ways to identify, process, and accept or take action on your unique issues and their contributing factors, both internal and external. Additionally, we can help you connect with other people and resources in your life that may be able to support you in this process, so you don’t feel like you’re going through it alone.

Image by Henry & Co.

What does therapy for gender- and sexuality-related issues look like?

 

Gender- and sexuality-related issues are complex, and yet they do not occur in a vacuum. Based on this knowledge, therapy for gender- and sexuality-related issues at The Holding Space aims not only to address the issues that are specific to you, but also to identify and understand how they may be related to your preexisting and/or cooccurring mental health concerns, as well as to the small and large systems in which you live. 

 

Here at The Holding Space, we help you identify the past and present issues that are specific to you, and we offer an individualized, holistic approach to address them. This starts with welcoming our clients into a warm and accepting environment, which we believe is necessary for creating the trust and safety needed for any therapeutic work. Once these minimum requirements for the therapeutic relationship have been established, your therapist will work with you to explore how your gender- and sexuality-related issues are both impacting and being impacted by your overall mental health and wellbeing, your relationships, and the systems in which you live. Your therapist may integrate different treatment modalities (link to our services page) into this exploration, which allows for a more holistic approach to your unique needs and goals. If you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we suggest you check out our page on LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy (link to page) to learn more about that treatment modality.

Image by Sebastian Svenson

Who does therapy for gender- and sexuality-related issues work for?

If you recognize the experiences described above within yourself, therapy for gender- and sexuality-related issues could be appropriate for you.

 

Start Therapy at The Holding Space in Los Angeles, CA Today!

Remember, if you are experiencing issues related to your gender and/or sexuality, you do not have to go through it alone. Our dedicated team of therapists are here to support you and your process. To see if The Holding Space might be a fit for you and your unique needs, follow the steps below:

  1. Reach out to schedule a free consultation. 

  2. Speak with a therapist experienced in gender- and sexuality-related issues.

  3. Begin finding space for the multitudes of yourself. 

Other Therapy Services Offered at the Holding Space in Los Angeles, CA

Our licensed and professional therapists have extensive experience in helping individuals going through gender- and sexuality-related issues. We provide depth therapy, among other forms of therapy, in Los Angeles, CA, to help you holistically approach your gender- and sexuality-related issues and overall mental health. We also specialize in other therapy services including Couples Therapy, Therapy for Sex and Intimacy, Art Therapy, and Depression treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our Los Angeles-based practice.

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