The positive aspects of a bisexual self-identification

Sharon Scales Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, David Pascale-Hague, La Wanda E. McCants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bisexual clients (Page, 2007) and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB)-affirmative therapists (Godfrey, Haddock, Fisher, & Lund, 2006) agree that facilitating a positive identity is one of the most important therapeutic tasks. However, the task of achieving a positive identity may be particularly challenging for bisexual-identified individuals (Rust, 2002). To assist in this effort, the authors conducted an online survey that asked bisexual-identified individuals to respond to an open-ended question about the positive aspects of bisexual identity. Findings from an international sample of 157 adult participants (age 18-69; 67% female; 25% Canadian; 19% British; 51% American; 5% other) revealed 11 positive identity aspects: freedom from social labels, honesty and authenticity, having a unique perspective, increased levels of insight and awareness, freedom to love without regard for sex/gender, freedom to explore relationships, freedom of sexual expression, acceptance of diversity, belonging to a community, understanding privilege and oppression and becoming an advocate/activist. Each of these positive aspects is illustrated with quotes from participants. The authors offer suggestions for incorporating these findings in bisexual-affirmative counselling and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Bisexual
  • Counselling
  • Positive psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sexual identity
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

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