Alt Sexuality & Gender

There are many healthy ways for adults to express and enjoy their sexuality and gender.  Most people are familiar with the term LGBTQIA, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning,  Inter-sexed and Asexual.  Other minorities include those who enjoy spicy sex (BDSM) or consensual non-monogamy (CNM).   Dr. McConnell has served people in these communities for many years:

Gender and sexual orientation minorities continue to be discriminated against. Their members are often the target of violence or legal repression.  Even some members of the mental health professions continue to hold the discredited view that variations in gender or sexual orientation are perversions or disorders.

Persons of alt-gender and/or alt-sexual orientation who accept themselves are fully capable of living their lives to the same full measure as people of  more typical orientations. Their lives may be richly fulfilling and include deep loving intimacy with long-term partners.  This is the conclusion of substantial research, study and clinical observation. The official position of all major mental health associations is that the LGBT spectrum is a normal variation of sexuality and gender:  

  • The American Psychiatric Association
  • The American Psychological Association
  • The Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
  • The Association of Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • The American Pediatric Association
  • The American Nurses Assocation

These and many additional professional associations have position papers supporting the view  that most variations of sexual orientation and gender identity are something to respect, support and protect.  They do not view these variations as mental disorders that need to be changed or “fixed.”  Indeed the opposite is often true.  These associations have papers calling for non-discrimination against sexual and gender minorities.

Minority members have all experienced discrimination and stigmatization,  and this is  often internalized as a sense of dissatisfaction, guilt, or shame.   Resolving these negative attitudes toward the self then becomes one focus of treatment.  For some, working to change the system of discrimination may become an important part of healing and a focus in treatment.  For all minorities the personal is often the political, and the political is often personal.

Another frequent focus of treatment is how the psychological – and sometimes physical – violence of discrimination creates “attachment trauma.”  All attachment trauma results in difficulties in forming intimate bonds.   It seems most of us come into adulthood with the belief that love will somehow be easier for us than what we saw between our parents,  that “our love” will work out because we feel so deeply in love with each other, and that 50% divorce rate for marriage is all about  other couples.  For people of all genders and sexual orientations it is easy to under-estimate the work we must do to make loving intimacy work.

 At the same time there are clearly some sexual fantasies which are best not to act on,  and behaviors which are best not to engage in.  Examples are breaking promises or agreements about sex,  obsessive use of pornography, or sex with non-consenting partners.  It is easiest to simply think of these as Unwanted Sexual Behaviors.  These behaviors are often the focus of treatment. 

You deserve to work with a health care professional who is knowledgeable, experienced, compassionate, respectful, and affirmative of your sexuality and gender.    

Dr. McConnell is a member of:

  • The Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Sexuality (CARAS)
  •  Leather Leadership Conference
  • The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)

He is on the referral database of:

  • The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)
  • Kink-Friendly Therapy
  • San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.

Resources for Alternative Sexuality and Gender