Can being a victim of sexual assault or having bad sexual experiences change our sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is not the result of experiences, but a sexual and romantic attraction that cannot be chosen or changed. It has been proven that there is no connection between trauma and sexual orientation. Some people hadn’t questioned their sexual orientation before experiencing a situation of abuse, while others already knew they were LGBTQ+. In all cases, sexual assault or lack of satisfaction can have an impact on how a person lives their intimacy but it won’t change who they are attracted to.

It is true that the LGBTQ+ population is strongly affected by sexual abuse. In fact, people who later in life identify as LGBTQ+ are more at risk of sexual abuse during childhood. It is also the case for adults, especially bisexual and transgender women. On the other hand, it is not the sexual abuse that caused their sexual orientation, but rather belonging to the LGBTQ+ community that brought problems like stigma and isolation which made them, as children and as adults, more vulnerable to this type of abuse.

Sources:

LGBTQ Youth and Sexual Abuse: Information for Mental Health Professionals. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The Problem with the Belief that Child Sexual Abuse Causes Homosexuality / Bisexuality. PFLAG Atlanta, 2011.

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