LUGS, BUGS, and Other Ways of Tweaking Teen

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Understanding the OBI:
Sexual Orientation, Behavior,
and Identity
Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW
Answer Executive Director
2011
What is “Sexual Orientation”?
“The gender(s) of the
people to whom we are
attracted, physically and
romantically”
What is “Sexual Orientation”?
“The gender(s) of the people to whom we are attracted,
physically and romantically.”
Two things of note:

Includes more than one gender

Includes romantic love: can know one’s orientation
without necessarily doing something sexual with
another person
Current Categories for Sexual
Orientation
Heterosexual

Queer

Lesbian or Gay

Others???

Bisexual

Understanding Bisexuality

What is often said about bisexual people?
Are confused
 Want the best of both worlds
 Are greedy
 Always have a date on a Saturday night
 Can’t make up their minds
 Have to date someone male and someone
female at the same time
 Are really gay, just don’t want to admit it

Bisexual:
A person for whom, when it
comes to sexual attraction,
gender is not necessarily
the defining factor
For Example…

A heterosexual man walks into a room full of people
seeking a partner: Rules out men instantly

A heterosexual woman walks into a room full of
people seeking a partner: Rules out women
instantly

Bisexual person walks into a room full of people
seeking a partner: Doesn’t rule out anyone instantly
based on gender
This is important because…

Many people identify as bisexual before
accepting being gay/lesbian.

Bisexuality most misunderstood – and least
often mentioned – orientation.

Bisexual youth often underestimate HIV/STD
risk because have “one foot in”
heterosexuality.
And you may ask yourself… well,
how did I get here?
Kinsey and the Kinsey Scale…
|---------|----------|-----------|----------|------------|-----------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 = Exclusively Heterosexual
6 = Exclusively Lesbian or Gay
3 = Bisexual
What Kinsey Found Was…
Most people were:
|---------|--------|---------|----------|---------|-----------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
HERE
or
HERE
How We Use This Info Today…
|---------|----------|---------|---------|----------|----------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Orientation = to whom are we attracted?
Behavior = with whom are we engaging in
sexual acts?
Identity = what do we call ourselves?
|----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|----------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
O
B
I



A woman who is attracted (orientation) exclusively to
men: 0
Will likely be sexual (behavior) only with men: 0
Will likely call herself (identity) heterosexual: 0
But it’s not always that
clear cut…
Example One

Woman who has always identified as lesbian
– only ever been attracted to women, only
ever been sexual with women; Kinsey 6.

A few years ago, met, fell in love with, and
married a man with whom she is
monogamous.

Where are her O, B and I?
Mapping Example One
|---------|---------|--------|---------|--------|------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
O
B



Attracted primarily to this ONE man: Very close to 6
She is currently only sexual with this one man: 0
What does she call herself?
Trick Question!
When it comes to identity
(what one calls oneself)
we have to ASK the person.
Is an INSIDE  OUT process
Mapping Example One
|----------|--------|--------|----------|--------|--------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
O
B
I
She identifies as “lesbian”
(We asked!)
Example Two

Teen male who has always identified as
heterosexual and has always been only with
girls. Clear Kinsey 0.

Was arrested and placed into juvenile
detention for two years, where he had sexual
relationships with several males.

Where are his O, B and I?
Remember – it’s a trick
question!
We have to ask him.
But let’s map it out on the
Kinsey Scale…
Mapping Example Two
|---------|---------|--------|---------|--------|----------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
O
B



Don’t know whether attracted to men – but if asked?
Is currently sexual only with guys -- circumstantial: 6
What does he call himself? (Ask him!)
Example Three:
“The Down Low”

Adult male who has a female partner/spouse.
Identifies as heterosexual.

When he goes to play card with his male
friends, two of the guys, including him, will
disappear into bedroom and have sex.

Where are his O, B and I?
Remember – it’s a trick
question!
We have to ask him.
But let’s map it out on the
Kinsey Scale…
Mapping Example Three
|---------|---------|--------|---------|---------|--------|
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
O
B



His “O” is hard to graph: could be anywhere
Is currently sexual with several guys, one woman: B?
What does he call himself? (Ask him!)
Remember…

Identity trumps Behavior and
Orientation

Is an inside  out process, NOT
outside  in

What you do sexually does not
necessarily define who you are
Public Health Implications

Closeted identity leads to unsafe/
closeted behaviors: Safer sex issues

Double standard: Gender

Screening through the OBI: BEHAVIOR
is focus

National Sexuality Education
Training Initiative:
In-person/Online

National sex ed resources

http://answer.rutgers.edu/

National Teen-to-Teen
Sexuality Education
Initiative

www.sexetc.org
For More Information about
LGBTQ Youth:

Answer/Sex, Etc.:

Advocates for Youth: www.youthresource.com

Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education
Network: www.glsen.org

ACT for Youth, Growing Up Transgender:
www.sexetc.org/lgbtq
http://www.actforyouth.net/publications/results.cfm?t=Growing%2
0Up%20Transgender
ACT for Youth Center of Excellence
The ACT for Youth Center of Excellence connects positive
youth development resources and research to practice in
New York State and beyond. The Center provides:

Support for youth-serving programs funded by the New
York State Department of Health.

Youth Development resources: www.actforyouth.net,
publications, narrated presentations, and the e-letter
ACT for Youth Update. Subscribe at
http://www.actforyouth.net/publications/update.cfm

A home base for the ACT Youth Network. Visit the
network at www.nysyouth.net
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