How Your Sexual Orientation Can Change As You Age (And Why It's Totally Normal)

As we get older, there are things in our life that change beyond needs or wants. By maturing, you may realize that what you’ve previously been looking for in a partner is not necessarily what you need at this new point in your life — even if that means pursuing a person of a different gender than you would've formerly been attracted to. 

But don't worry, this is nothing to panic over! While this might come as a huge surprise if this change in sexual orientation happens to you, it’s actually not uncommon for people to realize that the gender of the person they thought they wanted to be with might change as they age.

In fact, it's absolutely normal for your sexual identity to evolve over time. You’re growing as a person. You're changing, and so are your sexual needs and wants.

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According to psychologist Dr. Jennelle in the YourTango Expert video above, sexual identity is more than just being 100 percent gay or 100 percent straight. Rather, sexual identity is dimensional and constantly changing, and there are several places you can fall along the spectrum. 

And yes, your positioning on the spectrum can change in radical ways over time.

Sexuality is not set in stone. And although as a younger person you might have leaned more one way or another, your sexual needs will fluctuate and be fluid over the course of your life. And in some cases, as you get older, they may change entirely.

In her book, Sexual Fluidity, psychology professor Lisa M. Diamond researched 80 non-heterosexual women over a 10 year period. She discovered that many of these women reported falling in love with a member of the opposite sex, despite their previous lesbian sexual orientation.

And while this change of heart may not happen for everyone, it can be an incredibly confusing time for those who do, especially when sexuality labels that fit them before — like being gay or straight — don’t seem to apply anymore. But, says Dr. Jennelle, this is completely normal, and you don’t need to focus on labels!

If the person who’s making your heart do somersaults right now isn’t someone that would have ever been on your love list before, that’s no reason not to pursue them! Instead, focus on who you’re looking at and what you need in your relationship. Take the time to determine what you need in a partner, rather than what their gender is or what your changing sexual orientation might be.

Your sexual identity has less to do with staunch rules of which gender you prefer than it does with simply falling in love with someone. Whether you identify as straight or gay, when you feel a spark with someone, there’s a reason for that spark — regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

As it turns out, when it comes to love, people really are blind. So let your heart guide you where you need to go!

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If you need help getting started on making a Big Change of Heart in your journey to happiness or any other relationship or divorce problem, reach out to Dr. Jennelle. She's here to help!