A sexual identity crisis occurs when a person of one sex strongly identifies with people of the other sex. In this sense, a person suffering from a sexual identity crisis might associate with people of the opposite sex so strongly that the person believes himself to be trapped in the wrong body.
This sense of feeling "trapped" causes the person to feel serious discomfort and unhappiness with his or her own gender. For a person experiencing a severe sexual identity crisis, this can even lead to a sex-change operation.
People dealing with a sexual identity disorder often experience difficulty in work, school, and other social settings. A person experiencing a true sexual identity crisis is not the same as a person who experiments with transvestism because people who engage in this sort of activity generally do so for sexual gratification, not out of a need to escape from their own gender.
Males dealing with a sexual identity disorder do, however, often prefer to wear girls' clothes. As children, they tend to avoid competitive sports and are not interested in rough housing. Instead, they choose to play games with girls and choose girls as their playmates. In fact, they often prefer playing a female role in games, such as playing the mother or the princess. Males dealing with a sexual identity crisis also often pretend to not have a penis. This is because they want to have their penis removed and replaced with a vagina.
Females suffering from a sexual identity crisis, however, prefer wearing boys' clothes. As children, they prefer playing with boys and they enjoy participating in competitive contact sports and rough housing. They also wish they could grow a penis and they are very upset at the thought of growing breasts or starting menstruation. Girls suffering from a sexual identity crisis hope to become men when they grow up.
As adults, people coping with a sexual identity disorder often live their lives as the opposite sex. They are generally uncomfortable living as a member of their own gender. Therefore, they cross-dress and prefer to be seen publicly as the opposite sex.
Many men suffering from a sexual identity crisis shave or pluck their body hair. In addition, many take hormones in an attempt to grow breasts. Similarly, women coping with a sexual identity crisis often try to hide their breasts, even binding them with tape or other objects in an attempt to hold them closer to the chest.
More males tend to suffer from sexual identity crisis than females. But, either way, the signs of a person suffering from a sexual identity crisis are usually present during early childhood. In fact, most people coping with a sexual identity crisis are aware of their preference for being a member of the opposite sex by the time they reach adolescence.
A person coping with a sexual identity crisis can receive assistance from a mental health professional. Some physical illnesses can mimic or contribute to a sexual identity crisis, but, for the most part, it is simply a part of the psychological makeup of the person.