Pansexuality – often confused with bisexuality, pansexual individuals are defined by Urban Dictionary as “one who can love sexuality in many forms. Like bisexuality, but even more fluid, a pansexual person can love not only the traditional male and female genders, but also transgendered, androgynous, and gender fluid people.” People who identify themselves pansexual also use the terms “omnisexual” and “anthrosexual” (datingtips.com).
Now, what really is the difference between pansexuality and bisexuality?
Pan means “all” and bi means “two”. Using these prefixed we can define bisexuals as individuals who are attracted to two specific genders (typically male and female), while pansexuals are individuals who are attracted to many genders. Now, some might be wondering, what are these other genders?
Pansexuals may be attracted males, females, transgender individuals, intersex individuals, and other genders that go outside of the gender binary of male and female. Note that just because someone identifies as pansexual, they may not be attracted to all of the above mentioned gender identities, it is really individual preference.
Let’s go more in depth with the above mentioned concepts.
The male-female binary
The traditional mainstream society accepts and promotes concept of binary gender – that is, we can all be categorized strictly as being either male or female. The dominant system forces into sexual and societal roles based on this binary.
As a concept, it suggests that society is composed of only two types of people: male and female (specifically, straight men and straight women). Thus those who don’t fall within the bounds of this concept are considered “outsiders.” The reality is, many people don’t fall into the distinct male-female binary. This leads to the discourse on homosexuality, bisexuality, transexuality, transgenderism, queer, and pansexuality.
If you’ve ever been actively involved in the LGBT community, chances are you already know who the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, and transexuals are. But there are also those people who defy biological and social standard delineations of what makes a gay a gay, a lesbian a lesbian, or bisexual a bisexual.
They are the pansexuals who categorically reject the system of labelling. They acknowledge that the gender spectrum does not only include heterosexuals, gays, and bisexuals but also transexuals, transgendered, intersexed, androgynous, andgenderqueer.
Pansexuals can be in long-term heterosexual or homosexual relationships. Pansexuality, however, may also lead to a kind of relationship between people who have nonstandard sexuality. For example, a born-male pansexual might be in a relationship with a female-to-male transexual.
Pansexuality is not…
Pansexuality is not bisexuality. Although bisexuality is a subset of pansexuality, they differ in that the latter acknowledges the potential for sexual attraction, aesthetic appreciation, or romantic love for not only two sexes. Pansexuals also have the desire to have sex, appreciate, and love those in the further human gender spectrum.
While the Latin prefix “pan-” means “all”, pansexuality only applies to human gender and it doesn’t imply attraction to all people. The term also doesn’t mean that all pansexuals are promiscuous or polyamorous.
Negative mainstream understanding has placed pansexuality alongside fetishes or paraphilias. It must be emhasized that pansexuality does not signify acceptance of paraphilias, as these are totally separate socio-sexual issues.
So, to conclude, as a group on Facebook puts it:
Pansexual: Liking/loving someone for who they are and not what they are. The ability to love someone regardless of gender. Universal love.