What does pansexual mean, and how is it different from bisexual and polysexual?
Pansexuality falls within the scope of the “bisexuality+” category, which means that it is one of many identities in which a person is attracted to more than one gender. But how exactly do we define pansexuality, and how is it different from bisexuality or polysexuality? Let’s take a moment to celebrate pansexuals…
What does “pansexual” mean?
Each pansexual’s understanding of sexuality is personal, but in general, it means that they are not limited by their sex or gender when it comes to who they are attracted to.
The word comes from the Greek word “pan”, which means “all”. But this does not mean that pansexuals are attracted to everyone, just as heterosexual women are not attracted to all men. It simply means that the people they date can identify with anywhere on the LGBT+ spectrum.
This includes people who have some gender fluidity and those who do not identify with any gender at all (agender).
In fact, some pansexuals describe themselves as “gender blind,” meaning that gender plays no role in their sexuality; they are attracted solely to a person’s energy rather than other attributes.
What is the difference between pansexual and bisexual?
Good question! Sometimes pansexuality is used as a synonym for bisexuality, but they are subtly different.
Bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, while pansexual means being attracted to all genders. Both orientations are valid in their own right and it is up to the individual to decide which one is best for them.
Some people think that bisexuals erase non-binary people or impose a rigid gender binary, because they think that the word bisexual implies that there are only two genders. We are happy to report that this is not the case!
The vast majority of bisexual people love and support the non-binary community, and many non-binary people are themselves bisexual.
The reality is that bi people simply have the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.
What is the difference between pansexual and polysexual?
The word polysexual comes from the Greek prefix “poly” meaning “many,” and the term has been around since the 1920s or 30s, if not earlier.
There is some overlap between pansexual and polysexual, as both appear under the term Bisexual+. The main difference is that a person who identifies as polysexual is not necessarily attracted to all genders, but to several.
A good analogy to describe this is how you feel about your favorite colors: a pansexual person may like all the colors of the rainbow, while a polysexual person may say they like all the colors except blue and green.
But more often than not, people who identify as polysexual tend to completely ignore gender binaries, especially when it comes to who they are and who they are not attracted to.
It should be noted that polysexuality also has nothing to do with polyamory, which is a consensual relationship style, not a sexuality.
Who are the pansexual celebrities?
Pansexuality has been around as long as humans have, but the term is becoming more common as more and more celebrities publicly identify as pansexual.
In addition to society’s growing openness to sexual minorities, many public figures are coming out as pansexual. These include Janelle Moane, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delavigne, Angel Haze, Jazz Jennings, Brendan Urie, Yungblud, Nico Totorella, Courtney Act, Bella Thorne, Joe Lycett, Tess Holiday, Christine and the Queens, and closer to home, former OD Bali spokesperson and activist Jessica Nadeau.
If you feel like sexuality has been in the news more in recent years, you’re not wrong.
When is Pansexual Pride Day?
Pansexual and Pan-Romantic Pride Day falls on May 24th. It’s a day to celebrate the pansexual community and educate others about what it means.