Time to unravel those pansexual myths

Pansexuality is the same as bisexuality? They fancy everyone? Is it just a word to excuse sexual confusion and greed?

Taking the latter question first. Pan is, indeed, the Greek prefix for ‘all’. That doesn’t mean pansexuals are greedy. It simply means that they are capable of being attracted to all genders. Pansexuality is being attracted to people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.

So, pansexuals do fancy everyone?

Nope! For one, that would be exhausting. We don’t assume that straight men fancy each and every woman. Likewise, just because pansexuals are capable of being attracted to anyone, it doesn’t mean they fancy everyone. Most people have physical and emotional preferences when it comes to their crushes; pansexuals do too.

But doesn’t that mean pansexuality is the same as bisexuality?

Again, negative! They overlap, but they’re not the same orientation. Where bisexuality is attraction to both males and females, pansexuality is attraction to people regardless of where they are on the gender spectrum.That includes men, women, trans, intersex, queer, third-gender, androgynous people, as well as the various other sexual/gender identities. That’s where the ‘all’ comes in. Recognising the varying genders and sexualities is a crucial part of pansexuality. It acknowledges that people don’t always fit into the neat, binary boxes of male or female.

As we increasingly recognise that gender can be more than male and female, we also want sexual orientations that accommodate that. Pansexuality does that. It allows for openness and fluidity in people’s genders and sexual orientations. It can have slightly different meanings for different people. Some identify with pansexuality because it emphasises parts of a person, such as personality, that are separate from appearance.

It’s okay if your meaning of pansexual doesn’t quite match someone else’s. Your sexual identity is yours! It’s also okay to ask someone what they mean when they say they’re pansexual. Just remember to be respectful, and avoid those pesky myths!

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