I have heard this joke about a million times, mainly from people who are uncomfortable with a sexuality that is not something they recognize, so just to be clear:
No, I am not sexually attracted to cooking pans.
Definitions of Pansexuality
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about some of the main definitions of pansexuality. Yes, definitions, because there is more than one.
Traditionally, the latin root “pan-” means all, so the easy to explain definition is that pansexual people are attracted to all genders, and some people take this understandable definition and carry on their way, and that is totally okay.
The other common definition of pansexuality is being sexually attracted to someone regardless of their gender, sometimes referred to as being genderblind. These people, myself included, see all people as just people, usually finding attraction in personality or some kind of physical attraction not related to gender.
Confused yet? That’s alright, lots of people are.
So how is this different than bisexuality? To some people it’s not, which to pansexuals can often make them feel excluded from the LGBT+ community. Some bisexuals also see themselves as being sexually attracted to all genders, and that’s cool.
Johanna Simonis, a young woman from France, says:
I don’t mind using the word bi to make it easier to some people. But I see bi more as being attracted both by femininity and masculinity.
Some bisexuals really are only attracted to two genders, or like a specific type in each gender that is different than what they like in the other gender. GayWrites on YouTube explains it very well, and shows us that there are many reasons why people identify as either one, with a common one being that “pansexuality is harder to explain to people.” It really sucks that people (including myself) have to adapt their identity to make other people’s lives easier.
I personally find it easier to just identify as queer if I think that explaining pansexuality is going be difficult or be received as something it is not. Some people think that pansexual people are slutty, cheaters, easy, etc. This isn’t true. We don’t think it’s funny when you try to talk us into a threesome with you and your girlfriend (though if that’s what you want, who am I to stop you), you can’t turn us straight, and many of these things get applied to the bisexual community as well.
We are just like you, we just may not date the same gender you do, or any gender at all, and that’s okay. If you don’t know someone’s sexuality, it’s okay to ask. Most people are happy to explain.
A final note: the cover image for this article is the pansexual pride flag, which I will be waving proudly in a few weeks at my local pride parade. Here’s a brief breakdown of what it means: the blue stripe represents people who identify as male, the pink represents people who identify as female and the yellow represents non-binary attraction.
To all the bisexuals out there, I love you. To all the pansexuals out there, I love you too. You are all welcome to be my friends.
How do you define pansexuality? Are there other things I should have covered in this article? Let me know in the comments.