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What Is Pansexual? The Full Guide to Everything You MUST Know

There are many sexualities. It is no longer gay, straight, and bi. One currently more often in the mainstream media is pansexuality. But, what is pansexual?

what is pansexual

Are you confused by the term, pansexual? Do you know what is pansexual? Or do you just nod along when someone asks you about pansexuality because you know what it “probably” means but you aren’t sure? Well, not anymore, because here’s everything you’ll need to know about pansexuality, how it works, differences between pansexuality and bisexuality, and also, if you may be a pansexual yourself!

Read on, and you’ll know everything about it in no time.

What is pansexual?

What is pansexual? Essentially, pansexuality is an attraction regardless of gender identity. In fact, the prefix “pan” is Greek for all. This means that someone who identifies as pansexual is attracted to any and all gender identities. These include cisgender, transgender, agender, and gender nonconforming individuals.

That doesn’t mean they are attracted to every person they meet. It means what attracts them to someone doesn’t have to do with their gender identity. It is a limitless sexuality that attracts people to people. There isn’t a limit on man or woman or both. 

It sounds simple enough, right? Well, it isn’t that simple to everyone.

First, before you read on, get familiar with all the different orientations and sexualities with this feature on the list of sexualities and what you need to know about each orientation.

Pansexual vs bisexual

Although pansexuality and bisexuality are often confused, they are not the same. Even within the LGBTQ+ community, the terms aren’t exactly precise.

Pansexuality came about at a time when gender identities were more understood. It is a more inclusive sexuality that recognizes all. Some want this to replace bisexual as a label. However, they aren’t exactly interchangeable. People claim that bisexuality, being attracted to both men and women, claims a gender binary which excludes transgender and gender nonconforming people. 

But, for many people who identify as bisexual, that is simply not the case. Bi, meaning two, isn’t exclusive to just cisgender men and women (cisgender: your chosen gender and birth gender is the same). For many who are bisexual, it means two or more. It can also mean attraction to your own gender and any different from your own.

[Read: The different types of gender and why you really should understand them]

I know this can seem confusing, but what’s important is what it means to the person identifying as such. For some, bisexuality may be limited to a gender binary. For others, that isn’t the case. This is why many people don’t even like the ideas of a label. They seem confusing and limiting. In reality, gender and sexuality can both be incredibly fluid. 

This is what is considered by many to be the sexuality spectrum. Rather than gay and straight, there is a spectrum that many people identify on. This spectrum includes all sexualities from demisexual to asexual and so much more. But this is also fluid. You can shift on the spectrum or just identify as being on the spectrum without an actual label. 

With all of this, pansexual seems to be the most open sexuality. It is described with inclusion and essentially without limits. 

Want to know more about the real differences? Read this feature on Pansexual vs Bisexual and the real ways to tell the difference.

What to know about pansexuality

Like all sexualities, there is a lot of misinformation around what is pansexuality. Before assuming anything, here are some myths, ignorances, and facts that exist about pansexuality.

1. It is real

The idea that a sexual identity could be nonexistent or not real, is simply ignorance at its worst. If someone identifies a certain way, it is real. 

2. It is more common than you think

Although pansexuality seems to be more common in younger generations like millennials, it doesn’t mean it is a new thing. It only seems that way because gender identity was not as openly discussed before. For this reason, some people who once identified as bisexual have changed to pansexual. [Read: Understanding what non-binary mean and how it can change. your life]

3. It is not the same as polyamory

Polyamory is the idea of being in love or involved with more than one person at the same time. Although someone who is pansexual can also be polyamorous, pansexuality does not mean you have to be with more than one person. It simply means who you’re attracted to is defined by their gender.

4. It does not mean promiscuous

This is a poor stereotype for pansexuals and bisexuals. Although there is nothing wrong with promiscuity, just because someone’s attraction isn’t limited to a specific gender doesn’t mean they are attracted to everyone or hook up with everyone. Just as being gay or straight doesn’t mean you like every one of the gender you like. It simply means the pool to choose from is, maybe, bigger.

5. It’s not just about sex

Pansexuality is not solely about sex or physical attraction. The pansexual enjoy romantic and committed relationship just as much as any other sexuality.

[Read: Romantic orientation and understanding just how many different kinds there are]

What is pancurious?

Pancurious and pansexual are not the same; although, they seem similar. Pansexuality is a label. Pancurious is a state of uncertainty. If you are pancurious, you may question whether or not you are pansexual and even explore your sexuality. There is even a pancurious flag to include those who are unsure of their sexual identity in the community. 

This also shows inclusion for those who are not yet ready to label themselves. There is no time limit to this curiosity either. It can be explored through sexual experiences, dating, or serious relationships. There is nothing wrong with being pancurious. As I previously stated, sexuality is fluid. It can be altered or reconsidered. Something you may have once felt defined you, may one day seem foreign. 

Pancurious is a good identifier for those who may think they are pansexual, but just aren’t sure. 

[Read: Sexually fluid – what does this even mean in the dating world?]

Am I pansexual? 

There are some questions you can answer to see if you are pansexual. But, listen, don’t feel rushed to say ‘yes, I am’ or ‘no, I’m not’. You can be pancurious and not know for sure. Totally fine! But, if you are looking for an answer, these things may help you get some clarity.

1. You are attracted to people regardless of gender

This can mean you’ve been attracted to people of all gender identities or without knowing their gender identity. Essentially, you are attracted to someone. Their gender identity does not change your attraction to them. 

It doesn’t matter whether they identify as a cisgender man, transgender, or if they are gender nonconforming. You may notice yourself being attracted to a stranger without knowing how they identify or what gender they are. That is a good sign you are pansexual. 

2. You don’t align with any label

Maybe you’d prefer the more broad term of queer. Or you just don’t like a label. That is fine. If pansexuality feels like you, then use it for now. You can always change what you identify with as you change and grow, if that’s what feels right. 

Pansexuality seems to be one of these least limiting with labels. If you don’t necessarily feel like labels are for you, but want something to categorize yourself as for those who find it confusing, this may be right for you. But, don’t feel pressured to pick a label just to make things easier for others. If it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right.

[Read: What is greysexual and what are the most common characters of greysexuality]

3. You don’t think you’re bisexual

As I described earlier, for some, bisexuality is the same as pansexuality. For others, it isn’t. If you feel like the label of bisexuality doesn’t fit you for any reason, maybe you identify with pansexuality.

Although the definition of bisexuality is really up for interpretation by the person using it, it originally meant being attracted to your own gender and that opposite of yours. If you find that limits how you feel, pansexuality may be the right term for you.

Celebrities that identify as pansexual

You may not realize how common pansexuality really is. Although it hasn’t been a popular term for very long, it seems to align with many. Have you wondered who is pansexual or felt connected to on particular celebrity? Well, here are some celebrities that have publicly identified as pansexual.

1. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus is probably one of the most famous and well-known celebrities who came out as pansexual. She said in an interview that when she went to an LGBTQ center, there was a person who didn’t identify as either male or female. She felt a connection to them she hadn’t ever felt before. That helped her to understand why she never really felt neither gay nor straight. She was neither.

2. Cara Delevingne

Simply put, the actress stated that she falls in love with the person whether they identify as they, he, or she. 

3. Bella Thorne

The former Disney star said that she realized she was pansexual in 2019. She described it as liking beings and personality.

4. Brendon Urie

When asked, the musician said that he would have to identify as pansexual because he doesn’t care. He said if a person is great, then they’re great. 

5. Jojo Siwa

When the news of the young sensation’s relationship broke, it was said she was gay. Since, she has come out as pansexual. She said, “my human is my human.”

6. Demi Lovato

The powerhouse singer has gone through a lot in her life. With recent events, she said that she was so closeted before but now is fluid and identifies as pansexual. [Read: List of sexualities and what you need to know about each orientation]

7. Janelle Monáe

When Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual, the search results for the word exploded. She said that once she read about the word, she realized that’s what she identified with.

8. Emily Hampshire

Hampshire, who played the sarcastic Stevie on Schitt’s Creek, said a conversation with co-star Dan Levy helped her realize she’s pansexual. 

These celebrities are just a few examples of pansexuality in media. Others have come out to say that it took them so long to know how they identified because they have never seen that representation on TV or in media. 

[Read: Pansexual confessions: What it’s like to be a pansexual?]

So what is pansexual? It is love and attraction that transcends gender identity. As acceptance grows for all sexualities and gender identities, hopefully, all people will feel seen and represented.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...