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What Does Pansexual Mean?
You may have heard or read the term “pansexual” and have been unsure, confused and/or uncertain about the exact definition. Or you may be wondering what the difference is between pansexuality and bisexuality and/or how pansexuality and polysexuality differ from each other. Whatever the case may be, in order to truly understand what pansexual actually means, it’s important for you to take a closer look at this sexual orientation and sexual identity.
In the most basic sense, pansexuality means that an individual is physically, emotionally and/or romantically attracted to a person, regardless of this other person’s gender identity and/or sexuality. In other words, you’re attracted to the person as a whole, and you’re drawn to someone without taking into account how this person identifies and/or this person’s sex. In fact, when you break down the word “pansexual,” you’ll notice that “pan” is a prefix that comes from the Greek word that means “all.” Additionally, many people who are pansexual say that they’re attracted to a person’s spirit or soul—there are no boundaries or limits in terms of who catches their eye.
While there’s some debate on this issue, it’s been said that bisexuality is a broader term that describes people who are physically, emotionally and/or romantically attracted to both men and women.
And when you take an even closer look at the word “bisexuality,” you’ll recognize that the prefix “bi” comes from the Greek word meaning “two.”
With this in mind, pansexuality can be seen as a more specific and detailed term that lets others know even more about a person’s sexual identity. In particular, pansexuals are not only attracted to men and women, but people with other sexual and gender identities as well.
For example, a pansexual can be attracted to a person who may identify as transsexual or intersex.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that someone who is bisexual isn’t necessarily restricted in terms of his or her sexual, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. In fact, it’s for this very reason that pansexuality is said to fall under the umbrella of bisexuality. And on an interesting note, there are also people who use the term “bisexual” simply because it’s a descriptor that’s better known and understood in certain circles, but these people are in no way limited in their attraction.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between pansexuality and polysexuality, it’s helpful to again take a closer look at the prefixes. And while you know that “pan” means “all,” you should notice that “poly” also comes from the Greeks, and it means “many.” In other words, a key distinction between the two is that polysexuals are interested in and attracted to many genders, but not necessarily all.
When you’re interested in learning more about pansexuality, it’s not uncommon to come across the word “fluid.” Importantly, those who identify as fluid have an attraction to other people that can change and fluctuate as time goes by.
For instance, a person may be attracted to men during his or her childhood, but then later find that he or she is attracted to women. In a word, a person’s sexual orientation can transition and evolve throughout a lifetime. Additionally, those with a fluid sexuality may be more attracted to one gender over another, but they certainly aren’t limited in any sense. It’s also interesting to note that describing one’s sexuality as fluid is considered to be a more modern term.
When looking more closely at pansexuality and what it means, you may also see the term “heteroflexible.” Specifically, this descriptor enables people to further detail and outline their attraction to others. In essence, people who are heteroflexible are largely attracted to others of the opposite sex in a romantic, emotional and/or physical way, but they also have some minimal attraction to the same sex.
With this in mind, the term “homoflexible” is used to describe people who are primarily sexually, emotionally and romantically attracted to the same sex, but still have some attraction to the opposite sex as well.