Pansexuality – What is it, Myths, Misconceptions, and Its Signs
Generally, when there is a discussion about sexualities, gay, bi, and straight are the most common ones. But do you know there is something called pansexuality? If this comes to you as a surprise, do you remember the conversation between David Rose (Dan Levy) and Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire), the famous characters from Schitt’s Creek, where David gives an analogy to Stevie?
After sleeping together as Stevie and David browse wines in a store: Stevie says, “So, just to be clear, I’m a red wine drinker.”
Not understanding the reference, David tells her, “That’s fine.”
Continuing to it, Stevie says: “I only drink red wine, and up until last night, I was under the impression that you, too, only drank red wine, but I guess I was wrong.”
Finally catching on, David says: “I see where you’re going with this. I do drink red wine, but I also drink white wine, and I’ve been known to sample the occasional rose, and a couple of summers back, I tried a merlot that used to be a chardonnay which got a bit complicated.”
“Okay, so you’re just really open to all wines,” Stevie replies.
The scene ends when David asks: “I like the wine, not the label. Does that make sense?”
This was the first time without saying the word pansexual, the term was concisely explained on TV.
In short, pansexuality is being interested in the person rather than the sex and gender.
Does this make sense? If not, no worries. Keep reading, and you will be able to understand what pansexuality is and whether or not it is a new term or something that has been around for a long.
Pansexuality is a New Term?
Well, not. Pansexuality has a long history that goes back to the 1900s when Freud understood the term. Although in the eighties, the term became popular, and people understood it as being attracted to all genders. And slowly, as the rise in younger queer communities was witnessed, the term pansexual started to be introduced on TV.
Besides, David for Schitt’s Creek Ali in Big Mouth also explained pansexuality, and she came out as a Pan.
“Being pansexual means my sexual preference isn’t limited by gender identity… It’s like, some of you like tacos, and some of you like burritos. And if you’re bisexual, you like tacos and burritos. But I’m saying I like tacos and burritos, and I could be into a taco that was born a burrito, or a burrito that is transitioning into a taco, comprende? And honey, anything else on the fucking menu.”
It was after this that people started looking at bisexuality and pansexuality differently. We understand you might have questions about the difference and want to know about it.
Now let’s stick to pansexuality.
What is Pansexual?
Pansexuality comes from the Greek word pan, which means all or every. This means attraction towards the person irrespective of their gender or identity. This might make you wonder how that is possible.
Over thousands of years, humans have evolved, and their cognition has also developed. Now defining terms like love, morals, and dreams is not easy. The same is with sexuality and identity. As each individual is unique, so is their perception and understanding of sexual identities and sexuality.
No label can accurately define a person. Even those who come out as pansexual sometimes argue about what the identity means for them and to them.
Facts About Pansexuality
Like the misinformation about other sexualities, there is a lot of confusion about pansexuality. Therefore before you believe the myths, here are some facts about pansexuality.
1. It is existent
Most people think sexual identities are just a facade. But that isn’t true because it is ignorance at its worst. Everyone has the freedom to identify themselves in a certain way. If someone identifies them as pan, bi, straight, or gay, there is nothing wrong.
2. It is a new term
Although the term pansexuality has recently gained media coverage and popularity, it is not a new thing. It has been there since the 1900s, and as younger generations know about sexual identities, it is becoming easy for them to identify themselves.
3. It is different than polyamory
Polyamory is simultaneously being in love with more than one person, while pansexuality does not mean the same. It simply means to be attracted to others regardless of gender or sexual identity.
4. Pansexuality is not equal to promiscuous
Generally, people think of pansexuals and bisexuals as promiscuous. But that isn’t right. Just because someone can get attracted to anyone it doesn’t mean they have a relationship with everyone they meet. Just as being straight doesn’t mean you get attracted to all opposite sex, it means you can choose from.
5. It’s not about physical intimacy
Pansexuality is not just about getting physically attracted. It is enjoying a romantic and committed relationship like other sexualities.
Misconceptions about Pansexuality
Each of us thinks we are more intelligent than the other person unless proven otherwise. This means there is a possibility that you might have some doubts about pansexuality. Even if you think you don’t have any such misconceptions. Some people certainly have. Here are five common myths about pansexuality.
1. Bisexuality and pansexuality are the same.
Although their characteristics sometimes overlap, they still aren’t the same. Pansexuals are simply attracted to people and overlook their gender and identity. In contrast, bisexuals can be attracted to the same gender or the opposite gender, including non-binary. Bi-sexuality is no longer restricted to a binary definition of gender and sexuality.
Pansexuality is a broader spectrum and is not constrained like bisexuality. However, this doesn’t mean pansexuals get attracted to everyone they meet.
2. Pansexuality is transphobic
As pansexuality is defined as being attracted to people with different sexuality, some people think they are transphobic as they can be attracted to trans people too. But this isn’t the fact; it is another biggest myth that needs to be quashed. Since pansexual person gets attracted to others regardless of their gender, they have nothing to do with whether the other person is trans or not.
3. No one can be attracted to others regardless of gender and identity.
Since pansexual do not consider a person’s gender or identity, they are attracted to the individual; it doesn’t mean they are attracted to everyone. Pansexual people have the potential to be attracted to people of all genders, but they aren’t always looking for a relationship. They are neither incapable of making relationships nor do they cheat because they are pansexual and like everyone.
4. Pansexuals aren’t faithful.
Just because a person can like anyone doesn’t mean they are unfaithful or cannot remain monogamous. The myth that pansexual people are unfaithful is false. Pansexuals are surely attracted to others irrespective of gender, but they aren’t cheaters.
5. Pansexuality is a new fad.
It is not true, as the word was added to the Oxford Dictionary in the 1900s and used differently by LGBTQ+ people. However, we have become more aware of people with such identities due to social acceptance and awareness.
What is it to be Pansexual?
Things can get complicated for people who don’t understand pansexuality, as they will find people saying there is nothing like pansexuality. They are feeling greedy, or they are confused and want to have a relationship with everyone.
Since pansexuality has different definitions and subcategories, including asexual, panromantic, etc., people take a lot of time to understand their feelings. Also, as their desires are varied, they take time to be comfortable with themselves.
However, there is one thing that a person should never forget; there is nothing wrong with being attracted to one gender, two or more, or none at all. You don’t need to attach yourself to any identity to get sexually attracted to anyone. One can take an entire life to understand which subset of sexuality they belong to.
If you can figure out what you like and what you don’t, it can be rewarding as this will help build strong relationships. But if you cannot figure that out, then nothing is wrong. You can be the way you want to be and give the love you have within with no conditions attached.
How to Know if you are Pansexual
If you are confused about whether or not you are pansexual, try to answer the following questions, as they will help you understand things better.
1. You get attracted to people irrespective of gender
You get attracted to people without knowing their gender identity, and even when you know, it doesn’t change the fact that you are attracted to them. You can get attracted to trans, ci, bi, straight, or to those who are gender non-conforming.
2. You don’t like being labeled
Possibly, you prefer to fall under the Queer umbrella, or you don’t like labels. It’s okay. If you feel that pansexuality resonates with you, use it. It is one of the least limiting labels. However, there is no pressure if you don’t want to label yourself. If it doesn’t feel right to you, it doesn’t feel right.
3. Bisexuality doesn’t resonate with you
For some, pansexuality and bisexuality are similar, while for others, it isn’t. If you feel bisexuality doesn’t feel right to you, you can probably identify with pansexuality.
Pansexuality and Relationship
As pansexual people get physically attracted to people regardless of gender, they can enjoy different relationships. They might look straight or may not. However, when in a relationship with a pansexual person, it is best to discuss things, especially limits. There is no sense in making assumptions about monogamy or sexual preferences.
Like people with other sexual identities, pansexual persons are also different and have their preferences. Respect boundaries and keep clear communication. , just like any other person.
How To Discuss if you identified as Pansexuality?
If you can relate to pansexuality, you might think about how to come out and talk to people about it. If you have supportive people, you can start with them and tell them how you feel. They will accept you as you are and help you explore your identity. However, if you don’t have a support group, you must be prepared, as making people understand will be tough.
When explaining your sexuality, you can begin with something simple: I am neither gay, bi, or straight. I am someone who gets attracted to people without paying attention to gender, and I am pansexual. After this, you can explain to them what it means and even quote references from TV or can tell them about celebrities who are pansexual.
However, remember, people are not open to such concepts and might say something you might not like the first time. But that is okay because they can’t feel what you can.
Celebrities who identify as Pansexual
If you have recently heard of this term, you may think of it as something new, but it isn’t. Pansexuality and pansexual people are pretty common. The term has been there for quite a long, and many align with it, including celebrities.
If you wonder who these celebrities are, here is a list of a few.
1. Miley Cyrus
She is one of the popular celebrities who publicly declared herself a pan after hearing someone say they don’t consider themselves a male or a female.
2. Cara Delevingne
This actress simply states that she falls in love with the person irrespective of their gender.
3. Bella Thorne
She came out as pansexual in 2019 and said she likes beings, not the gender.
4. Brendon Urie
The musician said he identifies himself as pansexual as he likes a person. If a person is great, they are great.
5. Jojo Siwa
She came out as pansexual and said, “My human is my human.”
6. Demi Lovato
This singer has been through a lot, and she said earlier she was closed now, she is fluid and identifies as pansexual.
7. Janelle Monáe
She came out as pansexual, as said when she heard about this word she connected with and so identifies herself as pansexual.
8. Emily Hampshire
The conversation with Dan Levy in Schitt’s Creek made her realize she is a pansexual.
These are just a few examples. There are other celebrities too who identify as pansexual.
How to Support Pansexual Friends or Partners?
If you are not a pansexual, but your friend, partner, or someone you know identifies as pansexual, they might need support. Here’s how you can help them.
1. Listen Patiently
When the other person shares their feelings, try not to be judgemental or too talkative. Give them space to share their feelings. Don’t make them feel that you are labeling them. Do not be too talkative. Be supportive of them.
2. Be Supportive
Probably for you, understanding pansexuality might not be easy. But this means you do not support the other person. Be reassuring and supportive. However, if you find supporting the individual difficult, try to talk positively about LGBTQ+. Do not condemn or undermine the community and the sexuality of the person.
3. Try to Understand LGBTQ+ term
The term LGBTQ+ is not something everyone understands. A lot of people are still unfamiliar with it. Therefore, when talking to a person opening up about their sexuality, get familiar with LGBTQ+ terms. This will help have clear and strong communication with them.
4. Be open-minded
If you are religious or come from a conservative background accepting the fact might not be easy. But you need to try to be open-minded. Think of them as being not as pansexual. Try not to judge them.
5. Talk to a Therapist
Accepting the fact that someone you love or someone in your family has a different sexual identity is difficult. Try to make peace with it. However, if you can’t, you can take a therapist’s help as they will help you understand things better.
Pansexuality is Real, and There’s Nothing Wrong with You.
So, this briefly explains pansexuality and how you can deal with it. Now, it is up to you to decide what resonates with you. It doesn’t matter whether you are pan, bi, trans, or gay. What matters is you are human, and you have all the right to feel what feels right to you.
If you are attracted to someone beyond gender, it is fine. You shouldn’t care about what others think or say as long as you are true to yourself. It is your life, and you have the right to live it. Hope, soon, people accept the different sexualities and stop being judgemental.
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