Differences Between Bisexuality and Pansexuality
Many questions arise when one proclaims that they are bisexual. But what about pansexual? Pansexuality is not a familiar term within people outside of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. I only learned about pansexuality in a feminism class three years ago. I had never heard the term before but when I learned its definition, I immediately came to like it. While I don’t mind identifying as bisexual, I prefer the term pansexual when it comes to my identity. But how are bisexuality and pansexuality different? Aren’t they the same thing?
How Bisexuality and Pansexuality Differ
The dictionary states the definition of bisexual as: “sexually attracted to both men and women”. Meanwhile, the definition of pansexual is: “not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity.” While it can be easy to say that both definitions mean the same, exact thing, the key difference between bisexuality and pansexuality rests on the focus on gender identity.
Bisexuality implies that there are only two genders, that being male and female. Pansexuality, on the other hand, implies that there are more than two genders. Pansexuals have no problem dating or sleeping with a transgender person, for example. This also includes people who fall out of the gender binary and consider themselves genderqueer (people who do not identify as just man or woman).
Pansexuality and Bisexuality -- Love Isn’t Based on Gender
One thing that bisexuality and pansexuality do have in common is that the people who identify as such usually don’t base their feelings on gender. Lately, I have noticed on social networks such as Tumblr that there is an active discussion between the bisexual and pansexual communities. A lot of bisexuals have come out and stated that they don’t base their sexuality on gender identity, either. They still consider and call themselves bisexual, though.
This has created some confusion between the two labels. But I think it’s great that there is an active discussion. If anything, it shows how fluid sexuality is in many people. Instead of it being as a concrete thing, sexuality is more complex and intricate than society likes to make it. Not everyone falls into the neat labels of straight or gay, and that’s okay. That doesn’t make pansexuals and bisexuals confused about their sexuality.
Choosing to Label Your Sexuality
For a long time, I had issues labeling my sexuality. I was ashamed of being bisexual and wanted so badly to just be a lesbian because of all the biphobia I had experienced outside and within the LGBTQ community. It’s something that I regret to say, but it’s true. Now, though, I am trying to accept and love myself more.
There is nothing wrong with being bisexual or pansexual. Also, I am learning that while labels are important in self-discovery and in accepting your sexuality, it’s okay to not know. Sadly, I have noticed that many people are so hung up about labels and try to be a living, breathing replica of the exact definition. Maybe we should focus more on ourselves instead of trying to live up to a textbook definition. That way there is more room for growth and happiness in our lives.
Celis, V. (2014, November 5). Differences Between Bisexuality and Pansexuality, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2014/11/differences-between-bisexuality-and-pansexuality
Author: Vanessa Celis
^At this link you can look at Sara Ramirez putting it in better words than I can.
I just ask that you reframe your relationship to the word “bisexual”.
You just insinuated that trans men are actual men and that trans women aren’t actual women. To say that if a bisexual person is attracted to a trans person they are actually pansexual is just transphobic and exclusionary.
This coming from a cis hetro male.
What sucks is those monikers shouldn't mean anything.
Is this labelling really important?????? We all are who we are..No Shame.
I'm a bisexual, a I wear it with pride. Don't need to think about so much, just carry on your lives people!! Be happy and mind your own business, you won't earn anything by judging and labelling, so just quit!!!!!!!!
Apparently it is - to you - as you go on to say you are bisexual.
then they are simply implied but not confirmed. Maybe we were given an opportunity to be told something, understand it,learn grow, modify it accept it even-- just to be faced with the ONE thing that could make us re do all of this again, our kids. Newer generations. Kids evolved from all that we have learned thus far. In short, I typed a bunch of words here that mean nothing unless read. They wont be. It's like the labels we keep assigning EVERYTHING. Nothing has any value until we give it some. Give people value. Save the definitions and see the divinity
Its nothing wrong having no desire for Sex, and Sex does not complete a person. Love or falling in love is not Sex, and Sex is not Love eventhough you can not claim to be in love with a person without having had a complete relation. I don't believe that persons of same gender fall in love or have attraction its just they hate each other want to punish or humble each other. You can also be loved by your surroundings and you don't need to need to have Sex because you already receive respect
So Breeding is just a choice or/and way of life-tradition, and not an organic or mental issue
P.S Breed boys, treat them as boys and don't ware them dresses, don't let them play with dolls.
My sense is that the meaning of certain words or labels may be evolving and this may add to confusion in communication. For example, there are two sexes, male and female. This is determined genetically. It used to be (I'm an older person) that the word "gender" was used to mean the same thing, e.g. on a form, you might be asked to identify your sex or gender - and there were two choices.
With changes in cultural understanding, people are now aware that there is something else called "gender identity" which, as of now, has no biological markers. It is based on a discernment of one's sense of oneself as male or female. Since we don't know what causes there to be differences between one's sex and one's gender identity, we do not consider mismatches (e.g. genetic male who identifies as female) to be a "disorder" but a variation in how people are. This variation is generally referred to as being transexual ("trans").
Sometimes trans people pursue a change in primary or secondary sexual characteristics through surgery/hormones. They remain genetically the sex they were born but may live their lives according to their gender identity, without or without medical intervention.
A more recent development in cultural awareness or expression is that there are some people whose gender identity may be both (as in fluid) or neither (as in asexual). Again, with no biological markers, this is something that people discern based on how they experience themselves. It is not clear to me if there has always been a significant number of people who identify as both or neither, or whether this is a cultural development. It is hard to know since open discussion of gender identity is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Gender identity is different from sexual orientation, the latter being the sex one is attracted to male or female (or both or neither). "Attraction" here means feeling inclined to engage in sexual behavior with someone, not simply thinking that someone is nice-looking or has a fun personality, etc.
However, issues of sexual orientation have become more complicated as more trans folks medically change their outward sexual characteristics and clothing/pronouns. Does one's sexual orientation include attraction to people who have made these changes? I think that must be a personal decision and doesn't need yet more labels - just discussion between the individuals considering a relationship.
With regard to people who are born with ambiguous genitalia or extra or missing chromosomes, these are "disorders", i.e. medical conditions caused by problems in development. Having such a medical condition does not make a person less worthy of love and respect. It is simply a challenge, as are many medical conditions.
In the end, we are all just people, seeking to live our lives in a happy and healthy way. I hope my comments haven't offended anyone and I don't mind being politely corrected if someone feels I am mistaken.
I call myself bi, rather than pan, because even though I have loved across the gender spectrum, I have a different attraction in traits exhibited for male presenting folk, than I do for female presenting folk, than I do for fluid or nonbinary presenting folk.
My partner identifies as pan. He is attracted to similar traits in people across the spectrum, regardless of their gender expression.
Again, it is personal to you, and what feels a best fit for you.
Like the definition of Bi is "romantically or sexually attracted to both men and women. While pan is "not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity."
To me, Bi and Pan are the same thing and can be used almost completely interchangeably, one of them just makes it clear they are open to all.
However to some people there may be a big difference in using one or the other. For example, someone identifies as bi and while they are supportive of whereever people fall on the gender spectrum, they personally prefer a life partner who conforms to a single gender and therefore identify as bi rather than pan. Or a bi person might have no preference what-so-ever but chooses to identify as bi simply because it is more commonly known.
I feel that it largely depends on the person because gender, attraction, and sexuality are very fluid things.
This is in no way supposed to be attacking bi people by saying they only think there are two genders, in case some people see it that way.
It better explains the pan vs bi conversation better. Don't be fooled by the "bi" in bisexual and think it has to mean only 2 genders. Again the article I listed above really describes the differences much better than I ever could in this comment section.