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Differences Between Bisexuality and Pansexuality

November 5, 2014 Vanessa Celis

Bisexuality and pansexuality are similar sexual orientations but have differences. Learn more about the key differences between pansexuality and bisexuality.

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

Bisexuality and pansexuality are similar sexual orientations but have differences. Learn more about the key differences between pansexuality and bisexuality. 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.

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APA Reference
Celis, V. (2014, November 5). Differences Between Bisexuality and Pansexuality, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2014/11/differences-between-bisexuality-and-pansexuality



Author: Vanessa Celis

Aaris
says:
September, 22 2015 at 10:02 pm
I'm sorry, but there are *straight* people who are fine with sleeping with transgender people, as well as gays, so that has nothing to do with it.
Kytt
says:
March, 24 2015 at 8:14 pm
Hello everyone reading this! I'd like to inform you of something! THIS IS NOT CORRECT!!!

Bisexuality isn't the attraction to a male or a female, it's the attraction to genders the same, or other than your own. When bisexuality as a term was coined, the population was misinformed that there was only two genders. This type of thinking would also lead people to believe that a gay man can not love a FtM Transgender (even post operation), because in this definition, you're not LABELING them as their correct gender.

A MtF transgender is a female in my eyes, as well as a FtM is a male. So that would exclude intersex, which would be silly.

The truth is that bisexuality is a strong term, it's recognized by people in, and out, of the community. It has history, and it has stigmas that we're constantly fighting.

I'm sorry to say this, but this post is incredibly rude. Pansexuals have no right to define bisexuality, as they don't identify as it. Yes, everyone has their own definition, and that is fine, but what's NOT okay is putting even MORE of a stigma on Bisexuals!!!

(*I have friends that identify as pansexuals, so please don't think I am trying to say that pansexuality isn't a thing. Many Bisexuals are tired of having the stigma that we aren't willing to date other genders.)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa Celis
says:
March, 31 2015 at 11:13 am
Hi Kytt,

Thank you for your reply and opinion. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has a different opinion about what bisexual/pansexual means. I was asked by the blog manager to explain the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality. I don't see my post as being rude at all toward bisexuals, especially when I used to say I was bisexual for a long time. You could be bisexual and be attracted to all genders and that is fine. Perhaps I will clarify this in my next post because it seems to be pretty controversial.

-Vanessa

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa
says:
June, 4 2017 at 10:54 am
There are only 2 genders

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

krystle wilson
says:
June, 12 2017 at 1:25 pm
There are only 2 sexes period regardless of physical changes. Ur either a man or woman biologically. So if u like both, u r bi.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Luis
says:
July, 11 2017 at 11:05 am
Well, yes, there are only two sexes. However, gender is a different thing to sex in that it is how you identify and not simply what genitals you were born with. Please educate yourself before posting comments such as this one.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

1 John 2:27
says:
July, 3 2018 at 9:18 pm
Touchy people around here. Why so snippy? Part of the reason lgbtqp...ect. get flak is because they want everyone to "accept" them while they don't "accept" others. Look at yourself.
Yashvi
says:
February, 7 2019 at 1:37 am
Roasted!!!!!
So true and the same as I was thinking as I was going through the comments..
Lol..

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

liza
says:
September, 8 2018 at 8:18 am
gen·der
ˈjendər/
noun
1.
the state of being male or female

sex
seks/
noun

2.
either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.

Gender and sex are practically the same thing. You are either male, female, or both. So I think you need to educate yourself before posting comments.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dennis Nardone
says:
March, 16 2019 at 6:23 am
I wonder what the problem was with sexuality when Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. It has all been done. There is nothing new under the sun. Only our technology has evolved but we have not. We have the same heart as those from the earliest times of human history. Of course today we think we are so much smarter than those from the earliest times of human history. Our culture opens the doors of social behavior with very few limits. Almost anything seems appropriate. We have so much freedom yet we have lost our basic identity. As a culture we have become our own gods and this is nothing different from years ago. It is the same story over and over and one day it will be over.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hayleigh
says:
October, 31 2018 at 3:18 pm
Wrong. There are only 2 SEXES. There are multiple genders.
Kat
says:
January, 28 2019 at 1:45 am
Excellent point differentiating between biological sex and gender identity. İt's also important to remember that intersex people do exist outside the male/female binary. XX and XY are not the only sex chromosome pairs available.
Donatello
says:
March, 29 2019 at 9:35 am
Dear Hayleigh,
Sex and gender are the same thing

1. gen·der
/ˈjendər/
noun
either of the two SEXES (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.

2. sex
/seks/
either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.
Gender and sex are the same thing, but we use them differently!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jaimee
says:
July, 29 2017 at 4:06 pm
Well... correct me if I’m wrong because I very well may be but bi means two so you couldn’t be attracted to “anything” and claim bisexuality. Also if what you’re saying is accurate then a gay man could love a FtM trans because at the end of the day it’s a man so if you really see trans people as their desired sex wouldn’t that still be bisexuality? Please don’t come at me if you disagree.. I’m just stating my opinion and curiosity
Anonymous
says:
November, 12 2014 at 3:52 pm
Thank you for addressing pansexuality. Many people do not know what it is, along with other orientations like demisexual and asexual.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa Celis
says:
November, 17 2014 at 11:02 am
Thank you for your comment! Hopefully within time more people will learn about pansexuality and the other sexual orientations as well.

-Vanessa
Troy
says:
November, 6 2014 at 6:46 pm
Bisexual does not imply that there is only two genders any more than homosexual implies that all gender is the same.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa Celis
says:
November, 17 2014 at 11:03 am
Hi Troy,

Thank you for your comment. I did address that in my post. Everyone has their own different definition and that's okay, there's nothing wrong with that.

-Vanessa

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Anonymous
says:
June, 3 2018 at 4:14 pm
YES!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Richard
says:
December, 11 2018 at 1:06 pm
I have identified myself as bisexual only a couple of years ago. I actually didn't have a term for it even though I've been practicing it on and off for decades. Lately I have been attracted to a transgender but basically still called myself bisexual. I only heard the term pansexual last week. Granted, technically the bisexual term literally means 2 by the prefix bi. Does it have to mean male or female? It means 2 but shouldn't be a limiting factor. The issue I have is that we are riddling our culture with more and more terms that is making it more and more confusing. I'm a committed bisexual but I'm not limiting myself.
Jim
says:
March, 20 2019 at 5:00 pm
YOU can id ur self ANY way u want but u were not born like that & u can never change ur dna when u were born into. U have a serious mental problem & by not addressing it early on, causes much more serious problems later in life ALWAYS
Donatello
says:
March, 28 2019 at 10:03 am
Dear Richard, it means you can like any two gender in LGBTQ+ not just female and male.
-Donatello

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jim
says:
March, 20 2019 at 4:51 pm
No it means that a person is NOT mentally normal & needs help. Even animals know to naturally be interested in the opposite sex!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jay
says:
March, 25 2019 at 3:17 pm
Bi means 2

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Lily
says:
April, 5 2019 at 8:03 pm
Is there a sexuality where you love boys, girls, and non-binary, but nothing else?
April, 7 2019 at 11:35 am
Hi Lily,

That's a good question. I've heard that "multisexual" can be a good term for people who are attracted several different genders, but not necessarily all genders. Ultimately, though, how you define your sexual orientation is up to you!

Andy

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