Social Question

judochop's avatar

What exactly is pansexuality? Seems to me that it is the same as bisexuality, no?

Asked by judochop (16084points) July 7th, 2010

Here is a link to read up on Pansexuality.
It will take you to the Wikipage, for those of you at work.
And here is a link read up on bisexuality.
Again, folks at work, have no worries this will not take you to my old college dorm room.
I would love to know what really is the difference? Have I grown out of touch with terminology? Did someone just make up a new word and coin it in a Lady Gaga song or in a movie? Help me please understand the differences.

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31 Answers

DominicX's avatar

Pansexuals are not attracted to genders. Bisexuals acknowledge that they are attracted to two genders and many of them prefer one over the other. Pansexuals do not care about gender and are just attracted to a person in general. Therefore, they would be more likely to be attracted to someone who looked like a woman, but had a penis or someone who looked like a man and had a vagina.

A common misconception is that pansexuals are attracted to animals and tables and other objects. Not true. The Greek root “pan” does mean “all”, but it is referring to humans alone. Another misconception is that pansexuality is “attraction to personalities” and that pansexuals are somehow “less shallow”. Again, not true. It is still describing a sexual attraction to a person; there is a just larger range of people a pansexual can be sexually attracted to.

DominicX's avatar


That’s not where “pansexual” comes from, though. “Pansexual” comes from the Greek word “pan” meaning “all”, completely unrelated to the Greek god from what I know. My point was that many people misconstrue the word “pansexual” to mean attraction to anything including animals and objects because of the root “pan”.

unused_bagels's avatar

So are pansexuals also attracted to robots, trees, and automobiles?

i have a friend who’s a xenosexual, and is only attracted to non-humans (think furry, but more extreme, in that he is exclusively furry), like bunny people, arachno-women, slime-people, reptiloids, walking fishoids, superintelligent shades of the color blue…

gggritso's avatar

@unused_bagels No, they are not. See @DominicX‘s answer.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The link you offered in fact explains the distinction very well. What may be have for you to grasp is that pansexuals do not see gender as a binary distinction and in fact do not see it as a meaningful concept at all. They enjoy sex with people regardless of their gender identity of the genital configuaration with which they are equipped.

@Simone_de_Beauvoir may be best to clarify what I have said.

unused_bagels's avatar

@gggritso my bad, I was going off of answers previous to that one

judochop's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I see. It is more scientific than I thought it to be.
Still though, the Greek word “pan” mean Panic.

Anyone know how old Pansexuality is?

Fyrius's avatar

Probably about as old as sexual reproduction.

judochop's avatar

@Fyrius really, because I can’t find anything on the origin or age of the word.

Fyrius's avatar

I had a feeling the age of the word was what you really wanted to know, and not the age of of pansexuality itself.

Well, I don’t know.
Maybe it’s been coined recently by people who didn’t feel represented by the word “bisexual”.

MacBean's avatar

@unused_bagels But his answer was the first one…

In my experience, most people who say they’re bisexual mean they’re pansexual. They wouldn’t exclude someone from their relationship pool just because they’re intersexed or genderqueer instead of definitely male or female. It’s just such a hassle to explain; “bisexual” is slightly easier for the average masses to wrap their minds around.

tinyfaery's avatar

@MacBean That’s my understanding, as well. I call myself bi, but I seem to really be pansexual. People understand bi. I tried to go with queer for awhile, but I had to explain that one, too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DominicX and @Dr_Lawrence took care of this q nicely. Bisexuals, in my understanding, are attracted to the both major genders and or sexes and while some of them do recognized trans or intersex people as being in existence, they’re still mainly attracted to people presenting as men or women. Pansexual is a more inclusive term…people who identify as pansexual are attracted to all people regardless of sex or gender identity. Of course, you really should ask each person what bisexual/pansexual/whatever their label means to them because as @MacBean points out, plenty of bisexuals have been with trans/genderqueer people as well. So, @judochop, I can see where you’d be confused – just think of pansexual as a term some people feel more comfortable with using because they may perceive bisexual as a bit limiting to them.

judochop's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I totally got it! Thank you. I can’t believe that I have never heard of it before.

laureth's avatar

Here’s how I think of it.

Heterosexuality is like voting straight party ticket. You like your Demmicans and you won’t give those Republicrats a second look. Clearly one party has all the right answers and you don’t even look at the issues or platforms anymore because you know who you like.

Bisexuality is where you know that the two parties have different views and platforms, and you study them both before going into the voting booth. Sure, you may lean one way or the other, especially on key issues, but sometimes you vote for a really good candidate even if he or she is from across the aisle.

Pansexuality is where you pay attention to all those third parties that don’t usually win the elections, but are sometimes really worthwhile anyway. There’s the Libertarians and Greens, and even the Socialists and Constitution party for those who are really out there. They might not be as mainstream as the Demmicans and Republicrats, but that just makes them more interesting. :)

I’m a pansexual.

judochop's avatar

@laureth So I vote pansexually? I just never knew what it was called.

ratboy's avatar

pan-ˈsexual, a.

[f. pan- 2 + sexual a.]

Of or pertaining to pan-sexualism; that is not limited in sexual choice; pan-ˈsexualism, the view that the sex instinct plays a part in all human thought and activity and is the chief or only source of energy. Hence pan-ˈsexualist a., pertaining to the theory of pansexualism; pan-sexuˈality.

1917 C. R. Payne tr. Pfister’s Psycho-anal. Method 60 Which‥has brought the reproach of ‘pansexualism’ against psychoanalysis.    1922 J. Strachey tr. Freud’s Group Psychol. iv. 39 Psycho-analysis, then gives these love instincts the name of sexual instincts.‥ The majority of ‘educated’ people have regarded this nomenclature as an insult, and have taken their revenge by retorting upon psycho-analysis with the reproach of ‘pan-sexualism’.    1926 W. McDougall Outl. Abnormal Psychol. i. 20 It has led Freud‥, as Janet has said, to construct ‘an enormous system of medical philosophy’, the theory of Pan⁓sexuality.    Ibid. vi. 131 Freud, in accordance with his pansexualist tendency, expressed the opinion [etc.].    Ibid. xviii. 314 The dogma that the Œdipus complex is present in all men is the principal instrument of the pan⁓sexual theory.    1972 Jrnl. Social Psychol. LXXXVII. 51 In the beginning the human organism has the potential of pansexuality.    1974 Observer 7 Apr. 36/6 Eventually, no doubt, some biographer will tell us how far he [sc. H. de Montherlant] was homosexual, heterosexual or—as seems to be suggested by some discreet passages about bestiality and incest—pansexual.    1977 Guardian Weekly 7 Aug. 18/2 An exquisitely Victorian taste for extravagant, pansexual erotic fantasy.


zophu's avatar

I’ve heard pansexuality used to describe sexuality directed towards things that aren’t even human. I thought that was what set it apart from bisexuality. I guess that’s some other term.

MacBean's avatar

@zophu Well, now you know better. I hope.

zophu's avatar

@MacBean I think the confusion came from the word “pandemic,” To be pansexual just sounds like you want to fuck everything. lol

MacBean's avatar

@zophu Still not getting where you’d get the non-human idea from. “A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν pan “all” + δῆμος demos “people”) is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide.” (Emphasis mine.)

zophu's avatar

@MacBean I failed Latin class. (oh, it’s greek) Pandemic just meant “everywhere, virus” to me. I also had the idea reinforced by other overimaginative ignorant people’s improper use of the word.

edit: well, wait. pan still means “all” doesn’t it? all-sexual. sounds like wanting to fuck everything to me. I can understand the confusion. don’t try to trick me with sited definitions all specially emphasized and shit. :)

i wont misuse the word…

laureth's avatar

For the vast, vast majority of people, other adult people are the only appropriate sexual partner. Even furries look to other people, even though they may be wearing a fursuit at the time. By and large, people do not look to animals, coffeetables, or bales of hay to satisfy their sexual taste. A very few do, but they’re called something else – zoophiles, perhaps, or paedophiles.

There is, however, a much larger segment of the population that defines anything outside of the realm of one-man-one-woman as something dangerous and immoral, on the slippery slope to messing with infants and furniture and sheep. This definition of pansexuals, I don’t believe, is nearly as valid (from the pansexuals’ point of view) as the people who would prevent things like gay marriage would have you believe.

It also makes me wonder about the people who espouse the “slippery slope” hypothesis of sexual taste. Are they afraid that if they stray pat the bounds that their society finds acceptable, they will soon want sheep (and maybe secretly do already, and are only held in check by public or religious mores)? Well, I’ll say this—pansexuals do color outside of the lines, genderiffically speaking, but we’re proof that if you loosen up a bit, it doesn’t have to come to barnyard antics.

MacBean's avatar

@laureth— ”By and large, people do not look to animals, coffeetables, or bales of hay to satisfy their sexual taste. A very few do, but they’re called something else – zoophiles, perhaps, or paedophiles.

That was something I was going to bring up. In this sort of context, ”-sexual,” I think, indicates consenting humans. People aren’t called pedosexuals or zoosexuals or dendrosexuals or necrosexuals. They’re -philes/-philiacs. There may be exceptions but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Arp's avatar

I thought it meant you were sexually attracted to boys with green shoes who never want to grow up 0_o

HungryGuy's avatar

@laureth – That’s an excellent analogy using political parties in the political spectrum to represent the various sexual/gender identities. GA!

HungryGuy's avatar

@laureth – And it’s unfortunate that there is a large segment of people who see anything other than one-man-one-woman as immoral. Yet, I also see that more and more people are coming to terms with the idea that anything that is mutually consensual is moral and acceptable. It may take another generation or two to get there, but I see it on the horizon.

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