Pansexuality is a sexual identity where a person is attracted towards people regardless of sex or gender identity. The prefix pan- is derived from Ancient Greek and means all, thus pansexuality means they are open to all, irrespective of sex or gender. Famous celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monáe, and Cara Delevingne have stated that they are pansexual, normalising pansexuality as a sexual identity. There has also been an increase in pansexual characters in mainstream media, which allows for people to explore their own sexual identity. Here is a list of common myths and misconceptions about pansexuality, and why they are incorrect.
1. Pansexuality Isn’t Real
Dismissing pansexuality by claiming it is a myth or doesn’t exist serves no purpose other than being discriminatory. By denying one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity, it prevents them from accepting themselves and their identity. Allowing people to identify however they see fit harms no one, and allows for people to be more comfortable with how they label themselves.
2. Pansexuality = Bisexuality
Since sexuality is a spectrum, there is no one rigid definition of bisexuality and pansexuality. Generally, bisexuality is the attraction to more than one gender while pansexuality is often described as attraction regardless of gender. Many pansexual people state that their attraction focuses on personality rather than gender.
“I always will remain, I think, pansexual. However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ I fall in love with the person — and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person.” – Cara Delevingne
The definition of bisexuality and pansexuality may vary from person to person, and the fact that the definitions seem similar makes it hard to distinguish. People identify with whichever term they feel more comfortable with. The right move is to listen to whatever people identify as, and not try to diminish it. Since sexuality is nuanced and varies from person to person, it is important to understand bisexuality and pansexuality means something different for everybody.
3. Pansexual People Are Promiscuous
Being attracted to people regardless of gender does not automatically mean that pansexual people are interested in everyone. The assumption that pansexual people are more promiscuous is unfounded and based on misconceptions about sexuality. Pansexual people aren’t attracted to everyone, the same way heterosexual people aren’t attracted to everybody from the opposite gender.
4. Pansexual People Cannot Be Monogamous
Assuming that pansexual people cannot remain monogamous and faithful to their partner is a myth. The assumption that pansexual people are cheaters is an unfounded belief that stems from misconceptions about sexual identities and pansexuality. Just because someone has the capacity to be attracted to anyone irrespective of gender, doesn’t mean they are.
5. Pansexuality Is A Trend
Pansexuality has always existed, there just wasn’t a specific term for it until the 20th century. There is more visibility related to pansexuality, due to celebrities coming out as pansexual and an increase in media with pansexual representation. Due to this more people are looking into their own sexual orientation and identifying as pansexual. This increase in people labelling themselves as pansexual leads to the belief that pansexuality is ‘a trend’, instead of realising that it has always existed.
It is a good thing that people are finding more ways of labelling self-expression. The small price to pay for making people more comfortable is just learning and familiarising yourself with queer terminology.