1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What is pansexual?

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by Kevin k, Feb 3, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Kevin k

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2019
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Stewartville mn
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Family only
    I was explaining my odd sexuality to the my goto friend (the only person I am fully out to), as I explained to him the deal, he concluded with the fact that I sounded like I was pansexual. When I asked him what that is he said in pretty straightforward terminology, "if you were blindfolded and you stuck your hand down someone's pants, you'd be satisfied with whatever was there" which I pretty much true for me if I wasn't in a loyal relationship. So what is it exactly? Am I bi or pan?
     
  2. medamaude

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Ecuador
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    they are the same thing honestly, it's just that people might be more comfortable with one label over the other for personal reasons. some reasons i've seen people give for using the label pansexual is that they want to specify that they are ok with dating trans people, no matter if they have transitioned yet or not, nonbinary people, or that they feel more interested in the personality aspect rather than the physical when looking for a partner. obviously i don't know all of them since i'm not pansexual myself.
     
  3. DecentOne

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    East Coast US
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I agree, they are pretty much the same terms for me, I like people. The bisexual label has been around longer and is in the general list of letters in LGBTQ so I’m finding it easier to identify that way. I like the bi flag colors better too. Maybe there is a difference between bi and pan, for instance I read a lot on this forum and some folks who identify as pansexual talk about gender not mattering, or not seeing gender just the person. I notice gender, and something attractive about each gender and gender presentation, so maybe some pansexual folks here would say that is a difference. It also seems generational, I’m a middle-aged guy and bisexual is the more familiar term for me and my peers, and as I come out to folks they don’t start asking me to define the term.
     
    medamaude likes this.
  4. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    They aren't really quite the same thing. Bisexual implies attraction to the gender binaries (Male/Female). Pansexual implies the potential for attraction to *anyone*, regardless of whether they are cis or transgendered, or otherwise gender variant.

    But my favorite definition of pansexual is someone who is sexually excited by cookware. :slight_smile:
     
    Litebrite, Waffless, Chierro and 3 others like this.
  5. tystnad

    tystnad Guest

    Actually, this is a very common misconception that simply isn't true. Already in the 1990 Bisexual Manifesto, the definition of bisexuality does not concern itself with the gender binary alone: it merely means one is attracted to their own and other gender(s), which can very well include non-binary identities. The 'bi' does not mean 'two genders' (per se), but 'your own and other genders'. Some people may definitely use it to mean only the gender binary, but not nearly everyone who identifies as bi does and historically that's just not how bisexuality has been considered.

    In practice, I'd say bisexuality and pansexuality generally mean more or less the same thing: you're attracted to more than one gender. People often separate the two by saying that you're bisexual if you like different genders (and gender plays a role), and pansexual as meaning you like people regardless of gender. Just how much that difference actually means something is very much up to the individual and both identities are used in a really wide range of ways, many of which overlap. A lot of people prefer one term over the other (often partially due to misconceptions, i.e. a lot of people identifying as pansexual don't like the word bisexuality because they worry it includes only binary genders) so whichever you use is really just a personal choice of which one you feel most comfortable with :slight_smile:

    Edit: from the bisexual manifesto:
     
    #5 tystnad, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2019
  6. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I guess we agree to disagree. The prefix "Bi" means "two" "Biped" = two feet. "Bicycle" = two wheels. "Bifurcate" = divide into two parts. Thus, the commonly understood and widely accepted definition is an attraction to one of two sexes. Without that definition, there would be no need at all for "pansexual".

    The "Bisexual Manifesto" is just some document penned by someone and used by that Bay Area Bisexual Association. It certainly doesn't represent widely accepted and used terminology.
     
    Chierro, StarChaser and Nightlight like this.
  7. DecentOne

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    East Coast US
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I remember the pink triangle. It represented homosexuality.
    I see the “biangle” history, where another triangle was added, slightly overlaid. That other triangle stood for heterosexual (which technically means “different” or “other”).

    That is where the “bi” prefix comes in. The two sexualities overlaid. Same and other.

    That was then.
    I see Robin Ochs definition of bisexuality. I don’t see a male/female binary reinforced. That is now.

    So... no gender binary need be reinforced by the term. Mostly I hear non-bisexual folks wanting to make it about two genders. That’s kind of like straight folks defining what “Gay” really means. Ouch.
     
    Chiroptera, medamaude and tystnad like this.
  8. tystnad

    tystnad Guest

    you’re right - i was just using the bisexual manifesto as one example dating from years ago to show it’s already been used in a variety of ways for a while, not as an invention of the last few years. but that doesn’t mean it’s not widely accepted. many organisations use the “your own gender and other gender(s)” (that’s the two of “bi” definition) or the “two or more” definition (happy to provide you with examples later when i’m not on mobile) and a LOT of bisexuals do not restrict their attraction to only men and women, particularly when they’re actually aware/accepting of non-binary genders and don’t believe binary trans people are somehow not men or women. (though the transphobic version where trans people are excluded from the categories of man and woman is popular amongst certain circles). agree to disagree, sure, but what is commonly understood greatly depends on what circles you’re in, and i’ve seen more organisations (educational and activist alike) use the definition of bisexuality not limited to binary genders exclusively so i’m not eager to accept that the binary definition is necessarily “widely accepted”. the way labels are used in practice is not the same as the linguistic root or a dictionary definition.

    and yeah, maybe that means there’s no need for the label pansexual separate from bi. but let’s not pretend we don’t have tons of words that mean the same thing but are still interpreted differently. labels are personal, constructed for a multitude of reasons including misunderstandings. in my own language, i can’t call myself “gay” without implying i’m male, yet in english that word is widely accepted as applying to women too. yet in english the word gay feels a lot more right for some women then lesbian, for a number of reasons, including things they (fairly or not) associate with lesbianism but may not relate to. there’s also plenty of ways to say you’re a lesbian using other labels that may feel more comfortable to some, such as gynosexual, a word that is used both as just being a lesbian or in a more transphobic sense as being only attracted to ciswomen and excluding trans women from the category of women. labels overlap. sometimes they mean the same to a lot of people but slightly different things to other stuff. they change well beyond their linguistic roots too (or else all of us gay folks would surely be happy?). and as this thread shows, people can use the same label to mean different things.
     
    medamaude likes this.
  9. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    There are a ton of unrecognized terms used by a tiny minority of people, which aren't widely accepted or used by anybody except this tiny group of people. As I have said many times, anyone can use any label they want; I can be 'unicornsexual" if I want.

    But if we are going to have common language, widely understood by the majority of people, then people really ought to be using the language that is widely used, instead of listening to the nonsense of made-up definitions of words that have long existed (which seems to be a trend recently).

    Of course, if we don't care about actually having words that have a common and widely used definition, then I guess it's perfectly reasonable to describe the color of the sky as "bright red" even though it isn't. The argument you are making is no less ridiculous.
     
  10. Mihael

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Messages:
    2,635
    Likes Received:
    509
    Location:
    Europe
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Never heard someone use bisexual as a way to say they are not into non-binary people in real life.
    Pansexual puts an emphasis on being attracted to non-binary and trans individuals as well, but it's so niche that nobody heard of it.
     
    #10 Mihael, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
    Chiroptera, Reviskova and medamaude like this.
  11. tystnad

    tystnad Guest

    that’s a wild interpretation of the argument i’m making, but i have no interest in engaging in that discussion of the word bisexuality any further, so have it, i guess. if you want to stick with a definition that’s not nearly as widely used as you think it is (and i’m not speaking of a small group of individuals or groupthink, i’m speaking of, you know, official instances that provide education, activism, health services, as well as gender and sexuality theorists, you name it) that’s cool. clearly we’re in different circles and value different things.

    i just want to let people know who are deciding on what term to use that linguistic definitions =/= practical usage and that they’re free to use the term they’re most comfortable with, especially if that term is sometimes interpreted as meaning something else purely for linguistic reasons. and more so, i want bisexuals who do not use the word to imply a gender binary to know that there’s nothing wrong with how they identify, and for trans or non-binary people to know their identities are not invalidated because their partner is bi and chooses to be with them.
     
    #11 tystnad, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2019
    smurf, Reviskova and medamaude like this.
  12. Reviskova

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2018
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Up North
    Gender:
    Androgyne
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    im sort of walking on eggshells here, but i never can understand why there needs to be a new sexuality just for people who like trans people. transgender is not a gender, and calling yourself "pansexual" just because you would date transpeople seems sort of... fetishizing or fetishistic to me. (same thing when people single out non binary people like that.) trans people are real men and women, sometimes with different genitals. that doesnt need a new sexuality in my mind.

    i mean, i believe most people come from a good place when they call themselves pansexual, but i honestly believe it is not needed. trans people are still male or female depending on what gender they are transitioning to, so why does it need different terminology?
     
  13. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Right. That makes complete sense that people should use one wacky, inaccurate definition -- that a small group of people who want to feel special have adopted that in no way matches the linguistic roots of the word -- and expect it will be understood by the vast majority of the rest of the world. Especially when this vast majority understands what the word has meant for decades, what the latin roots of the word means, what the overwhelming majority of professionals and the researchers in the field understand it to mean.

    And we wonder why people have difficulty communicating and being understood. Sheesh.
     
    #13 Chip, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
    StarChaser likes this.
  14. tystnad

    tystnad Guest

    i thought this was a support forum, not a place to invalidate people's experiences, and to have an admin say something like this... i'm sorry, i'm going to ignore this thread.

    sorry for derailing the thread a little, OP. Hope you managed to get a little bit of an answer you were looking for, anyway :slight_smile:
     
  15. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    The intent is not to invalidate people's experience, but to focused on evidence-based understanding, which is core to EC's mission. It's a fine line, and it sometimes involves saying things that people may not want to hear, but it's important to the greater community of people to have access to accurate information.
     
  16. grayman

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2019
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Sounds like a fancy way to say bisexual, to me. But I suppose people will use whatever definitions feel suit them. I would certainly date a trans woman, though I don't necessarily have a preference for that. Does that make me pansexual? Eh, I really don't care and I think a lot of people can get really hung up in wanting to define themselves. I don't feel like a "man" or like a "woman" because I just feel like me. I like some masculine things, I like some feminine things. I like men and women. Whatever. I just don't really take a whole lot of time to think about defining myself; I'm just who I am.
     
  17. Lexa

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Belgium
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    In Belgium and Holland Robyn Ochs definition for bisexuality is used by the bi associations and as a result pansexuality is considered to be under the bisexuality umbrella. Using Robyn Ochs definition for bisexuality bisexuality and pansexuality are basically the same thing.
     
    tystnad likes this.
  18. BookDragon

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,605
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I would describe the difference like this:

    Bisexual is attraction to more than one gender, and pansexual is where you are attracted to all genders. So I could be attracted to dudes and non-binary folk and I'd consider myself bi, but I call myself pan because basically it doesn't matter to me what gender someone is. I have preferences, but I don't think they enter into it.
     
    Chip likes this.
  19. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,127
    Likes Received:
    3,001
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    This is the most widely used and accepted definition.
     
    #19 Chip, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  20. tystnad

    tystnad Guest

    didn't you just spend the whole thread defending the idea that bi must mean two, not "more than one"? we're never going to agree on 'most widely used definitions' (because the idea that there is one most accepted definition everywhere, as if words are not constructs that gain meaning depending on specific contexts they are used in and vary throughout time and place, is not one that you're going to be able to convince me off, but we're clearly coming from very different backgrounds where other theories regarding to what is considered valid and real are dominant) but if you can accept all of a sudden that bi can mean "more than one" I'm failing to see the point of the discussion?

    by the way, it was the calling people - some of which are literally in this thread explaining how they describe their sexuality - "a small group of people who want to feel special" that i took offence with, not that there's a focus on evidence-based understanding. Hey, i fully agree things should be evidence-based, which is why I made sure my arguments were evidence based (even if i could not attach direct links because i was using mobile and said i was happy to provide them if necessary, but you really don't need to dive all that deep into the literature to find that the meaning of the word bisexual has been widely debated for a long time in many theorist circles - although maybe not in fields that use more fixed boxes for the sake of their research rather than acknowledging the constructive nature of language, such as psychology, but that by no means means language is inherently fixed). i'm not just yelling out stuff based on observations in my own tiny bubble, and while i by no means claim to know everything about the world or that i'm always right, i do know what i'm talking about. i take no interest in throwing around qualifications because i believe they mean truly nothing if you can't put them to practice, but i also take no interest in having someone dismiss me my saying my argument must be incorrect because you value evidence-based logic and therefore implying i'm just some pseudo-scientist who clearly doesn't understand the value of evidence-based research.
    i really just want to stress again that i think it's unacceptable to be calling anyone "a small group of people who want to feel special", particularly if the group is not nearly as small as you make it out to be (but i'm tired of repeating that because you appear unwilling to even consider the possibility) but even more so if these people are right here, in this exact thread, on a forum that should be a safe space. Using a word, a label, in a certain way that is different from how you interpret it is not the same as providing unscientific, clearly false information. We need to recognise labels are, in the end, words, socially constructed, and not hard scientific truths. Saying "I use the label bisexuality in X way" is not the same as saying "I personally think homosexuality can be cured" or anything else that's clearly unscientific and has been proven to be false repeatedly. These are not people saying "i am unicorn-sexual", these are people saying "in my understanding, the word bisexuality best suits the way i feel, and the word is used in this manner often enough for it to be recognised as such, so it communicates ti others what i want it to communicate in a way that makes me feel best understood." Calling someone a person "who wants to feel special" for expressing their feelings in a certain way is highly unprofessional and it truly upsets me to see an admin use language like that on a forum like this. That's the issue. There's literally nothing constructive in writing people off like that. For the sake of this website, I hope you can at least try to see that.
     
    #20 tystnad, Feb 19, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2019
    Meander likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.