In a world where sexuality continues to be a hot topic — and something with which many people struggle to identify — there are still terms that most people aren’t familiar with yet. The term “pansexual” is one of those words that may not be widely known, but it comes up often in discussions about the LGBTQ community. But what does pansexual mean? How is it different from other sexual identities like bisexual, queer, or omnisexual? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more!
What is pansexuality and what does pansexual mean?
In short, pansexuality or ‘pan’ means an attraction to people of all genders. While many people are drawn to others based on physical attraction, attraction based on personality, or a combination of the two, pansexual people are capable of feeling attraction regardless of another person’s gender. Now, “pansexuality” isn’t a word that’s used by everyone. In fact, there are many different sexual orientations, and the vocabulary used to discuss these terms varies. You may have heard people refer to themselves as “queer,” “bisexual,” “fluid,” “heteroflexible,” or “homoflexible.” Though these words might seem different, they all refer to different types of sexual identities.
How is being pansexual different from other sexual orientations?
The term “sexual orientation” is a broad term used to describe who we’re attracted to romantically, sexually, and/or emotionally. It describes how we feel about certain types of people: for example, are we more attracted to men, women, or people who don’t identify with either binary gender? Some people will use the term “bisexual” to describe their sexual orientation, which means they’re attracted to people who identify as male and female. You may have also heard the term “queer” used to describe a sexual orientation. Queer is sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe sexual orientations that aren’t heterosexual (attraction to people of the opposite sex) or bisexual (attraction to people who identify as male or female). A sexual orientation that is often confused with pansexual is omnisexual. Even though omnisexuals are attracted to all genders, they recognise the gender of those they are romantically attracted to. Pansexuals are often referred to as ‘gender-blind’, while omnisexuals are not.
How to feel confident as a pansexual
The key to feeling confident as a pansexual is self love and acceptance! Developing a positive identity can be extremely difficult, especially if you are exploring your sexuality. Seeking professional counseling, from someone who is LGBTQ friendly, can help you develop self-acceptance. If you’re pansexual, it’s important to find spaces where you feel comfortable and accepted. You may find that your friends and loved ones are pretty open-minded and accepting, but you may also find yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable, misunderstood and even judged. If you’re ever feeling this way try looking for a support group, they can be great places to share your experiences, receive support, and meet other people who are experiencing the same things as you.
How to support a partner or friends who are pansexual
Whether you want to support a partner, a friend or family member the best way to start is by educating yourself. There are lots of online resources you can consult to learn and understand more about what it means to be pansexual. Be sure to create safe spaces for a partner, friend or family member to express their thoughts and feelings. Try to be open minded and willing to listen without judgment. Another important way to support someone who is pansexual is by recognising their identity. In order to recognise someone’s identity, it is important to leave common misconceptions behind. If you have questions after educating yourself don’t be afraid to ask them! As long as you are willing to listen and learn you are on the right track to supporting someone who is pansexual.
There are so many different labels out there, each with their own unique meaning. If you identify as pansexual, it can feel like there aren’t many people out there who understand you. Being pansexual isn’t as complicated as it may seem. The point of this article is to help educate people on what it means to be pansexual, how to feel confident as a pansexual and how to support someone who is pansexual.
Do you identify as pansexual, or know of someone who does? Have you found this article helpful? We’d love to know what you think! Email us at email@example.com or message us on our Facebook page. And be sure to check out more great tips and articles on our blog!