Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Bi-sexual and Pan sexual

sexualBi sexual vs Pan sexual

There is some overlap when defining bisexual and pansexual orientation; however, there are important differences between the two identities.

Bisexual people are attracted sexually and romantically to both males and females, and are capable of engaging in sensual relationships with either sex. Despite being able to form meaningful, lasting relationships with both sexes, bisexual individuals may, to a small or large degree, have a preference for one sex over the other.

Similarly, pansexual people may be sexually attracted to individuals who identify as male or female; however, they may also be attracted to those who identify as intersex, third-gender, androgynous, transsexual, or the many other sexual and gender identities. The latter distinction is what draws the line between pansexuality and bisexuality. People who self-identify as pansexual do so with purpose, to express that they are able to be attracted to various gender and sexual identities, whether they fall within the gender binary or not. Recognition of the existence of different genders and sexualities is a major aspect of pansexual identity. Pansexual people are bisexual, in-fact; however, bisexuality does not place the same emphasis on sexual and gender identity awareness, but more simply indicates attraction to the two (generally accepted) biological sexes.

The differences between the two sexual identities are undermined by the fact that some people who consider themselves pansexual identify themselves as bisexual out of convenience, as it’s a more widely known sexual identity. In addition, some people who consider themselves bisexual may be open to dating someone who falls outside the gender binary.

Self-perception, rather than objective sexuality, determines which sexual identity an individual chooses to embrace. Simply being attracted to both biological sexes does not mean one considers oneself bisexual. In fact, many people at one time or another will have some romantic or sexual experience or feelings toward each sex, though, most would not embrace the bisexual label. Similarly, being attracted to people who embrace varied identities does not mean that individual will identify as pansexual. There are few organizations which are geared solely for those who identify as pansexual, and many bisexual organizations include alternative identities such as: pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, and other non-monosexualities, so representation and visibility likely also play a part in how people choose to self-identify.
There is some controversy over the two labels, as some in the bisexual community feel as though the pansexual label is a form of bisexual erasure and that the bisexual identity is already inclusive of those who have an attraction to those who fall anywhere along the gender continuum and outside of it. There is a feeling that pansexual people are simply avoiding the bisexual label due to the stigmas associated with it (that bisexual people are simply greedy and promiscuous, and spread disease among both the heterosexual and homosexual communities). Conversely, many in the pansexual community feel as though these beliefs are forms of prejudice and pansexual erasure.
Not only those who identify as biologically male or female identify as bisexual, the gender identities of people who use and feel comfortable with this label vary. The pansexual label; however, is more accommodating for those, regardless of their own gender identity, who sometimes do not fit neatly into the male or female genders, for example, when people who are engaged in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship and their partner transitions from male-to-female or female-to-male. Although, some choose to take on change their sexual identity according to the gender to which their partner has transitioned, an increasing number have chosen to self-label as pansexual, queer, or one of the other non-monosexual identities. The pansexual identity is much more accommodating to the coupling of individuals who embrace various sexual and gender identities.

Many people strongly identify as either bisexual or pansexual, and never use the labels interchangeably. Each community is represented by its own flag, set of colors, and general ideologies. The bisexual pride flag is striped with the colors royal blue, magenta, and lavender, representing same gender attraction, opposite gender attraction, and attraction to both genders, respectively. The pan-sexual flag is striped with the rose, blue, and gold, representing the female gender, male gender, and third-gender, respectively. The third-gender includes those who are intersex, genderqueer, transsexual, androgynous, and other who identify as being both genders. Each flag is representative of the overarching ideologies underlying the bisexual and pansexual identities, with bisexuality indicating the capacity to be sexually attracted to and engage romantic relationships with both sexes/genders, and pansexuality indicating the ability to have romantic attractions and relationships with people of various genders and sexualities.

  • Bisexual is being sexually attracted to both genders, male and female, while pansexual is being capable of having romantic feelings and attraction to males, females, and third gendered individuals.
  • Bisexual identity more so establishes attraction to both genders, whereas pansexual identity more so recognizes the existence of other genders (third genders) and the capacity to be sexually attracted to individuals identifying as these various genders.
  • The bisexual and pansexual communities have their own flags, colors, and ideologies.
  • Pansexual identity is more accommodating for individuals who engage in relationships with people of varying genders and sexualities.

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57 Comments

  1. I would like to disagree with this article on one key point. The ability to be attracted to a transgendered, transexual, intersex person has little to nothing to do with sexuality. I know many straight men who would be willing to date an mtf transgender because they will see her as a woman. I also know lesbians who would date mtf transgenders for the same reason. It’s very insulting to both the trans community and the rest of us to assume that only pans are attracted to them.

    Also as a bisexual I have never felt pressure to identify as either a heterosexual or a homosexual.

    The following is probably one of the best articles I’ve read that explains the subtle differences between these two sexualities.

    http://fuckyeahbisexuals.tumblr.com/pansexualityvsbisexuality

    It’s a very small line and many people don’t even care to make the distinction. I identify myself as bisexual, but I can also see myself as pans, the only real reason I use bi is because it is the better known term. This is true of most bisexuals. The term bisexuality came into existence before gender issues were a heavily talked about subject, thus the term is widely known and used even after we understand the grey areas of gender. One should never assume that some on who identifies as bisexual is only interested in ci-gendered men and women. It really just means the person is non-monosexual.

    I think of bisexual as the branching term for non-monosexuals with pansexuality being sub-sexuality under it.

    • And also lots of trans people strongly identify as one gender or the other. And what about people who identify as bisexual but are attracted more to the person, not to the person’s gender? This article does not mention them at all.

  2. Biphobic lies and nonsense.

    “A bisexual is someone who can put their hand down someone else’s pants and be happy with whatever they find.” – many a true word is spoken in jest.

    There are only two primary sexes but there are more than two genders. This seems to be the thing that many pansexual identified people fail to grasp.

    Not only are many bisexual people attracted to transgender/sexual people quite a lot of trans people identify as bisexual themselves. Bisexual people are not a homogenous group who can all only be attracted to feminine bio women and masculine bio men.

    Pansexual identified people often just come across as very misinformed about bisexuality – as in the article above – (well I don’t know if the writer identifies as pansexual or not but I’m damned sure they don’t identify as bisexual). Bisexuality doesn’t have anything to do with a rigid binary. definition or view of male and female sex and gender roles. Ironically the original meaning of bisexual is: “Having both male and female reproductive organs; hermaphroditic.” And the word is still used in that sense by some scientists – for example marine biologists referring to fish who have the natural ability to literally change their reproductive sex.

    Biphobia specifically means fear, dislike and hatred of bisexuality and bisexual people. Panphobia means fear of everything in general. Pansexual identified people won’t ever be subjected to “panphobia” specifically because of their sexual orientation. They can be subjected to biphobia and homophobia and even heterophobia though.

    True. Many bisexual people feel pressured by both the “gay” & “straight” “communities” to identify as either straight or gay. That’s biphobic pressure to conform to the heteronormative binary system of straight vs. gay that far too many gay and lesbian identified people still basically support. Seriously, it’s not “panphobic” pressure of any kind. So, if you identify as pansexual and not bisexual then you should seriously ask yourself if you’re not just trying to avoid the stigma, lies and prejudice heaped on bisexuals.

    You should also ask yourself am I fighting biphobia or am I actually supporting it somehow? Well you are supporting biphobia if you’re perpetuating lies like: “While pansexual individuals are attracted to men, women, transgender, transsexual and intersex individuals, bisexual individuals are only attracted to their same sex or the opposite sex.” – Seeshh. How dare you? No stars is my vote.

    • Geri got it 100%. THANK YOU, Geri.

      Labels are a problem because most people cannot be labeled with accuracy.
      I consider myself bisexual for simplicity’s sake, just so I don’t have to answer a dozen questions – I am attracted to men and women. I am also attracted to people who are intersex. I am open to transwomen (male to female) who have had surgery but I have no sexual attraction to transvestites/crossdressers (I say open only because I have never actually been with a trans person, but I would totally go for it if we clicked). But I’m not sexually attracted to female to male trans. (not that I have learned so far anyway…)

      In other words, I am more open than what this article describes as bisexual, but not as open as what it describes as pansexual.

      I find everyone beautiful, and personality is #1, not physical/birth sex. I personally believe there are three sexes (Male, Female and Intersex) but I believe people can and should identify as whatever makes them comfortable. I prefer men who dress more “masculine” and women who dress more feminine (ie. “lipstick lesbians”) and yet, I would totally date a male to female as long as she was feminine. I love tomboys, but I don’t tend to be attracted to those who would go so far as to identity as “butch”.

      So, everyone has different preferences and they can get pretty specific.

      It’s important to remember that people’s preferences do change – not because they are confused or don’t know who they are, but because as human beings, we are always growing, learning and having new experiences. I think until someone has been with every type of person, they will never know 100% what their preference is. They will just have a pretty good idea. For many, that’s enough. For others – it’s a wonderful journey of discovery.

      And no, I’m not implying people should sleep around… haha… I am merely stating that all this labeling is pretty much pointless and unnecessary.

      Love is Love,
      -M.

      • I think until someone has been with every type of person, they will never know 100% what their preference is.

        I was with you until this. This is the most erasing thing I’ve ever read. So what? People who never have sex don’t know what sexuality they are? People who never experience a relationship with a trans woman or man are not bi or pan? Lesbians, gays, and straight people are just kidding themselves until otherwise proven? Sexuality is a thing. I know there is some idea that sexuality is fluid for everybody but it’s not. Likewise this notion that most people will be attracted to more than one gender in their lifetime is utter nonsense. I am queer but I recognize that the queer community is very small in regards to the world population. Part of that is non straight phobics running things which makes people less likely to come out of the closet but even if we say doubled or tripled the amount of queers on the planet that still would be a small fraction of the population. I think you are reaching here.

    • Honestly Geri? There is a lot I disagree with in your comment. One, there are not two primary sexes. Many people are born intersex, and its actually quite common. Claiming otherwise is unnecessary erasure. I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it, but it is offensive to any non-binary identifying intersexed peoples.

      Two, please stop accusing pansexual people of being ignorant. Attacking a different sexuality does not make yours seem better, it just makes your bias clear. Pansexual people are not ‘bisexual people in denial/ trying to escape stigma/ confused.’ It’s attitudes like that that really break up the community.

      Three, don’t assume pansexula people don’t face erasure and discrimination. They do. You claim that they can only be “subjected to biphobia and homophobia and…heterophobia”. That is simply not true. Many people do not know what pansexual is or assume it is some truly awful things. They do face pressure due to their identity, and pansexual related phobias are alive and well. It’s simply ridiculous to say otherwise.

      Four, put away the old ‘if you aren’t me, your oppressing me’ argument. By not identifying as bi, pan people are not hurting you. The gay/lesbian community said the same thing about bisexuals decades ago, and it was no more true then than this is now.

      There is a difference between being pan and being bi. Yes, part of it has to do with the gender binary. No, I’m not defining your identity, but you certainly tried to do so with pansexual peoples’ identities. Respect is a two way street, and from your tone and clear bias, I find it hard to lend you any. Beating other people down does not raise you up. I respect your identity as a bi person, but I cannot stand for someone else’s erasure.

      In closing, you have done everything you accused pan people of doing to you, to them. You have displayed significant ignorance and intolerance. Get off your high horse.

      • @ Lee I said: “There are only two primary sexes but there are more than two genders. This seems to be the thing that many pansexual identified people fail to grasp.”

        I’m not trying to erase anyone. I fully acknowledge the existence of intersex and transgender people. I fully acknowledge that there are more than two genders. And I do not believe that all human beings should be legally required to identify as either male or female. Because not all human beings can reasonably be classified as either one or the other.

        However, I cannot acknowledge that intersex people are a primary sex.

        If you can show me examples of living human beings whose biology means they can individually sexually reproduce both as the male partner or the female partner – as some other species can e.g. many kinds of snail, slug and fish – then I will happily acknowledge that there are presently more than two primary sexes in the human species.

        To the best of my knowledge true hermaphroditism in humans does not presently appear to exist i.e. as yet no case of a human being with fully functional ovarian and testicular tissue has been documented.

        • So any anyone who cannot reproduce are not a primary sex? what about infertile people? Just because you cannot creat a baby it makes you not a prymary sex? I will have to make my aunt aware of that Geri, and by the way just because you say you do not want to ‘erase’ anyone doesn’t mean that you are not. I happen to believe that most times when someone says that they are not going to do anything offensive thay end up doing that percise thing. Which is exactly what you did.

          • I believe you are totally misrepresenting what I said and frivolously taking offense just for the sake of it.

    • this is bullshit. I get the points and they are important points, but to tell me, and others, what we can call ourselves and that we’re wrong and you are right, where do you get off, how dare you? You don’t know what my desire is about just because you hear me call myself bisexual. You really really don’t. You have your ideas and I am glad to hear them and discuss them. But don’t judge me until/unless you know me. You don’t. Language is imperfect at best. So is gender … and desires ….

  3. hear, hear, lee. can’t be subjected to panphobia, geri? i’m pan and i’m feeling the panphobic bs flying outta you.

    plus, implying that a heterosexual man, for example, can’t be attracted to transwomen (because they aren’t real women, according to whoever wrote the article) is extremely transphobic. transwomen are women, transmen are men— simple. get over it.

    • Sorry mx punk – but I have yet to come across a pansexual identified person who doesn’t grossly misrepresent bisexuality when they discuss the “differences” between bisexuality and pansexuality. I am heartily sick of being told that as a bisexual identified person I cannot be attracted to transgender people, genderqueer people etc. I can only be attracted to cisgender men and women – Says Who?

      • @ geri: “I am heartily sick of being told that as a bisexual identified person I cannot be attracted to transgender people, genderqueer people etc.”

        you’re the only person who has the right to define your sexuality, geri. i’m with you 100% on this. this isn’t about pansexuals vs bisexuals and this isn’t about defining other people’s sexuality for them (contrary to what the op may believe).

        further more, anyone who thinks that bisexual people can’t experience attraction to trans people is transphobic/cissexist as well as biphobic. binary trans people experience binary gender, so even bisexuals who’re only attracted to men and women can still be attracted to trans people. i’m sure you already know all this, but why not tell other people about it instead of just pointing at pansexuals and calling shenanigans?

        “…says who?”

        says ignorant people. go ahead and educate them– but please don’t trash talk other sexualities while explaining yours. if you want to do something about ignorance, point ignorant people toward helpful articles and books. try sharing your experiences with them, if you feel it’s appropriate.

        fighting biphobia with panphobia is counterproductive to your own cause.

        i mention bisexuality in this article: http://rainbowgenderpunk.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/stuff-pansexuals-need-to-know/. feel free to check it out and let me know if you feel misrepresented by it. i’m sick of the ignorance, too.

        thanks for the conversation. i humbly await your reply (now i’m just being silly).

  4. Okay both of you just shut up please your both ignorant ok and yew stop bombing my kind pansexuality is fun and a “intereasting” experience and you. Shut upppppppppp with ya bullshiz smartass prepy shit bitch talk stoping off vocabulary that yew found on the Internet ok. Yur both annoying as fuck go get a life ok.
    Love. Blakyboo

  5. Erm, I’m not sure this article is quite correct. First of all, is it really necessary for us to attack one sexual orientation in order to make another acceptable? That goes for both the anti-bisexual statements in the article and the anti-pansexual statements in one of the comments.

    In any case, the article seems to take a very narrow view of both bisexuality and pansexuality. No doubt there are pansexuals who fall in love with the person, not the body, but this can be true of individuals of any sexual orientation.

    There are also pansexuals who are simply attracted to individuals of more than just the two sexes we recognize as a society. I do not mean they are attracted to people *despite* the fact that they do not belong to the gender binary. I mean they are attracted to people who don’t belong to the gender binary. Period. No love required (though obviously there’s no reason love can’t be a part of the equation). There’s a blog post that I read recently that I think does a better job of explaining the problem with viewing pansexuality as “the gender-blind orientation” than I ever could here: http://pop-shot.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-does-it-mean-to-be-pansexual.html?zx=366d8a9c4ff65406

    While there may certainly be pansexual individuals who “do not care for genders but only cares for personality” there are plenty of pansexual individuals who are simply attracted to members of more than two sexes, that is, physically attracted, even without taking personality into consideration. I think it does both pansexuals who don’t fit into your specific definition, and anyone who doesn’t fit into the gender binary a disservice to discount the possibility that someone could be sexually attracted to a person outside the gender binary without it being solely about their personality, as though there’s no way someone could find their body sexually attractive in and of itself.

    As for your statements on bisexuals and bisexuality… First off, bisexuality does *not* suggest the existence of only two sexes, just as monosexuality (heterosexuality or homosexuality) does not suggest the existence of only one sex. It only suggests that the person is attracted to two sexes (and there’s no reason those two sexes have to be the ones that make up the societally accepted binary, just as there’s no reason, I would imagine, that a the sex a heterosexual individual is attracted to has to be one of those that make up the binary).

    And there’s no reason a bisexual individual (and while there may be pressure for both bisexual and pansexual individuals to “pick a side” and conform to monosexuality, I’m thinking most individuals who identify as bisexual, you know, identify as bisexual. Not hetero or homosexual.) couldn’t fall in love with (or even be just sexually attracted to, really) an individual outside of the sexes that person is normally attracted to.

    I am attracted to both men and women (cisgender not required, though it often happens that way, just as I lean towards men), and I identify as bisexual. That being said, it wouldn’t be at all out of the realm of possibilities for me to find myself in love with or sexually attracted to an individual who doesn’t identify with either sex or either gender, or with both sexes or both genders. My identification as a bisexual is not rigid, it is just how my attractions have tended to go thus far.

  6. good points, sha. i think it’s important to discuss attraction to non-binary bodies as a potential pansexual experience; too many people erase such attraction when discussing pansexuality.

    i don’t think the author cares, unfortunately. i’m stoked about the link you posted, though. it’s very brain-poking!

    if you’re interested, i wrote an article about pansexuality and i’d love your opinion; criticism cherished. http://rainbowgenderpunk.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/stuff-pansexuals-need-to-know/

  7. Trans isnt a gender its just how people explain they were once this sex and now there another. its stupid how Bi people cant like a trans person when Pan people can. if someones a guy but was born a girl. I see them as a guy and if I so happen to like them, then it doesnt matter. I’m a fucking bisexual and I think chicks and dudes are hot, no matter whats in there pants or what they feel they are.

  8. All baloney.
    There are only two sexes in existence….male and female.
    I don’t care what your internal plumbing says you are….your chromosomes make up what you are. XX=gal XY=guy….doesn’t matter even if you have that plumbing changed. Pardon the crudity.
    Pansexism is a made up word wrapped in pretentiousness.

    • @NunyaBidness – Your ignorance is showing. Care to explain the gender or sex of XXY chromosomed people? Yes, the exist. It’s called Klinefelter’s syndrome. People with this condition are but one of the vast array of options on the human continuum. We are not a binary species, regardless of what your kindergarten teacher said oh so many years ago.

      To the rest – I once identified as bisexual because I was unaware of transgenderism and those that fall within that umbrella description. I’ve since learned much about a once hidden world and loved one that is transgendered. I’ve come to understand that genitals don’t matter to me. I therefore have begun identifying as pansexual. How others choose to label themselves is their business and I won’t presume to educate them on what’s right or wrong. That sort of condescending attitude is only further dividing an already under-served and oppressed population; the B in LGBT. Like it or not, I’ve yet to see non-heterosexual organizations use the capital P.

      In the end, we all, both Bs and Ps are generally ignored by the groups that purport to serve us, because we easily blend in with the Ls/Gs and heterosexuals. We have to out ourselves to be recognized as B or P otherwise assumptions are made. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it to out ourselves to the ignorant.

      The difference between B & P? I believe there is less that the OP thinks.

      • I came across this article trying to find a way to explain my sexuality to people who are are confused by it (I am pansexual AND gender fluid) and was severely disturbed by the articles ignorance but also the hatred, ignorance, and bias in the comments. It’s truly sad that a community that is working so hard to earn respect for it’s individuality is scorning the very people it is trying to protect and advocate for! Di seams to be the only person I’ve read who thinks similarly. I had no idea there was so much hatred for my sexuality in the people I thought was my community until I read some of these comments. There has always been a lot of confusion and ignorance from the outside but I was completely unaware of this hatred brewing. I’ve been accused of being a slut or one that “fucks anything that walks” because of some faulty misinformation on pansexuality, but never have I veen accused of being biphobic or a self-hating bisexual simply because I identify as pans. Pans makes sense for ME more than bi simply because I really don’t look at gender at all (I guess you call that gender-blindness) but someone can feel the same and identify as bi and I wouldn’t be angry or offended. I embrace my sexuality and the name I’ve given it, just as any other human. It makes me sad that peopke would gang up on any sexuality when we are still working on gaining equality from the “heterosexual” world. I really beg you all to look at yourselves and how you are treating members of your own community before you continue this “who is better” argument. It’s called EQUALity for a reason.

    • so you’ve had your chromosomes checked, have you? yeah, me neither. and seeing how people tend to not be attracted to fucking chromosomes, what point did you think you were making?

    • I really don’t think sexuality definitions need be so complex. I don’t find that any label someone uses to define themselves tells me anything about who they are or what they like. I’ve met people who identify as bisexual but only have sex with one specific biological sex and relationships with the other, a m-f transgendered person who cnsidered herself a homosexual woman. Heterosexual couples where each person is tranGendered. Only very recently have I met a pansexual man (which is why I’m here) and he doesn’t describe himself as gender-blind. I accept whatever someone tells me they are without making any assumptions about their sex lives. I hadn’ even thought to describe my own sexuality except to say “I’m open minded”.

  9. If we agree that there are two primary sexes, then I think the bisexual vs pansexual debate is a matter of squares and rectangles. In this case, all pansexuals are bisexual, but not all bisexuals are pansexual.

    • can we not erase intersex people? also, insisting on classifying people according to their “sex” is pretty offensive to a shit-ton of trans* folks. like, you’re just going to insist that nonbinary people are ~really~ “one or the other?” how about we don’t go there.

      • I’m cool with the idea of two primary sexes but multiple genders. How can we have “intersex” without at least two primary sexes to “inter” between? And how can we transition from one sex to another if there are no primary sexes to transition between?

        “primary” is such a loaded word. How many exceptions weakens the idea of “primary?” If the world consisted of all non-intersex men and women, plus one intersex person, would that one person be enough to negate the idea of two primary sexes? Possibly not. Conversely, if we had 51% non-intersex people and 49% intersex people, clearly we would be wrong to refer to two primary sexes. Seeing as we are somewhere in between, it’s a grey area.

        It’s so much fun to argue about semantics. At least we can all agree that they are all wonderful?

  10. If you define a word based on an offensive stereotype about another word, then your definition is questionable at best. The etymological fallacy that “bi means two so it erases the transgendered” holds no water and is the product of people who do not label as bisexual trying to redefine it in a negative way.

    And it does hurt us, because it divides the non-monosexual community, and we require community support to thrive.

    It’s not bisexuals trying to redefine pansexuals, you’ll notice, it’s people who *don’t identify as bi* who are trying to make the bi community look like a bunch of trans*phobic bigots. Imagine what would happen if a small segment of the Lesbian community tried to redefine lesbian to mean “hates MTFs” and pushed to have Lesbian removed as a viable umbrella term in favor of whatever they selected as a more “accurate” definition based on a faulty premise — then you’d find out what pushback really means.

    This article attempts to drive a wedge into the heart of the non-monosexual community. Please stop. You’re hurting yourselves just as much as you’re hurting the rest of us — because you are part of us.

    • ^^^ i pretty much agree with you. my only nitpick is that i don’t think pansexuals are the only people erasing and demeaning people of other sexualities. check out some of the bi people in this thread for receipts; the rift goes deep.

      either way, i’m sick of this argument. the person who wrote this article doesn’t have a fucking clue and they’re playing on the tension in the multisexual community.

      the difference between pansexuality and bisexuality is actually pretty simple: pan people id as pan and bi people id as bi. there’s a lot of overlap between these 2 sexual orientations, but they’re both totally valid.

  11. Taken in the round, I feel this article really does need to be deleted and started again from scratch. The language is poor, it is factually incorrect – not just once but over and over and over – and it lacks any understanding of bi discourse over the last forty years.

    The best answer I’ve yet found to the original question is “it’s the same as the difference between ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay woman’”.

  12. I am 58 years old, and have been bisexual and gender variant all my life, and attracted to all genders since I found out they existed. I am a bi and trans rights activist, and have been for quite a while. I first heard the word “pansexual” about 6 years ago, along with fluid, but didn’t think much about it, just thought of it as another word under the bisexual umbrella (they have come and gone over the years, like “ambisexual,” quite popular at one time, but who uses it anymore?). Imagine how hurt and shocked I was, then, to be watching a YouTube video in which a young woman told me with absolute certainty that, since I was bisexual, I only was attracted to men and women, and I hated trans people. I felt like she just punched me in the stomach – such hatred coming from my own community!!! I wondered who was teaching her these lies. But then it only got worse; a whole pan community developed, who bullied everyone who said we were bisexual, have never listened when we insisted on our own lived experience, and is certain that they know the truth about us. If I say I am attracted to transpeople, and I am bisexual, then I am the expert in myself. The best actual explanation of the difference between bisexual and pansexual is here:

    http://radicalbi.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/some-differences-and-similarities-
    between-bisexuality-and-pansexuality/

  13. Quite contrary to what the article is saying I have reached the conclusion that bisexual people are more likely to have relationships with transgender people than pansexual people are.

    We are certainly not less likely to do so.

    A person who is attracted to the male and the female may actively seek a relationship with someone who is m2f or f2m, or in between / genderqueer.

    A person who is truly gender blind wouldn’t at any time actively seek a relationship with any specific gender surely?

    The vast majority of the population are cisgender and you will not meet new people who are transgender everyday just by chance. So if you are truly gender blind you are much more likely to find yourself in a relationship with a cisgender person.

    No?

  14. We were told in email that this wildly inaccurate and prejudiced article would be at least edited, if not deleted. We’re waiting.

  15. Wow, this is very disturbing to read and I wonder who wrote this. Pretty much none of what is said about bisexuality is correct and, furthermore, there is no need to try and distinguish between bisexual and pansexual identified people. They are basically different terms to describe common human experience. Bisexuals have grown with the understanding around sex and gender and do not adhere to rigid definitions of a gender binary. Far from it. Become informed before you pass along such horribly divisive and incorrect information.

  16. since i seem to be on a comment-spree, i’d like to point out that pansexuality doesn’t fall under the bisexual umbrella any more than bisexuality falls under the pansexual umbrella. bisexuality and pansexuality fall under the multisexual umbrella. so no more of this “pansexuality is a type of bisexuality”/”bisexuality is a type of pansexuality” bullshit.

  17. There’s no way to define bisexuality and pansexuality that will please everyone. Some will be mad because you distinguish between the two, some think there are only two genders and the pansexual label is pointless, some bisexual people think pansexual people are just self-hating bisexuals. Some people believe there’s no such thing as bisexual, that you’re really gay or straight.

    There is NO way to define the differences without royally pissing some segment off.

  18. ok enough bs. It doesnt matter what you decide to call anything others will interpret it to mean something that they feel is correct…and quite honestly people should care less. Its not like it effects the world just the individual. Its sad to see that were in a world where everyone cares what someone else thinks. others do not define you, you define yourself. Call me stupid but do i get upset? no because what you think is irrelevant to me and I for one am sick of people putting labels on anything or anyone. Circumstances are different to every situation, its not something that can be classified. Or understood it just happens and you take a course of action whatever it may be.who are we to judge and define? were all nobody in the grand scheme of things. so that being said later people.

  19. I don’t agree with this article. I think it’s quite hurting for both bisexual or pansexual.

    For me the difference beetween the two is nothing a “it’s this or that”, it’s how people feel it.

    Bisexual is sexual attraction for both gender (whatever they are, what ever they needed to be, and probably the other transgender stuff too). I’m not talking about label but how probably people feel. Then of course, it depends to each people.. Any difference will be more like this :

    “I’m bisexual, I can have sex with who I want”.
    “I’m pansexual, I don’t care about the gender”.

    Sorry, I’m not native english, but this is how I always felt this. Maybe I’m wrong, but this how it was always explained to me.

    (I don’t want to be rude or what with bisexual or saying they care only about the gender, this is just how I find the more easy to explain my mind.)

  20. The article appears to have been considerably edited and revised since I first commented on it.

    I have nothing against people identifying as pansexual unless they do so by misidentifying what bisexuality is.

    • I agree completely. Personally, I identify as pansexual, but I like to think of it as a more specific form of bisexuality. Not all bisexuals experience attraction to people outside of the gender binary- but many do. So I like to say that I’m bisexual, but “more specifically,” pansexual, to let others know that I do in fact identify with that particular aspect of bisexuality.

      It really saddens me that this idea of bisexuality as binary still exists. I like the definition of attraction to “two or more” sexes or genders personally.

      Remember, we define labels. Labels do not define us. Don’t let someone else’s definition of sexuality limit your label use. If you want to use a label, use it. And then tell people what it means to you.

  21. Yawn. Seems like lots of navel-gazing and self-obsession. The point of falling in love is to get over yourself, your “identity” etc. and live for and through another person. Male, female, bi, pan whatever. It’s all good and all irrelevant. Love allows us to transcend ourselves and not worry about how we might ideally “identify”. It’s a question of focus, direction. If one is focused inward, on ones self, feeling, identity etc. that is the opposite of being in love, or even ready for love. If ones focus is outward, caring about how others feel more than ourselves, then love is possible.
    But it ain’t easy. I’m no expert, but keeping (or trying to) that outward focus is my work every day. Wish me luck.

  22. What I think is that this article is a bunch of hogwash. The person puts labels and is obviously speaking from a pansexual point of view and honestly? I’ve been bisexual all of my life. I don’t care about gender whether you are a hermaphrodite, transexual, transvestite, male or female. I don’t see gender. However the writer of this article is severely misinformed as most pansexuals seem to be about the whole bisexual sexuality. I have asked some pansexuals what that word meant to them and they more or less told me “we like both sexes, we’re just not confused like bisexuals.” Which leads me to believe that the same bit of prejudice that they say bisexuals have against them is present within themselves. It’s sorta like the Black prejudice of whites and the white prejudice of blacks. It’s on both sides. However I do not see a difference in the two. Science removed from the equation a bisexual can like any gender sex or type of person EQUALLY and just because they settle down with a man or woman or other does not mean that they prefer that gender over another. And yes lots of Bisexuals end up in steady long lasting relationships even in this day and age. So please do not post anything on EITHER preference PANSEXUAL or BISEXUAL without first being properly educated. I cannot state FACT because I am not a PANSEXUAL I am BISEXUAL therefore I would expect the same from the other. That is unless they are the same exact thing which I believe they are. Nothing to do with any binaries no nothing. its simply how you feel and what you identify with. However LABELS are a PROBLEM that existed since highschool.

  23. I have never heard of any pansexual that wasn’t a teenage girl trying to sound cool, which makes me doubt about the validity of that “label”.
    First of all, sexual attraction works on the basis of physical sex, not of gender identity. Gender identity is in the mind and thus invisible, so it plays no role in primary attraction. If I see a hot guy in a magazine, I’m going to be attracted to him because I like the male body. What do I care if he identifies as female, androgyne, genderqueer or third sex? I can’t see that, I can only see his physical body.
    If sexual attraction didn’t work that way, we wouldn’t be able to be attracted to people that we don’t know personally. Pornography, for example, wouldn’t exist, because you can’t know the true gender identity of the actors just by looking at them.
    Having said that, the physical body of any person has either a male sex, a female sex, or a mixture of both, so there’s no way to be outside the binary. There’s no such thing in nature as a third-sex body.
    Thus the bisexual label is enough to cover all options: they like people with male bodies, female bodies, (and in some cases) inter-sex bodies.

    By the way, straight men have been having sex with trans-women for ages now. There’s a significant amount of trans pornography and prostitution aimed at men to prove that the desire exists. But they aren’t called “pansexuals”, they’re called “pervs”. Could someone explain to me then, why is it that ONLY young girls use this label and are recognized as such?

  24. When you google something, it tells you how many people searched for it in the past (unit of time). I just googled bisexual – 94,700,000 searches. Pansexual – 1,540,000 searches. Multisexual – 515,000 searches.

    Simple reality is that bisexual is the umbrella word, and is here to stay. As I said before, each generation has their word, which is fine, like each generation has their music. But bisexual is the word that endures.

  25. I am somewhat bemused by all of the politics that seem to be contaminating the content of the replies here. I identify myself as a pansexual guy purely because I am aroused by the situation and circumstances regardless of gender. Where as my bisexual and transgendered friends tend to be aroused by a person of various genders. for me that’s what made it easier to not be judgmental about anyone else’s sexual preference. My sexual preference is for people who are very adventurous and sexually charged and I get off on their fulfillment and also I really get turned on by contravening my social conditioning and also breaking away from the social norms that I have been brought up with. This is the sort of attitude that I have in common with all of the other people that identify themselves as pansexual so it not just my own take on it.

  26. my two cents on this is, most if the bisexual men i know number one are married to woman and would never consider marring another man. where being pansexual i would marry any gender any race if they won my heart. i feel the difference between pansexual and bisexual is that although bisexuals are attracted to all genders they tend to be mostly sexual but not comitted to other genders. pansexuals on the other hand will go in any direction their heart leads them. number two lables are bullshit period and only used by people to let others know of their sexual preferences for dating and stuff. and what i see in this discussion is a bunch of bisexulas and pansexuals trying to split hairs and argue. something like witch wars where witches all the same find some trival matter to fight over. i say use the title to what ever advantage you can and quit being biggotts against eachother. it’s a hell of a lot nicer to love each other then to war with each other. we need to set out all who are biggotts and try to put down other people for what ever reason, and stop this crap. >PAN
    ps. this is not just the name i used on here i was named pan by a high priestess so it is my name.

    • Not exactly my argument but I’ll go with it. My problem isn’t what a Pansexual does. I see them both as the same exact thing but then I’ve known pansexual. One person said it turns them on to break away from the social norms they were brought up with and they don’t judge either race. However I see a lot of Stereotyping against Bisexuals. An example.

      Pan posted: “I feel the difference between pansexual and bisexual is that although bisexuals are attracted to all genders they tend to be mostly sexual but not comitted to other genders. pansexuals on the other hand will go in any direction their heart leads them.”

      The problem with Pan’s post: Yes she said that she or he feels that (its in the quotation marks above) However I know from my own experience and other bisexuals I know that this is not a true statement at all. Bisexuals don’t tend to be sexual and not committed to other genders. I know plenty of bisexuals in nice functional relationships. Personally I find stereotyping a any group in general to be offensive whether I am part of that group at any point. Just because I identify as what is called Bi-Sexual does not mean I want the label stamped on me along with stereotypes.

      Pan Said: “i say use the title to what ever advantage you can and quit being biggotts against eachother. it’s a hell of a lot nicer to love each other then to war with each other. we need to set out all who are biggotts and try to put down other people for what ever reason, and stop this crap.”

      What’s wrong with this? Unfortunately labels have been known to lead to stereotyping. It’s something kids are taught in highschool. You think nerd? First thing that comes up in my head is a guy that looks like steve urkel. Meanwhile someone can look like him and could easily be into what is considered “cool” and not by stereotypical definition nerd at all. Or stupid people think all black people eat fried chicken and wear their pants half off their butt. Again the label is provided with stereotypes. There’s actually no way for a label to empower themselves It’s the people themselves who need to empower themselves as individuals not a group. This is just me but I’ve been raised to believe that is the adult mentality.

      Also I don’t see much bigoting. I honestly see people who are upset they’ve been stereotyped and lashing out either correctly or in correctly. But as I said I won’t speak on pansexual except from what I know from experience from the ones I know and even then that isn’t really completely correct because everyone and I mean EVERYONE is an individual.

  27. As a woman that is both bisexual and transsexual woman, I’m insulted, humiliated and oppressed by this discriminatory definition (and by all peolple that support that).

    This definition of pansexuality is TOTALLY CISEXIST AND TRANSPHOBIC (and also biphobic), and people that support it are CISEXIST AND TRANSPHOBIC (doesn’t matter what they are, pansexual, bisexual or monosexual).

    «Similarly, pansexual people may be sexually attracted to individuals who identify as male or female; however, they may ALSO be attracted to those who identify as intersex, third-gender, androgynous, TRANSSEXUAL, or the many other sexual and gender identities.»[sic]

    Transsexual WOMEN are WOMEN and transsexual MEN are MEN, no anything else. And segregating us from the women category or men category and treating us like we were something different from women or men is DISCRIMINATION and EXCLUSION, it’s OPPRESION, it’s denieing us, the transsexual women and men, our sex identity, our subconscious sex: it’s PURE CISEXIM AND TRANSPHOBIA.

    And it’s also biphobic, because this deffinition presuppose that bisexual people (due to being bisexual) doesn’t respect our sex identity, it’s calling transphobic to all bisexual people.

    If this definition of pansexuality is the way pansexual people understand pansexuality, it means that PANSEXUALITY as concept IS COMPLETELY A CISEXIST, TRANSPHOBIC AND BIPHOBIC CONCEPT.

    It’s a shame and totally unaceptable finding cisexist and transphobic oppression in spaces that are supposed to be free from any kind of oppression.

    • pansexual is here to stay get over it, it does not and never has suggested to put down your or anyone else sexuality or to take away from it or add to it. take a chill pill please your going at this the same way and sound the same as the biophobic and homophobes would. only sounds like you are a panaphobe, lol

    • I might not know what Cisexist means but I completely agree with you Ainara I feel that this tells everyone else they are wrong about their sexuality putting stereotypes on people. Whether Transexual, Trangender, Bisexual, Straight, Gay, whatever. No one really has a right to tell us the difference between our groups. I’ve always identified as bisexual because I don’t see race. preference, transexual, transgender, or any of it. I simply see good souls or bad souls and that’s what I AS A PERSON think is important. To say what they did about bisexuality is immensely offensive and to see others defending themselves and being called bigot is actually painful to watch. I see this as descrimination from a minority that is part of the same minority which is not right at all. It’s about as crazy as a mixed white/black person trying to preach KKK values. It just doesn’t fit or make any sense nor does the stereotyping. Plucking from the worst of the GLBT …. DOES NOT make it fact because it is they who make these stereotype’s popular. It’s just my opinion but that’s how I see it.

  28. it never ceases to amaze me how stupid people can get, lol. first there is no argument about sex then someone creates a label or labels to define the different catagories of sex then people use that to argue and fight over the definitions feeling hurt and abused, then building groups of each labeled to war one against the other over definitions and meanings. sounds like a pandora’s box that has been opened. ain’t ya all got anything better to do. i see the same thing happen in all the fourms whether it be political, legal or what ever. why can’t people just learn to accept things as they are anymore and just move on without bothering others. enjoy your life without worrying what others are doing lol

  29. The “bi” in bisexual refer not to gender but to “hetero” and “homo”. Specifically, those of genders like ourselves and those different than ourselves. To insist that bisexual must mean that I as a bisexual am only interested in cis-women and cis-men is incredibly biphobic, and it does no favors to those who prefer the label “pan.”

    Furthermore, while there are intersex and people who describe themselves as not one of the two major genders, this does not include trans*. Trans* men and women are just that– men and women.

    But really, I don’t see a difference between the words, it is as Jen said, its the same as “gay woman” or “lesbian.” Everyone experiences their sexuality differently, and there are plenty of heterosexuals who fall in love with the person and not the body. Its just their innate preferences that drive them to someone with a gender different than their own, even in the personality. Trying to define a sexuality as special because of this is insulting to just about everyone else, saying that their most important relationships is driven solely by the body and gender of the other person.

    In short, this entire article seems to be about creating narrow, shuttered definitions of everyone else sexuality to make pansexuality somehow special and different.

    I don’t get why people like to identify as pansexual (I find the word itself ugly, and the meaning that has been conveyed to me every time is exactly what I understand bisexual to be so…) but they do, they want to. So that’s their choice. Just don’t have a community that defines itself by redefining my community and my identity.

  30. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Pansexuality, or omnisexuality,[1] is sexual attraction, sexual desire, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of all gender identities and biological sexes.[2][3] Self-identified pansexuals may consider pansexuality a sexual orientation,[3] and refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.[4] The Oxford English Dictionary defines pansexuality as, “not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity”.[5]

    The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary, the “notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations”,[3] as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women.[3][6]

    The prefix pan- comes from an Ancient Greek term meaning “all” or “every”. Omni- comes from a Latin term meaning “all”. “Pansexual” is derived from the word “pansexualism,” dated back to 1917, which is the view “that the sex instinct plays the primary part in all human activity, mental and physical”.[7][8] Credited to Sigmund Freud, it is a term of reproach leveled at early psychology, and is also defined as “the pervasion of all conduct and experience with sexual emotions”.[9]

    The conceptualization of “pansexuality” as distinct from “pansexualism” contrasts with predominant prefixes attached to the -sexual and -gender roots. Traditional thought employs the prefixes hetero- (opposite), homo- (same), bi- (two) and trans- (‘across’). A transgender identity opens up a gender continuum rather than a gender binary rubric, but does not discard or disregard the idea of gender altogether.

    Compared with bisexuality and other sexual identities
    literal dictionary definition of bisexuality, due to the prefix bi-, is sexual or romantic attraction to two sexes (males and females), or to two genders (men and women).[10] Pansexuality, however, composed with the prefix pan-, is the sexual attraction to people of all sexes and genders. Using these definitions, pansexuality is different in that it includes people who are intersex and/or fall outside the gender binary.[3][8] Go Ask Alice! states that pansexuals can be attracted to cismen, ciswomen (meaning cisgender), “transmen, transwomen, intersex people, androgynous people, and everything else. It is generally considered a more inclusive term than bisexual”.[8] Volume 2 of Cavendish’s Sex and Society, however, clarifies that “[a]lthough the term’s literal meaning can be interpreted as ‘attracted to everything,’ people who identify as pansexual do not include paraphilias, such as bestiality, pedophilia, and necrophilia, in their definition” and that they “stress that the term pansexuality describes only consensual adult sexual behaviors”.[3]

    The definition of pansexuality encourages the belief that it is the only category that covers individuals who do not cleanly fit into the categories of male/man or female/woman.[2][6] However, bisexual-identified people may object to the notion that bisexuality means sexual attraction to only two genders, arguing that since bisexual is not simply about attraction to two sexes and encompasses gender as well, it can include attraction to more than two genders.[11] Gender is considered more complex, as it includes genetic, hormonal, social, and environmental factors,[3] and there are gender identities that are wholly similar to each other.[11] The term pansexuality is used interchangeably with bisexuality, and, similarly, people who identify as bisexual may “feel that gender, biological sex, and sexual orientation should not be a focal point in potential [romantic/sexual] relationships”.[3] In one study analyzing sexual identities, described as alternative terms for bisexual or bi-self labels, “[h]alf of all bisexual and bisexual-identified respondents also chose alternative self-labels such as queer, pansexual, pansensual, polyfidelitous, ambisexual, polysexual, or personalized identities such as ‘byke’ or ‘biphilic’”.[12]

    Polysexuality is similar to pansexuality in definition, meaning “encompassing more than one sexuality,” but not necessarily encompassing all sexualities. This is distinct from polyamory, which means more than one sexual relationship at the same time.

  31. Everything about not only this “article” but your comments is complete and utter B.S.! The only point I nod my head to is the fact that defining/labelling people is the real underlying problem. Bisexual, pansexual, metrosexual, two-spirited, and every other made up label should be rejected. These terms are not made up by individuals that fall into these certain groups, rather crated by so called “experts”. Seriously, why is this even necessary?! Why do people make such a big freaking deal on the subject? I may not speak for all, but every friend, relative, or co-worker I know who happened to be attracted to their own sex, or both, have never willingly labeled themselves. Why should they? I lived with a trans-gender (m-f) for 2 years, and I can tell you that she NEVER placed a label on herself. Why should she? You know, why should anybody eh?!?! Are we not all PEOPLE, made equal in the eyes of God? So who cares!!! Say what you think you are out loud to yourself, then yell out that you are a person. Which feels silly (or offensive) and what feels right?! Take a deep breathe, and get on with your lives people because nobody but you and your experts gives two squirts of piss!

  32. Pan you call Wikipedia a reliable source of information? Talk about user content. Thing is? Sexuality whether you are into dudes, chicks transexuals, transvestites, transgenders whatever… Guess what that doesn’t make you a pan. I’ve known maybe one person who even identified as a Pan Sexual. And she certainly wasn’t sleeping with more than one person. Though it seems to be what’s implied about Bisexual people in your initial statement. I don’t think anyones giving two flips about your flawwed definition of what a pan sexual is. That’s what pan sexual means to YOU not someone else. But indicating in a very degrading nature of a sexuality you yourself are not part of is rather offensive. And you can give user information that Wikipedia rarely ever cares to check… I’ve found many things incorrect things that have stayed on that site for years… and it still wouldn’t make you correct. Truth is I don’t give two flips about pansexuality but I do take offense to you stereotyping the bisexual community. Now I address the next part to Dave so don’t take offense to the next part.

    Dave I wouldn’t be insulting the writer nor anyone commenting because if you truly thought it was B.S. you wouldn’t have even bothered to comment the thread. Or was a bunch of people calmly discussing something on the internet about labels which you do not care about so important that you had to just pop in say this is a bunch of BS and then claim that you don’t care?

    Uhhh does anyone else question why Dave is here if we need to

    “Take a deep breathe, and get on with your lives people because nobody but you and your experts gives two squirts of piss!”?

    Don’t know for someone who doesn’t care he sure took the time to pop in and have some long winded speech about not caring. Perhaps someone doesn’t know what a debate is and thinks everyone has to be upset and fight when they disagree rather than debate or talk about it.

  33. TO: Author: Noah
    Comment:
    well i hate to piss on your parade but titles as such stated in here are from people who like to define hence definition, wikipedia is just one place for definitions. there are many. you seem to be a self pronounced know it all about sexuality. back off cause you know nothing about me and you wouldn’t have even started this post if you didn’t like to try to put people down so fuck you and your smearing comments. i was only trying to describe what i felt applied to the labels you seem to think yoour so much of an expert on. i am what i am and what i choose to call my self to identify my self to another person who i choose to. call your self what ever you choose but you or no one else on here has any right to label me except me. go back into your hole with your topic and quit trying to be a know it all. people are people and not labels for you to pick up or put down on. you said i implied well that is just another way of saying you are assuming, what an asshole u are to assume anything about anyone. never assume anything of another if you don’t know. and thats your problem , you don’t know.

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