The gender spectrum is vast. And defining any form of sexuality, gender, or romantic equation in a rigid fashion is a tough job to do. Pansexuality and bisexuality are two of the many identities on the spectrum. However, it is pretty common to get confused between the two, mainly because they both are about attraction toward more than one gender. There is a fine line between the two, and quite a few permutation-combination with genders define them.
What is Pansexuality?
Pansexuality is attraction towards any individual irrespective of their gender. Pansexuals may be attracted to someone from their own gender or different gender, including transgenders and agender individuals. They are open to relationships with anyone from the spectrum. However, it is important not to confuse pansexuals with polyamorous individuals; pansexuals can either be monogamous or polyamorous.
What is Bisexuality?
Bisexuality is an attraction to two genders; it can be any two genders, including the same gender as the individual. Just like pansexual individuals, bisexuals may not have any boundaries when it comes to genders. The only difference is that while pansexuals can be attracted to multiple genders, bisexuals are attracted to only two of the many genders in the spectrum.
Gender Identity of Pansexuals and Bisexuals
Sexuality and gender are two different aspects of an individual. Society has conditioned us to believe that male and female are the only genders and that being attracted to the opposite sex is “normal.” However, the truth is that the spectrum is too huge to put gender identities and sexualities in boxes.
For example, a pansexual person could be binary, non-binary, or even transgender. The same applies to bisexuals. They can also be agenders which means not identifying as any gender. It is important to mindfully identify and respect their identities and choices and not stereotype them to a particular way queer is represented in media.
Understanding Romantic Orientations of Pansexuals and Bisexuals
Being romantic is different from being sexually attracted. Romance is about love, affection, and companionship, while sexual attraction is about physical intimacy. The perception of romance, however, differs from person to person. An individual can be aromantic (no romantic feelings), panromantic (romantic feelings for all genders), biromantic (romantic towards any two genders), and polyromantic (romantic with multiple but not all genders).
A pansexual person may be aromantic, polyromantic, or biromantic and not always panromantic. Similarly, a bisexual person can be aromantic, polyromantic, or panromantic and not always biromantic. Romance and sexuality are two different feelings that may or may not depend on each other.
Pansexuality and Bisexuality in Popular Culture
Bisexuality is a more known identity, and pansexuality is a relatively new term for those eager to learn about the queer community. With more and more celebrities coming out as queer, more discussions and awareness about different genders and sexualities are taking place.
Pansexuals and bisexuals are being understood and respected as individuals rather than being judged for their choices. Demi Lovato and Megan Fox are popular bisexual icons, while Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevingne are popular pansexual icons.
Identifying as Queer
It takes time to identify oneself as queer; breaking free of social conditioning and inhibitions and getting the space to explore is a challenge. Individuals also go through therapy to help identify and accept their choices.
Being bisexual or pansexual is all about being part of a vast spectrum that celebrates inclusivity without judgments. Still, it is crucial to understand the difference between the two and not confuse one for the other.
A clear understanding of the sexuality of an individual makes them feel respected. Also, understanding and support from friends and family only make it easier for them to live a life free of fulfilling romantic and sex life.