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What Is Pansexual? 7 Things You Should Know

Pansexuality has been thrust into the spotlight over recent years, largely due to a slew of celebrities announcing their pansexuality. To help shed some light on the subject, we answer seven common questions about pansexuality.

1. What Exactly Is Pansexuality?

Oxford Dictionaries defines pansexual as, ‘Not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.’

In truth, many pansexuals and organisations have their own definitions for the term.

Typically, it can be described as someone attracted to people regardless of gender or sexual self-identification.

2. Is Pansexual the Same as Bisexual?

According to research published in The Journal of Sex Research, ‘The majority of pansexual individuals demonstrated sexual orientation indices within the bisexual range.’

Despite the similarities, pansexuality and bisexuality are not the same thing.

Again, definitions vary depending on who you ask, but it appears people who identify as pansexual want to be clear that they are attracted to all genders, including non-binary ones.

The hint is in the prefix. ‘Pan’ comes from the Greek word for ‘all’, while ‘bi’ comes from the Latin word for ‘two’.

3. Are Pansexuals Attracted to Everyone?

This seems to be a common misconception. Pansexuals are not attracted to everyone they meet.

Rather, they can be attracted to a person without gender or sex being a factor in the attraction.

If you are still confused, consider that a heterosexual person is not attracted to every member of the opposite sex.

4. Do Pansexuals Have Relationships?

Identifying as pansexual is not indicative of a preference in relationship status.

It simply acts as a term that people can use to express their views and preferences on attraction to other people.

So yes, pansexuals do have committed relationships.

5. Is Pansexuality a New Term?

While pansexuality has only recently become a more well-known term, it is in fact fairly old.

Sigmund Freud is credited with first using the term pansexual in 1917, although he used it with a very different meaning.

Some of the term’s new-found popularity is likely due to its apparent appeal to the younger generation.

A study found that people who identify as pansexual tend to be younger than those who identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual.

6. What Demographic Is Most Likely To Identify As Pansexual?

As previously mentioned, people who identify as pansexual are largely from the latest generation.

Which does not mean that older people do not identify as pansexual. It is more of a reflection of the latest generation’s more open attitudes towards gender and sex.

According to a study by trend researchers, 48% of 13- to 20-year-olds identified as completely hetereosexual, compared to 65% of 21- to 34-year-olds.

Additionally, research found that people who identify as pansexual were more likely to be non-cisgender (i.e. not identifying with the gender assigned at birth), and cisgender women.

7. Which Celebrities Are Pansexual?

The latest celebrity to come out as pansexual is Brendan Urie, lead singer of the band Panic! at the Disco.

Moonlight actress and Grammy-nominated singer Janelle Monáe, pop star and The Voice judge Miley Cyrus, singer-songwriter Sia and Orange Is the New Black actress Asia Kate Dillon are just a few of the celebrities representing pansexuality.

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