Pansexual and bisexual meanings
Wondering about the difference between pansexual and bisexual? You aren’t alone. There are a lot of different labels and terms, and they can be confusing for sure.
To make it more confusing, no one says that a person only has to have one label or term. And these can change over time, too.
Some people are so caught up in labels that they forget about what we are talking about here: a person.
Labels for people who are not exclusively attracted to either men or women
There are several different ways that people identify with to indicate that they aren’t exclusively only attracted to men or women.
- sexually fluid
- “not doing lables”
Difference between pansexual and bisexual: Disagreements within the community
There seems to be a little bit of confusion, or disagreements, within the community. The bisexual community doesn’t seem to agree on what exactly it means to be bisexual. The pansexual label was born out of this confusion.
It was created as a more inclusive and more definitive label.
Difference between pansexual and bisexual: What is pansexual?
People seem to agree on the meaning of pansexual: someone who is attracted to all genders, whether that be emotionally, physically, or both. It comes from the Greek root pan, meaning all.
And by all genders, we mean:
- gender non-conforming individuals
Some pansexual individuals may experience being attracted to all people based on their personality, not on their gender.
It’s not that pansexual people are attracted to all people. It’s more like that they find themselves attracted to people of all different kinds of gender categories. The gender category is a non-issue; people are people.
What is the meaning of bisexual?
The “bi” prefix means two. For this reason, a lot of people believe that a bisexual person is only attracted to 2 genders, cisgender males and cisgender females.
Cisgender: people who identify with the same gender as they were assigned at birth
Some members of the queer community don’t believe this label is inclusive of transgender people and gender nonconforming people.
Definition of bisexual from Robyn Ochs
Many people in the bisexual community refer to this definition from Robyn Ochs, who is a well known bisexual activist.
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
“For me, the bi in bisexual refers to the potential for attraction to people with genders similar to and different from my own.
An alternate definition
Gabrielle Blonder uses another definition of bisexual : “attracted to genders like mine and genders different from mine.” Nice, and so simple.
Bisexual means different things to different people
- To certain people, it may mean an attraction to two or more genders, or multiple genders
- To other people, it may mean an attraction to people of the same gender, and people who are a different gender
- Some bisexual people may only be attracted to men and women without being attracted to nonbinary people
Pansexual individuals prefer
Most pansexual people don’t really like either of those definitions. That’s why the term pansexual was born. Pan literally means “all.” This is a much more clear and easy to understand definition.