Pansexuality, or omnisexuality is a sexual orientation, characterized by the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire towards people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Some pansexuals suggest that they are gender-blind; that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. For others, an individual's sex, gender expression, or gender identity can be a key factor of attraction, despite the pansexual individual's wide range of sex and gender attractions.
The word pansexual is derived from the Greek prefix pan-, meaning "all". It is intended to negate the idea of two genders (as expressed by bi-).
The adjective pansexual may also be applied to organizations or events. In this context, the term usually indicates an openness to the involvement of people of all genders and sexual orientations in said organization/event, as well as the pansexual sexual identity.
Compared to bisexuality
Bisexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by attraction to both the same gender and the opposite gender. Unlike pansexuality, it does not specifically include people who fall outside the gender binary. Pansexuality has been described as a "means to skip the binaries and essentialism of 'bi'."
However, many people who identify as bisexual are actually attracted to people who fall outside the gender binary. These people, who could be described as pansexual, have a variety of reasons for identifying as bisexual, including widespread unfamiliarity with the term "pansexual" as well as its negative connotations for some people. Some define bisexuality as "attraction to people from more than one gender". Others contrast "attraction to people of multiple genders" with pansexuality's "attraction regardless of gender".
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language – Fourth Edition. Retrieved February 9, 2007, from Dictionary.com website
- Diamond, L., & Butterworth, M. (2008). Questioning gender and sexual identity: Dynamic links over time. Sex Roles. Published online March 29, 2008.
- Haritaworn, Jin, Chin-ju Lin, and Christian Klesse. "Poly/Logue: A Critical Introduction to Polyamory." Sexualities 9.5 (2006): 515–29.
- "Bisexuality isn't about there being two sexes", The Bisexual Index
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