Pansexual is a word gaining popularity in recent years that helps to better describe a certain sexual identity. Pansexuals are people who feel that they are capable of being attracted to any person, no matter the biological sex or gender identity of that person.
The term pansexual is partly derived from the Greek prefix “pan,” which means “all.” The word was created for those who identify themselves as being spiritually, emotionally, and sexually capable of being attracted and falling in love with people of any gender.
Some people may confuse pansexual with bisexual. A bisexual person is someone who feels they are capable of being attracted to or falling in love with people who are male as well as people who are female. But a pansexual may be open to a relationship with not only a male or female, but also someone who might be intersex, transgender, or a gendered/genderqueer.
Essentially, a pansexual person would be open to a relationship with a person of any gender identity or biological sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they “like” everyone, as some pansexuals do have physical preferences when it comes to choosing partners. Pansexuality is just a way of expressing a person’s openness to people of any gender.
For example, a woman may consider herself a pansexual, yet may have a preference for having male partners. Or she may like to have physical encounters with a variety of genders, but prefer to have female domestic partners. Pansexuality doesn’t identify a particular preference, but merely having a flexible perspective.
Sometimes loved ones may confuse pansexuality with polysexuality. While there can be some overlaps, a polysexual may be attracted to a variety of genders, but may not be attracted to certain other genders. Since poly means “many,” while pan means “all.” So a polysexual would be someone who could be attracted to many genders, but possibly not all genders. Pansexuals, on the other hand, are open to any person of any gender or sex.
A label of pansexuality allows for more fluidity, especially when it comes to those who do not fit neatly into a particular gender. For example, when a person’s partner transitions from female to male, or from male to female, a pansexual label may better describe one’s gender identity than would a label of a monosexual identity.
Therefore, pansexuality can better express the romantic and sexual attitudes of those who are open to embracing relationships with people of a variety of gender identities.