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What It Means If You Identify As Pansexual

Straight-identifying people often think that "bi" sexual individuals are either on their way to "gay" or are simply greedy -- they want it all and with both sexes.

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Attraction is completely biological and cannot be rationalized.

But what about those who are pansexual? If you're someone that has an open mind and finds your fancy flitting after any kind of creature -- you may just be a pansexual.

What Is a Pansexual?

The original word "pansexuality" was credited to Sigmund Freud, who meant it as: "the pervasion of all conduct and experience with sexual emotions." Which means that most anything can be sexual in nature and turn on a self-identifying "pansexual."

Most recently, in pop culture, as well as psychological circles, the term has come to fall under the umbrella of bisexuality and means an individual attracted to male and female genders, as well as asexuals, androgynous individuals, transexuals, cis people, demigenders, gender fluid -- to name a few.

The prefix "pan comes from the Greek "all" or "every" which can be understood to mean "all sexualities" for this term. It's a form of polysexuality -- though not polyamory (which is being attracted to more than one individual at a time).

Embracing the Term

Many individuals who identify as pansexual today would not have previously identified as such. It's a term that was reclaimed and made popular in the nineties, as a way for individuals to embrace the gender fluidity that came from the decades of glam rock before it.

While many are accused of simply adopting the word as a "fashionable label", as a sapiosexual might, the attraction that individuals feel towards others, regardless of their gender or orientation, is a real and felt phenomenon.

In other words, the behavior predates the word. But having a word for it really helps those who have felt this way but at a loss for what to identify as.

In fact, many individuals who might otherwise be cis men or women dating heterosexually might feel a sense of liberation at being able to have a term that helps them recognize who they are and how they feel.

The term may help them "come out" in an easier manner, rather than repressing it.

Attitudes Towards Pansexuality

People who don't understand what it means to be pansexual might misconstrue individuals who identify as such as being "greedy", "confused" or "promiscuous".

They may be seen as simply "widening the net" or increasing their chances for sexual encounters -- after all, goes the logic, if you don't self-select based on gender, then you automatically have a greater percentage of the population you can likely be with, right?

This is a very simplistic and overly-general understanding of pansexuality. Of course, part of sexual identity is quite cerebral and can be culturally influenced and chosen.

There can also be a sense of experimentation, especially when it comes to rejecting societal boundaries and norms, at a younger age. But another aspect to attraction is completely biological and cannot be rationalized or worked out.

The truth is that the only thing being pansexual reveals about a person is not necessarily that they like to sleep around -- only, rather, that they don't discriminate and that gender does not, in itself, act as a cause for selecting people out.

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Image source: vdovichenkodenis -