This morning, as I lay in bed, I was trying to work out the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality. I just couldn’t see a difference.
Fortunately, the internet is full of helpful information and article after article provided me with consistent definitions of both:
Bisexuality - The sexual attraction to two genders/gender identities
Pansexuality - The sexual attraction to all genders/gender identities
I also came across another term which fits in with the above:
Polysexuality - The sexual attraction to multiple (more than two) genders/gender identities.
It is now accepted that there are more than two gender identities (e.g. man, woman, gender fluid, gender non-conforming, transgender, non-binary).
Bisexuality, therefore, is the sexual attraction to only two of these.
Polysexuality and pansexuality were created because the bi-prefix could then be said to exclude the ability of being sexually attracted to transgender individuals or non-binary individuals (in addition to cis-gender individuals).
This all makes sense until you realise that sexuality is NOT about gender.
Sexuality is about sex. It’s right there in the name. Not sexual intercourse but anatomical sex. XX, XY, XXY or XYY chromosomes and the anatomy that comes with those (penis, vagina, breasts, prostate etc.).
In modern society people often use the word gender interchangeably with the word sex; however they are not the same thing.
Someone’s sex tends to be very obvious; they’ve a penis so they’re male (note male and not man. Male is sex, man is gender). Or they’ve a vagina so they’re female.
Someone’s gender identity is hidden, it is, by default, unknown, because it’s a mental belief/feeling. One simply needs to look at the celebrities who have come out as non-binary to evidence this.
Sam Smith - I can only assume has a penis, so you know that they are male. However they do not feel like a man or woman and so their gender identity is non-binary. They are therefore a cis-male who identifies as non-binary. The thing is, you wouldn’t know their gender identity unless they told you it. You would, however, know their sex.
Janelle Monae - I can only assume has a vagina, so you know that they are female. However they do not feel like a woman or a man and so their gender identity is non-binary. They are therefore a cis-female who identifies as non-binary. The thing is, you wouldn’t know their gender identity unless they told you it. You would, however, know their sex.
To argue that sexuality relates to ones sexual attraction towards a person’s gender (identity) is to therefore argue that every human on this planet is, in fact, polysexual.
I am a homosexual cis-male who identifies as a man. I am sexually attracted to other anatomically-defined males. I am able to look at males in porn and be turned on by their bodies, their abs, their penises. I do not look at females and get turned on by their breasts or labia. Many would therefore agree that I am homosexual.
However, if one argues that sexuality is attraction to someone’s gender identity, then I cannot be homosexual.
Statistically speaking I will have been sexually attracted a human being with abs and a penis who actually identifies (unbeknown to me) as a gender other than that of a man.
If, for example, I was sexually attracted to Sam Smith who does not identify as a man, this would mean I am attracted to more than one sexual identity. Instantly, I’m now bisexual.
If I am then also attracted to an anatomical male (abs and a penis), but who actually identifies as transgender (and is simply awaiting surgery to become transsexual), I become polysexual based on the above definitions.
Likewise, nobody can be heterosexual. Countless males, who identify as heterosexual, will have been attracted to Janelle Monae. However now that they (Janelle) have the gender identity of non-binary, those males are automatically attracted to more than one gender identity and are by definition at least bisexual, if not poly.
This is, therefore, why sexuality is not about the gender (identity) to which one is sexually attracted but about the sex(es) to which one is sexually attracted.
Pansexuality can therefore only exist if one is sexually attracted to all sexes. Biologically, as mentioned above, there are numerous sexes (four referenced above), but those with XXY and XYY chromosomes are often not identified because anatomically there is no real difference to those with XX or XY chromosomes.
Aesthetically anatomically, therefore, there is only really male (you have a penis) and female (you have breasts and a vagina). If you are attracted to individuals who have penises, and to individuals who have breasts and a vagina, you are simply bisexual.
Attraction to transsexuals is still encompassed within bisexuality because either they had a penis (which you’re attracted to) and now have a vagina (which you’re also attracted to), vice versa, or they’re mid-transition and perhaps have breasts (which you’re attracted to) and a penis (which you’re attracted to). Therefore bisexuality still covers the sexual attraction to transsexual individuals.