Let’s talk religion and sexuality: Bisexuality vs. pansexuality
Logan Field is a freshman at Maryville College and shares her experience with her religion and sexuality. Photo by Clair Scott.
Bisexuality and pansexuality are quite often assumed to be the same thing. However, this is not true. Just because someone identifies as pansexual doesn’t mean they’re bisexual with a broader range to choose from. Pansexuality isn’t the only other term outside the common three, but this article is to focus on how these similar sexualities are independent.
The first thing that needs to be understood about the differences is that the term bisexuality is more common. In my personal experience, I’ve met few people who know what the term pansexuality is and don’t immediately ask if I like pans.
Because of this, I used to explain to people that pansexuality is like bisexuality only without gender restrictions. While this isn’t exactly true, it’s a much easier way for people who aren’t in the LGBTQ+ community to understand the term.
This doesn’t mean that bisexuals only like females and males. Bisexuality itself is a descriptor for someone who’s attractions are not limited to one sex. It’s a term that’s well-known, or at least more so than pansexuality.
Even though they are more recognized, bisexuals are often shamed by gay and straight individuals for not being able to “choose” one sex or the other. Please remember that this is not only unfair but can make an individual feel invalid.
Pansexuality is the clear expression that an individual doesn’t care about gender when it comes to their sexuality. The biggest key to the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality is the focus on gender identity.
The dictionary states that to be bisexual, you feel attraction to both men and women. Pansexuality implies that there are more than two genders.
As a pansexual, I don’t believe the gender binary has only two options. I, myself, fall out of the typical binary by identifying as gender neutral. A pansexual individual has no problem dating or having a relationship with, say, a transgender individual or an aromantic individual.
Bisexuals might also be comfortable with dating a transgender or aromantic person, but pansexuals clearly state that gender plays no role. Now, when I inform someone of my sexuality, I tell them that I can form a relationship with anyone regardless of what they have between their legs. At the same time, I also don’t believe gender is categorized simply by the “equipment” you’re born with.
This subject, along with many others of the same theme, has much more to do with the social aspect rather than the physical one. Unfortunately, this means that topics such as this are slightly watered down with a bunch of social conformities or nonconformities. I like to think of it as progressive.