literally meaning human, human sexual) (sometimes referred to as omnisexuality
) is a sexual orientation
characterized by the potential for aesthetic
attraction, romantic love
, and/or sexual desire
for people, regardless of their gender identity
or biological sex
. Thus, pansexuality includes potential attraction to people (such as transgender
individuals) who do not fit into the gender binary
of male/female. 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.
The word pansexual is derived from the Greek prefix pan-, meaning "all". "All" is specifically in reference to human genders. In its simplest form, pansexuality denotes the potential of sexual attraction to all genders. It is intended to negate the idea of two genders (as expressed by bi-).
Because pan- refers only to human genders, and not to sexual practices or people in general, pansexuality does not signify automatic attraction to all people. Similarly, it also does not signify acceptance of all sexual behaviors, such as paraphilias (for example, incest, bestiality, or necrophilia) or fetishes. As with more common sexual identities such as homosexuality and heterosexuality, pansexuality refers to the role of gender in sexual attraction, and not to the role of sexual acts and behaviors.
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, and not to the pansexual sexual identity.
Pansexuality versus bisexuality
The terms "pansexual" and "bisexual" are not mutually exclusive
. Pansexuality is inclusive of bisexuality (attraction to both males and females) but additionally includes attraction to other genders
such as those identifying as transgender
, or genderfuck
. In this sense, it necessarily rejects the concept of a gender binary
, which some bisexuals may not reject. To this end, pansexuality as a concept has been criticized as a "means to skip the binaries and essentialism of 'bi'." Bisexual behavior can be classified in terms of ambisexuality or omnisexuality. Ambisexuality refers to specifically any bisexual behavior or attitude that acknowledges the sex and gender of a person in bisexual behavior whereas omnisexuality looks at sex and gender as incosequential to the sexual acceptance of another person. Herein is the distinction between and ambisexual and omnisexual approach to bisexual expression.