As our understanding of sexuality and gender progresses, new terms and identities are emerging. One term you might have come across recently is pansexuality. Whether you're trying to better understand your own feelings or are simply curious about the topic, let’s explore pansexuality.
What is pansexuality?
Pansexuality refers to the potential for sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity. This means a pansexual person might be attracted to someone who identifies as male, female, transgender, non-binary, or any other gender. In short, it means that gender is not a limiting factor in attraction.
How is pansexuality different from bisexuality?
While both those who identify as pansexual and bisexual are attracted to more than one gender, bisexuality indicates attraction to both men and women. Pansexuality, on the other hand, emphasises the potential for attraction to all gender identities. However, it's important to note that labels are personal and people might identify with a term that feels most authentic to them outside of these definitions. Taking the time to understand what someone’s identity means to them on a personal level is a great way to be an ally.
How do I know if I'm pansexual?
Sexual orientation is deeply personal, and only you can define your feelings and attractions. It's up to you which label you decide on (if any) and whether you want to disclose your sexuality with. It’s also normal for your identity to change over time. You might want to explore our guide on figuring out who you are if this is something you’re struggling with.
Here are some things to think about when considering your sexual identity:
Your spectrum of attraction
Do you tend to find yourself being consistently attracted to a particular gender/s? How broad is this spectrum? Does it often change?
Your personal identity
Does the label 'pansexual' feel right or resonate with you? If not, is there another identity that sits better? Or maybe you don’t want to choose a label at all – it’s up to you how you identify to others.
If you're feeling confused about your identity, it can be helpful to talk to a relationship counsellor. All our counsellors are trained in LGBTQ+ issues and are ready to support you.
How can I communicate my pansexuality to others?
Coming out or sharing your identity can be a deeply personal journey, and everyone's experience is unique. Telling others can be really affirming for some, while for others, it may bring up doubt and fear. It’s up to you if or when you tell others about your sexuality, based on what feels right to you.
Here are some ways to help it be a positive experience when you’re ready:
Plan what you want to say
If you feel nervous, knowing what you want to say can help to reduce any nerves and ensure you say everything you want to.
Choose the right time
Find a quiet, private moment where you feel safe and comfortable to talk openly.
Express your feelings and experiences openly. Some people may not have heard of pansexuality before so being able to answer any questions honestly can help to get them up to speed.
Consider joining local or online LGBTQ+ communities for support and a feeling of togetherness. Being around like-minded people can really help you to accept your new identity and feel confident talking to others about it.
Remember that pansexuality is a valid sexual orientation. As with all identities, it's essential to approach the topic with an open mind, compassion, and a willingness to learn.
How we can help
If you’re looking for support with your relationships, we can help. We offer a range of ways to speak with a trained relationship expert including ongoing counselling, 30 minute web and phone chats, and one session therapy.
How you can help
Have you found this advice helpful? Make a donation to help us reach more people and continue supporting the nation’s relationships:
Can't afford to donate? We understand. Instead, we ask that you leave us a 5 star review on Trustpilot.