Pansexual / bisexual, etc.

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Packard

Senior Member
USA, English
Context:

I came across "pansexual" in an article that appeared on my AOL news account.

The music star and actress Janelle Monae came out as pansexual in Rolling Stone's May 4, 2018, issue cover story. "Being a black queer woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women, I consider myself to be a free-a-- motherf-----," she said. Janelle initially described herself as bisexual, the magazine reported, but later decided she preferred the term pansexual,


Question:

How does "pansexual" differ from "bisexual" (assuming that no animals are involved).

From Google definitions:

pan·sex·u·al
panˈsekSH(əw)əl/
adjective
  1. 1.
    not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Homosexual = Janelle with a woman
    Bisexual = Janelle with a man or woman
    Pansexual = Janelle with anybody: man, woman, transgender, intersex, transsexual, inflatable doll... :rolleyes:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Homosexual = Janelle with a woman
    Bisexual = Janelle with a man or woman
    Pansexual = Janelle with anybody: man, woman, transgender, intersex, transsexual, inflatable doll... :rolleyes:
    An inflatable doll would fall under the heading of Onanism. I'm not sure what "intersex" is; I will look it up. A transgender is either a man or a woman, so how does that widen the field over bisexual.

    As long as it does not involve other species, I don't see it having any difference in meaning.

    Addendum: Intersex seems to mean androgyny from what I read online.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Pan" as a prefix usually means "all".

    Janelle initially described herself as bisexual, the magazine reported, but later decided she preferred the term pansexual,
    It does not say there is a different meaning. It says she prefers the term.

    Currently some activists are promoting the idea that "gender" has many variations, not just two. These activists pressure the media and everyone else to accept their ideas as "the only acceptable politically correct ideas". Activists always do this, and every year there are a new set of "PC rules" that are supported by some people.

    Janelles changing her words from "bi" to "pan" may simply be a way to please these activists.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ...As long as it does not involve other species, I don't see it having any difference in meaning...
    Ah, Packard, you analyse with the pure light of reason, but it doesn't work like that.

    Suppose that Marcia (a.k.a. Mark, 99% heterosexual man, transvestite) feels himself to be female only when cross-dressed. So on Monday he has sex with Alex (formerly Alice, female-to-male transsexual, not operated) who now dresses 98% of the time as a man. Later in the week he has an erotic but non-penetrative interlude with Fleur (bisexual man, transvestite) during which they are both dressed as women. Then, two weeks later...

    You may say that all of these encounters are either hetero- or homosexual, but what happens with the body may be far removed from what happens inside the head, and the people's real experience may not match the physiological theory. You see why Janelle might prefer to say "To hell with the categories, I've decided I prefer the term pansexual?"
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Yes, I think that pansexuality is much more comprehensive than mere bisexuality. A bisexual is attracted to both sexes, but a pansexual might be attracted to much more, as in this OED example:
    We might be especially suspicious..given Rousseau's own apparent pansexualism; Rousseau's texts are littered with menages-a-trois, homosexual encounters, orgasmic responses to nature and to beatings.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Keith, isn't there a difference between "transsexual" and "transgender"? Uness I'm mistaken (always quite possible!), the former is someone who has undergone a series of operations to transform their body to that of a person of the other sex from that of the sex they were born with, and a "transgender" is someone who thinks they are of the other sex than the one of the body they were born with, but still has their 'original' body.
     

    cointi

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I definitely see why some folks might want to describe themselves as pansexual.

    When you acknowledge that many do not feel themselves to fall within either of the traditional binary categories, the term "bisexual" becomes inaccurate, as it technically describes being attracted to two genders. When you consider all the possible combinations of biological sex, cultural gender and sexual orientation(*) that may describe a person (say we have a human who is biologically male, culturally more on the female side, and sexually is attracted [most of the time] to males), the word "pansexual" seems accurate to describe someone who doesn't feel that either of those should be a focal point in their choice of a partner.

    (*) And here we have to remember that neither of these categories is binary, as we have e.g. intersex people, gender fluid people and bisexual people.
     
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