If you have come across the word pansexuality, you might be wondering what exactly does it mean?
If you have googled and read its definition from Wikipedia, you might know how to define it. Even then, a lot of questions go unanswered.
Pansexuality became a household term when several celebrities began identifying themselves as pansexual in the last few years. But, that is just one side of the story. Even now, several people are trying to figure out what pansexuality means to them and not to the Internet or any dictionary. It is because the concept of sexual orientation is way more complicated than we think.
Whether you are a pansexual or not, knowing how to embrace pansexuality can be highly beneficial for you in the long run. Here are different ways through which you can achieve it.
When we look at the origin of pansexuality in the early 20th century, it was a term under psychoanalysis¹. To be precise, it first appeared as pansexualism in the Journal of Abnormal Sexuality.
Back then, pansexuality had an entirely different meaning. In 1952, the Church also presented pansexuality as a concept that goes beyond Christian values. However, it was only after the 1990s that pansexuality started to gain acceptance, and the understanding of pansexuality as a concept changed.
Pansexuality², in simple terms, brings in a wide array of sexual experiences. Besides, it is a concept that grew out of activism and became a part of sexual fluidity. Pansexuality is a form of identification where a person is attracted to people of all genders. Here, this attraction moves beyond reasons that are independent of gender.
During this time, pansexuality had a close association with BDSM and kink communities. It is because of the divergence of pansexuality from the traditional forms of sexual behavior or the so-called vanilla sex.
As of now, things have changed, and pansexuality is not just a term associated with BDSM and kink. Nowadays, the meaning of pansexuality has multiple nuances and definitions.
Each individual has the right to come with their understanding and identification of pansexuality. Since gender is fluid, pansexuality provides you with the opportunity to embrace that fluidity. You don't have to stick to a stipulated definition or understanding of pansexuality. Here, you can curate one that helps you to be you. It is yet another way to embrace pansexuality or, for that matter, any form of sexual orientation.
You might take time to understand your sexuality. It is because each person has a different journey altogether. Sometimes, you might be in a stage of confusion and might even find it a challenge to accept your sexual orientation. It can happen due to different reasons. They include peer pressure, lack of awareness, understanding, etc.,
If you are trying to understand and support someone who is pansexual, you might also take time. For instance, the person can be your partner, friend, parent, child, sibling, or someone close to you. Even though you will be supporting them, you might find it challenging to accept the change right away.
It is when you have to remember that you don't have to be so hard on yourself, and everyone will make mistakes. But, the most crucial factor here is that you are trying, and you should not stop doing it. With time, you can gain a better understanding of pansexuality and other sexual orientation.
There is no clear-cut definition available for pansexuality. Even though several books and dictionaries have defined the term, it only provides a basic idea of what pansexuality means. You can always create your definition of pansexuality as each person can form their take on their sexual orientation.
Besides, you don't have any obligations of explaining your sexual orientation to others. However, you can do so based on your preferences. Sometimes, you might want to explain your sexual orientation to your romantic partner to ensure that you are on the same page.
Sometimes, you might even have confused pansexuality with bisexuality. Even though both are different, pansexuality and bisexuality are mutually exclusive. Many bisexuals identify themselves as pansexuals, and it happens vice versa as well. Besides, pansexuality is also a term that comes under the umbrella of bisexuality.
However, the uniqueness of pansexuality is that a pansexual doesn’t alienate anyone in their sexual explorations. Most importantly, you have to remember that pansexuality is just a part of who you are. The individual can be from any walk of life, for that matter.
If you are working on your sexual orientation, you might find it challenging, especially while young. Peer pressure, bullying, abuses, and other such issues can have a drastic impact on your mental health and well-being. Hence, you have to focus on yourself and stay connected with people who support and understand you.
Here, you can take support from organizations in your school, college, or community as well. There are organizations like LGBT Foundation³ and others that assist pansexuals. Besides, if you can offer support to others in need, don't hesitate to do so.
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