Being pansexual is something I have always known to be true about myself. From a young age I was always aware that my attraction to people is not limited by their gender or sex, but I lacked the words to explain this. At 12 years old I was introduced to the term “bisexual” by a friend, who was attracted to both girls and boys. I finally felt as though I had a word for how I felt.
As years passed, my knowledge expanded, and I discovered the many different gender identities on the spectrum. Pansexuality soon entered my vocabulary, and it has stayed with me ever since. However, with being openly pansexual comes the inevitable questioning. Questions about what it means, if it's a "real" thing, and whether or not it’s a phase. So here are some of the most annoying questions, myths, and misconceptions, answered, so you don't have to ask us. Ever. Again.
1. “Being pansexual is the same as being bisexual – there are only two genders”
Although the terms do overlap, "pansexual" and "bisexual" mean two different things. Bisexuality is defined as the attraction to at least two (sometimes more) genders - not limited to just cis men and women. The prefix "pan" originates from Greek, meaning "all" or "every". Pansexual people are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, sex or presentation. There are several genders, and while some trans people do not fit into the traditional gender binary, some do. So for example, while a bisexual cis woman may be attracted to cis men and women, I am attracted to cis people, trans people, demigender people, and genderfluid people, to name a few.
2. “Pansexuality is just another word for being greedy and promiscuous”
Here's the situation – being pansexual makes me polysexual, but not polyamorous. Just as you can be monosexual (only attracted to one gender) and polyamorous (having a desire for more than one romantic or sexual relationship at a time), you can be polysexual and monogamous. Although even if I was polyamorous, calling me promiscuous or greedy would still say more about you than it would about me.
Pansexuals aren't more likely to be promiscuous or unfaithful than anyone else. Just because we are attracted to all kinds of people, it doesn’t mean we're attracted to ALL people. Sexual identity and sexual behaviour are two completely unrelated things, neither of which influence the other.
3. “You’re confused”
This is my favourite. The people who say it are usually just ignorant about sexuality and gender. Contrary to popular belief, sexuality does not have to be one of two extremes. Rather, it is a spectrum, and there are many sexualities between heterosexual and homosexual. Being pansexual doesn't mean that I'm yet to make a choice about whether I am gay or straight, but instead it means that I'm not restricted in choice of partner because of a person's gender or sex. This isn't something that I've committed myself to – it's just who I am. I have the ability to form connections with people because of their character and personality and who they are at their core, and for those things alone.
Top 20 misconceptions that people believe are true
Top 20 misconceptions that people believe are true
1. Most people believe coffee is made from beans, but experts say they are actually made from seeds called a bean.
2. It is commonly assumed that chameleons change colour to fit in with their surroundings. However, they actually change colour depending on their mood, temperature and their exposure to light.
3/20 Mount Everest
3. Mount Everest is often named as the tallest mountain on earth. But while the summit of Mount Everest is higher above sea level than the summit of any other mountain, but Mauna Kea is the tallest when measured from base to summit.
4/20 Great Wall of China
4. People say you can see the Great Wall of China from space. But Apollo astronauts confirmed that you can’t see the Great Wall of China from the Moon. In fact, all you can see from the Moon is the white and blue marble of our home planet.
5/20 Dog years
5. One human year is equivalent to seven dog years it is thought. Actually it depends on the size and breed of the dog.
6/20 Heat loss
6. It's often said that you lose your body heat fastest through your head. This is a myth, experts say humans would be just as cold if they went without a hat as if they went without trousers.
7. We were all taught the Earth revolves around the Sun. Technically, what is going on is that the Earth, Sun and all the planets are orbiting around the centre of mass of the solar system.
8/20 Taste sensations
8. Different parts of your tongue detects different tastes, right? Wrong. This was scientifically disproved by later research; all taste sensations come from all regions of the tongue, although different parts are more sensitive to certain tastes.
9. Peanuts are thought to be a type of nut, many think the clue's in the name. But actually peanuts, along with beans and peas, belong to the single plant family, Leguminosae.
10/20 Children and sweets
10. Parents often claim giving children sugar makes them hyper. However, this is not the case, most research has concluded that sugar does not cause hyperactivity.
11/20 Human senses
11. Humans have five senses most people assume. It turns out, there are at least nine senses and most researchers think there are more like twenty-one or so.
12/20 Fortune cookies
12. Fortune cookies are coomonly believed to be a Chinese tradition. They were in fact invented by the Americans.
13. When eating sushi most think the word means ‘raw fish’. But sushi actually translates as sour-tasting.
14/20 Viking horned helmets
14. Vikings are often depicted as wearing horned helmets. Yet there is no evidence to suggest Vikings ever wore horned helmets.
15/20 The forbidden fruit
15. The forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is always thought of as an apple. The bible never mentions the forbidden fruit was an apple though.
16/20 Vitamin C
16. Many say Vitamin C is an effective treatment for a cold. But most experts have stated there is little or no evidence that vitamin C can help treatment of a cold.
17. It will disappoint romantics but penguins don't mate for life. Penguins are mostly monogamous, however there are some species like the Emperor Penguin which is serially monogamous, they mate with one couple for the whole season but the next year they will probably mate with another penguin as the urgent need for breeding will make them avoid waiting for the same couple the following year.
18. It is a commonly held view that caffeine dehydrates. While caffeinated drinks may have a mild diuretic effect they don't appear to increase the risk of dehydration.
19/20 Rats in London
19. It is often said that in London, you are merely six feet away from a rat. But this is just a rough estimate as rodents are not evenly spread apart.
20/20 Dark side of the moon
20. Is there a dark side of the moon. Apparently not. As the Moon is constantly rotating on its own axis, there is no area of the planetoid which is in permanent darkness.
4. “It’s just a fashionable thing to say: you wouldn’t have identified as pansexual 5 years ago”
Yes, the rise of awareness of the term can be attributed to the likes of Tumblr, but in no way does this diminish its meaning. Pansexual was reclaimed in the Nineties by people who wish to indicate their recognition of the fluidity of gender, and their belief that there are more than two genders. Five years ago I didn’t identify as pansexual, because I didn’t know the word. It can only be a good thing that people are talking about it, and more people are becoming familiar with a term that explains who they are. Sexuality is not a trend, and there’s nothing fashionable about opening yourself up to prejudice by expressing who you are.
5.“But you've only ever dated men”
People I know question my sexuality all the time just because I've only dated cis men. But this has nothing to do with my sexuality, and everything to do with who I've happened to pursue relationships with. I don't need to justify my sexuality to anyone by dating a woman, trans person or a nonbinary person just to prove that I'm pansexual. The bottom line is, whether or not I've dated people of other genders, I'm attracted to all different types of people. You should take my word on MY sexuality, just like you take heterosexual peoples' on theirs.
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