Definitions of Bisexuality, Pansexuality and Polysexuality by Eliana

dictionary post

Alright everyone, buckle in. I’m going to explain the differences between bisexuality, pansexuality, and polysexuality. There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the last two, and that’s fine. Neither had I, before this year. But don’t worry: I’ve done my research.


The first thing you need to know is that there are a variety of genders. Yep, not just male and female. Some people feel like they are a mix of the two, male one day and female the next, or even neither. If your gender matches your physical sex, you are cisgender. If not, you’re transgender. (Side note: FTM or MTF are not separate genders from male and female. If someone is female, they are female, and vice versa. This is not decided by physical sex.)


The next important thing is this: the generally accepted definition of bisexuality (being attracted to both men and women) is outdated and binarist. The new definition is this: bisexuals are attracted to the same and different genders. Therefore, a male bisexual would be attracted to males and non-males. However, not necessarily all genders, and that is ok. Where it isn’t ok is when someone says they’re attracted to cisgender females/males but not transgender females/males.


But anyway, on to pansexuality and polysexuality. The prefix ‘pan’ means ‘all’, as in ‘pansexuals are attracted to all genders’. Pretty simple. The prefix ‘poly’ means ‘multiple’ or ‘many’, as in ‘polysexuals are attracted to multiple genders’, though again, not necessarily all. I had it explained to me as “[They’re types] of bisexuality, like how a square is a type of rectangle.” That is to say, both pansexuality and polysexuality are under the bisexual umbrella.


And that’s basically it. Bisexuals like the same and other genders, polysexuals like multiple genders, and pansexuals like all genders. People can even identify as a blend of the three. It really all depends on you. I hope I was able to teach you something, and remember to respect everyone’s identity and orientation!

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