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Pansexual vs. Bisexual: All the Ways to Tell the Real Difference

Pansexual vs. Bisexual

If you’re curious about the line between pansexual vs. bisexual, you’re not alone. This will clear things up and help you tell the difference.

It’s a widely known fact that there isn’t just one sexuality in this world. There aren’t even just two or three. There are TONS of different ways people can describe how they feel about others, and what’s unfortunate about this is that most people only know of a few. The biggest debate between sexualities seems to be the pansexual vs. bisexual one.

But it really seems to be the rest of the world who debates it, not the pansexual and bisexual people themselves. Most people are confused as to how they differ, and truthfully, it’s understandable.

You love who you love

Before we get into definitions of pansexual vs. bisexual, we should first acknowledge that sexual identities don’t really matter much.

I mean this to say, yes, they matter for the person and who they love, but they don’t truly matter to anyone else. Who someone else loves shouldn’t make a difference in the way we see them at all.

You love who you love and that should be that. With the world becoming more accepting of different sexualities, it’s easy to mistake a curious person for a skeptical one. Just remember that sometimes, people just want to understand and they don’t want to criticize. [Read: Pansexual confessions – What is it like to be one?]

Definitions of pansexual vs. bisexual

Contrary to popular belief, they’re definitely not the same thing. Although these two sexualities may be similar, they’re very different. And knowing the difference can help you better understand an individual and who they are. It’ll also help you not mistake one for the other and offend anyone.

If you – like so many out there – are unsure how the two differ, I’m here to help. These are the main differences between pansexual vs. bisexual. Maybe this can help you decide what to identify as or help you understand someone a little better and who they love.

Bisexual

This is probably the sexuality you’re more familiar with out of the two. It’s really one of the “original” sexualities we learned about when we thought there were only three different kinds: straight, gay, and bisexual. But there’s more to it than just that. Here’s what you should know about bisexuals. [Read: 9 clear ways to tell for sure is someone is really bisexual]

#1 The “bi” comes from liking two different genders. When this term first came about, people described their feelings as liking both men and women. That’s where the “bi” comes from because it means “two.” Bisexuality is when you like your own gender and the other gender.

#2 But they can like more than two genders. However, if you like your own, and more than one other gender, you can still use this term to describe your sexual preferences. Since there are a number of different genders out there, people can like more than two, but not all of them – like pansexuals.

#3 No, they’re not just “confused.” Many people out there don’t believe bisexuality is a real thing. They think that those people are just confused as to what they want and don’t want to identify as homosexual. That’s false. Bisexuals know what they want, and what they want is their own gender and other genders. [Read: 10 things women need to know about dating a bisexual man]

#4 Some pansexuals identify as bisexual because it’s easier to understand. Although the two are different, most people aren’t familiar with what pansexuality is. Therefore, in order to help people understand them better, they just refer to themselves as bisexual – which isn’t exactly false.

#5 No, it’s not all about the body. Some people say that bisexuals are all about the body parts and pansexuals are all about the soul/core of a person. Obviously, bisexuals care just as much about the person behind the body. They are just only attracted to two or more genders, but not all of them. [Read: Sexually fluid – What does this even mean in the dating world?]

Pansexual

This is a sexuality that is relatively new when it comes to actually naming it. Many people have obviously felt this way before, but didn’t have a word for it. If you’ve never heard of it, or are curious as to what it means, this is what pansexual means.

#1 They like more than one or two genders. Pansexuals differ from bisexuals because they like more than two genders. They like their own gender, plus the opposite, and all the genders in between. They even like nonbinary genders, and even those who don’t believe in genders at all. [Read: Dating a bisexual – 12 things you should never say]

#2 In fact, they like all of them. That being said, they like all the genders. That’s what makes pansexuals different. They don’t just prefer a couple genders, but they have the potential to like every single person and be attracted to them no matter what gender they identify as – if any.

#3 It’s a broader spectrum. It’s not as limited as bisexuals. Like I mentioned above, they like ALL genders and everybody. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re attracted to every single person they see, just like straight people aren’t attracted to every single person that’s not their gender. But they have the potential to. [Read: Am I lesbian or bisexual? How to understand your true desires]

#4 It’s more about the person at their core. People say pansexuals care less about the body the person is in and more about the person. This is the best description you can find about a pansexual. The other person’s body is irrelevant to them, and if they’re attracted to the person, they’re attracted to the body.

#5 Not all are “gender blind,” though. Some say pansexuals are gender blind, and therefore, cannot see a person’s gender. While some are, others are not.

Some do acknowledge the gender of someone they like, it just doesn’t make a difference in their feelings for them at all. In fact, it’s only relevant to the other person, and doesn’t matter so much to a pansexual even if they acknowledge it.

[Read: The definition of Queer – What does the Q in LGBTQ really mean?]

Overall, the pansexual vs. bisexual debate isn’t that difficult. The two sexualities are very similar, yet different. Think of them as an umbrella where bisexual is the actual umbrella and pansexuality falls under it. They’re in a similar category, despite being much different.

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Bella Pope
Bella Pope
Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...

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