I’m going to personally argue that pansexuality might vary a little bit in meaning to the individual, because I can’t necessarily find one definition that makes me snap my fingers and yell “that’s it!” But, I think having to define every little bit of yourself might be a problem in and of itself.
However, this definition of pansexuality causes a snap from me more than others:
“A form of sexuality often confused or intermeshed in definition with bisexualaty (an attraction towards both physical sexes: male and female). Pansexuality is, in truth, a much broader form of sexual orientation, in which the pansexual individual experiences sexual attraction towards members of ALL genders (not to be confused with sexes, which is purely physical–gender has to do with the psychological), including transgender, transsexual, cross dressing, androgyne, androgen, two-spirited, gender-fliud, and all other variety of gender identitfications, as well as those who do not feel that they have a gender.”
So tl;dr, “hearts before parts.”
I identify a lot with this particular saying because I also self identify as sapiosexual, which usually comes across as incredibly pretentious, but to me the mind of another human is what I find the most “sexually” attractive part about them. As in, I don’t find people necessarily attractive until I get to know them. As in, there is no sexual drive whatsoever at first, period. This actually was largely one of the things that caused me a lot of weird stress and self conciousness in high school and college.
I’d like to share the beginning of my own personal understanding of identifying myself as pansepiosexual (yes I’ve made this one up for myself), because it wasn’t until only just a year and a half ago that I realized I was, my whole life. In fifth grade, I watched two important animes that shared a similar theme; love is love. I remember sobbing and nodding in agreement and being extremely confused as to why two people who loved each other had to feel like they couldn’t, or even much worse, shouldn’t, in the “real world.”
There was a quote in one of them by the female protagonist who accidentally has her first kiss given by another female identifying individual because she mistook the protagonist for a boy, which caused embarrassed commotion from their friends, says “I don’t mind that my first kiss came from a girl, she’s a wonderful person and I’m lucky to have shared that with her.” She was also a character that didn’t ever make a big deal for being mistaken as a boy, because she was happy just doing her thing.
What I’m getting at, is 11 year old me was clapping enthusiastically for these characters and their reasonings because I found them at the time very endearing and wonderful. However, it wasn’t until high school and college that I started to look back on these evoked emotions and realized I appreciated them so much because I discovered that was how I loved.
On top of being painfully shy with any sort of romantic advances or situations, I found myself feeling very left out because I didn’t date. The people I dated before my first serious relationship, I only dated because I felt pressured to. I struggled immensely with liking anybody, and I was always teased for it, but 15 year old me thought something was wrong. Why didn’t I ever want to date anyone? Or even experience kissing someone, or anything?? Towards the end of my junior year, I did for the very first time in my life, find someone’s physical features attractive enough to spark an interest to do something (after more pressure) and thankfully it turned out great. After knowing this person, and falling in love for the first time with someone’s mind, I didn’t think something was wrong with me anymore.
Until college, when that relationship ended and I found myself in the similar situation I did in high school. Why wasn’t I experiencing my college years the way I perceived at the time, that I should be, in regards to my romantic and or sexual experiences? I didn’t want to date anyone, I didn’t want to hook up with anyone, because every time I did I was incredibly saddened, and confused.
I had sex two people in college solely because I felt out of place that I wasn’t. After the second one, I started to realize something. There was a person, that I found myself imagining what it would be like to hold and care for; despite my understanding of identifying as “straight” my entire life. I mistook it as a “girl crush”, but when this person became vulnerable and opened her heart to me I realized that I actually was falling for her before I even knew it. I’d had gotten to know her as a friend, and I day dreamed about what it would be like to date her more than anyone else I tried to actually date in college. Then I started to notice all the little things, my celebrity and anime crushes were actually 85% female, I referred to my future spouse as they, them, their, and “I’d love a partner who…,” not a bf/gf , and that the next time I fell in love it wouldn’t be from a result of pressure, but because their mind and heart was the most interesting, thought-provoking, inspiring and engaging one I’ve ever known.
When I started to understand a year and a half ago that I had actually fallen in love with people’s hearts despite their gender or sexes, it was one of the most grand self awakening discoveries I’ve ever had about myself. I read other blog posts about pansexuals and it was wonderful to be able to say for the first time, “hey, wait a minute that is me!” Now I know now it takes a lot for me to want to pursue anyone romantically, and even more so sexually, to give and receive fairly and justly, but that’s the journey I’m on. But I’m very happy, and I’m glad to feel comfortable to share it for the first time with such detail publicly in the honor of pride month, for myself and all my LGBTQ identifying dearest friends, and for whomever may need to read this and say similarly the way I did, “hey wait a minute, that’s me!” Because I didn’t even truly understand until someone else did for me. Thank you.