Pansexuality (also referred to as omnisexuality) refers to the potential for sexual attraction, sexual desire, romantic love, or emotional attraction, towards people of all gender identities and biological sexes. Self-identified pansexuals may refer to themselves as gender-blind—that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. The Oxford English Dictionary writes that pansexuality "encompasses all kinds of sexuality; not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regards to gender or activity."
The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary, the "notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations", as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women. Pansexuality can also mean the attraction to a person's personality, rather than their physical appearance or gender.
Compared with bisexuality
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A literal dictionary definition of bisexuality, due to the prefix bi-, is sexual or romantic attraction to two sexes (males and females), or to two genders (men and women). Using this definition of bisexuality, pansexuality is different in that it includes people who fall outside the gender binary.
Bisexual-identified people may object to this distinction, arguing that since bisexual is not simply about attraction to two sexes and encompasses gender as well, it can include attraction to more than two genders, as "gender" is a more complex issue; for example, gender identities that are wholly similar to each other.
Pansexual Pride Flag
This flag was designed to increase visibility and recognition for the Pansexual Community within the LGBT community and the community as a whole. The flag has been found on various internet sites since mid-2010. The blue portion of the flag represents those who identify within the male spectrum (regardless of biological sex), the pink represents those who identify within the female spectrum (regardless of biological sex), and the yellow portion, found in between the blue and pink portions, represents non-binary attraction; such as Transgender and Intersex people.
As a hypothesis
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Pansexualism is a hypothesis in psychology "that regards all desire and interest as derived from [the] sex instinct" or, in other words, "that the sex instinct plays the primary part in all human activity, mental and physical."
In the media
- Writer Russell T Davies introduced Captain Jack Harkness, of British series' Doctor Who and Torchwood, with the intention of properly introducing bisexuality to the British public. However, the term "omnisexual" is also frequently used by cast and crew to describe the character; its use is intended to highlight that Jack does not discriminate between humans and aliens. Actor John Barrowman explains that in Torchwood's usage, it is an "in-universe" term; Jack represents in real-world terms the representative portrayal of a bisexual man in a lead role on television. "[He]’s bisexual, but in the realm of the show, we call him omnisexual, because on the show, [the characters] also have sex with aliens who take human form, and sex with male-male, women-women, all sorts of combinations."
- Roger, the grey alien in Seth McFarlane's American Dad!, describes himself as a "...fey, pansexual, alcoholic, non-human".
- Franky Fitzgerald, played by Dakota Blue Richards, is a pansexual and androgynous girl from the UK show Skins (TV series) season 5, and stated that she was "into people" when asked about her sexuality. Richards has denied rumours that her character is homosexual, and has said that Franky is an 'outsider', and that she doesn't want to be seen as male, female, gay or straight. Episode 7 of the series reveals her to be pansexual.
- Lisbeth Salander, heroine of the popular The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, is identified as simply liking sex and not minding much with whom she is enjoying it with.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language – Fourth Edition. Retrieved February 9, 2007, from Dictionary.com website
- "Pansexuality". SexInfo Online. University of California, Santa Barbara.
- Hill, Marjorie J.; Jones, Billy E. (2002). Mental health issues in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. American Psychiatric Pub. p. 95. ISBN 9781585620692. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Diamond, L., & Butterworth, M. (2008). Questioning gender and sexual identity: Dynamic links over time. Sex Roles. Published online March 29, 2008.
- definition of pansexual from Oxford Dictionaries Online
- Rice, Kim (2009). "Pansexuality". In Marshall Cavendish Corporation. Sex and Society 2. Marshall Cavendish. p. 593. ISBN 9780761479055. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Soble, Alan (2006). "Bisexuality". Sex from Plato to Paglia: a philosophical encyclopedia 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 115. ISBN 9780313326868. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- "GLAAD Media Reference Guide".
- "What is Bisexuality?". The Bisexual Index.
- The Free Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pansexualism
- Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pansexual
- "Davies hails Captain Jack's sexuality". digital spy. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Ryan, Maureen (14 July 2007). "Spike from 'Buffy' and 'Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness - Yowza!". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Itzkoff, Dave (25 May 2006). "Dr. Who 2: Sexed-Up British Intelligence". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Ryan, Maureen (2007-07-14). "Spike from 'Buffy' and 'Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness - Yowza!". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
- "You Debt Your Life". American Dad!. Season 6. Episode 12.
- "AfterEllen.com". Retrieved 2008-07-23.