#3 “Difference between bisexuality and pansexuality?”

I’m trying to figure myself and my sexuality out. I’m a bit confused about the difference between bisexual and pansexual. They seem like the same thing to me and I’m struggling to find a solid answer on what the difference really is. I’m sure I’m one of them but I don’t know which and I want to make sure I’m using the right label

Dear Queerier,

Thank you so much for using “Queeries”!

When first attempting to get a grasp on what your sexuality may be, it can certainly get confusing sorting through all of the terms and labels! In your case, worry not, because you’re not alone! Many people, myself included, have questioned and continue to question the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality.

Bisexuality is generally romantic and/or sexual attraction to two or more genders, whereas pansexuality is romantic and/or sexual attraction regardless of gender identity. In other words, pansexuality is broader, as someone who is bisexual may be attracted to two or more genders, but not specifically all.

Bisexuality is viewed by some as upholding the gender binary of male/female only; and while it could also mean being attracted to two genders (whilst not necessarily excluding any others), that probably isn’t a common usage and I suspect most people will think of the male/female definition when they hear it.

However, please don’t feel pressured to feel like you need to label your sexuality, and confine yourself to only one sexual orientation. There are some who consider the two labels to be interchangeable. And some people who are actually pansexual may select to identify as bisexual, mainly due to bisexual being a more commonly recognised label. Labels are helpful with gaining a sense of yourself, but they can also be what you choose to make them. It’s perfectly okay to take time to determine what they mean to you.

Considering this, some helpful questions to help yourself may be ‘are there any genders I don’t see myself being attracted to?’, or ‘what community do I feel comfortable with/what term feels best?’. There’s no right or wrong answer! There’s no legally binding contract between you and the label you wish to use.

I hope that my advice has been useful, however please remember that we are not a team of professionals.

Take care and stay safe!
— Queeries