Sunday, 18 October 2015

Pansexuality

I have been discussing, elsewhere on the web, the concept of Pansexuality.

Nothing to do with this guy.
It was on a fairly vanilla non-kinky forum, and the main question was "So how is being pansexual any different from being bisexual?"

I identify as bisexual and am pretty ignorant regarding pansexuality so I thought it a pretty fair (and very interesting) question.

And as far as I understand it (and please correct me if I am wrong. I would love to discuss this with someone with a better understanding of these things than me), there isn't much difference between bisexuality and pansexuality. A lot of it is down to semantics. Using the prefix "bi-" when referring to one's sexuality suggests an acceptance that one's sex is one of a limited number of options. Two options. You're male or you're female. Tick the fucking box.

Life, love, sex and gender are more complicated than that. Potential lovers could be trans, intersex or just downright refuse to align themselves to one particular gender. (Or they could be asexual, of course. Personally, I couldn't date an asexual person. I am a as-much-as-possible-sexual. It wouldn't be fair on either of us.)

Pansexuals seem to want to establish themselves as more accepting than people of other sexualities. It's a fair point I guess. Except, no it really isn't. I have done a bit of reading and it seems that "willingness to date transgender people" seems to be a pretty key point in people who identify as pansexual. Surely that carries with it an assumption that anyone who calls themselves heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual aren't OK with dating anyone transgender? When did that get decided? Did I miss another memo?

I consider myself bisexual because I am really not that bothered whether someone has a vagina or a penis. They could be entirely smooth down there like a Ken doll and that would be fine if they were interesting and funny and really into spanking.

I'm not saying this is a thing of mine, by the way.
Not only that, I actually think that everyone's at least a tiny bit bisexual. There are six billion people on the planet. Those of you who have met your "other half" probably did so at school or university or work. You probably managed to meet someone within a hundred miles of wherever you were in any case. If you subscribe to the idea that there is only one person in the world for you, you were pretty bloody lucky. I imagine that even the most loved-up of you committed, exclusive, monogamous types probably realise that there are a thousand or so people on this planet that you could have loved just as much. You don't need to go looking for them because what you have is pretty damned special. But you know, as much as you might consider yourself heterosexual or homosexual, there's got to be a chance that at least one of those thousand or so hypothetical lovers is a different sex to the one you were expecting.

One of these people wold be perfect for you.
I would potentially be up for dating someone who was transgender. It hasn't really come up so far. Although, I did have a trans woman contact me on OKCupid a few months ago. She was eighteen years old. I don't normally reply to people who are quite so far out of my preferred age range but I was intrigued by her profile picture. She had photoshopped her nose out of all existence. I checked out the rest of her pictures and about two thirds of them had big smeary blurry splodges in the middle of her face where her nose should have been. The other third showed a perfectly attractive teenage girl with an entirely reasonable nose. So, feeling all mumsy, I messaged her telling her that she didn't need to photoshop her pictures like that and that she looked lovely. (And mentioned that, by the way, she was waaay too young for me but, you know, good luck with everything. Because you know, I may be everything-sexual but I definitely don't date people younger than my daughter,) When she responded telling me she was trans, I did have a bit of a panic that my well-meaning "Just be happy with who you are!" comments were a bit insensitive.

Obviously, I think that people should be able to identify their sexuality any way they damn well please. What's the alternative? Some kind of "Sexuality Police"?

Sexuality Police
That said, there was an involuntary eye-roll when I came across the term "Demisexual". Demisexuals apparently consider an emotional attachment more important than a sexual one. Well, bully for you. That's not a sexual preference, that's a lifestyle choice. Do self-proclaimed demisexuals really think that heterosexuals and homosexuals just go around fucking people of the opposite or their own sex indiscriminately?

So, what should I be calling myself? Because as far as I can see, both 'bisexual' and 'pansexual' seem to be appropriate. Fetlife offers 'pansexual' as an option in its fairly comprehensive drop-down list. But if I decide to be pan- rather than bi- in my sexual preferences then I have removed myself from the LGBT in-group and everyone knows that's a pretty cool group to be hovering round the fringes of.

I think when it comes down to it, I have to decide what's really important in my life. And what's most important to me is being a total, fucking grammar pedant.

You see, the prefixes hetero and homo derive from Ancient Greek. (Heteros meaning 'other' and Homos meaning 'same'.) Pan (meaning 'all) is also Greek in origin.

Bi, on the other hand, is Latin. The equivalent Greek prefix is Di.

I have, therefore, decided to consider myself Disexual. For smug dictionary-based reasons. Happy to shag anyone who is as fascinated by the etymology of words as I am. I shall be emailing Fetlife and asking them to update their drop-down list forthwith.

This, apparently, is my sexuality.


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