Really Difference Between Bisexuality and Pansexuality

difference between bisexual pansexual
  • Mischief
  • Mar 22, 2024

Activists of the LGBTQ community have been working hard and after years of struggle lawsuits and discrimination among other things, and people from various sexual orientations are now being accepted all over the world.

This has created a certain sense of liberty in the sexuality of most individuals, and more and more people have become comfortable about coming out about their sexual orientation. And due to this a lot of relationships are now being formed under the premise of the partners’ sexual orientation.

It, therefore, becomes important for partners involved either romantically or sexually to understand each other’s sexual orientation identifiers and genders. And so in this era of sexual exploration people have become more comfortable in their sexual expression which in turn has brought into focus new sexual identifiers.

Most people are familiar with the common sexual orientations, that is heterosexuality and homosexuality which is the attraction towards the opposite sex and attraction towards the same sex, respectively. There is, however, a third type of sexual orientation namely bisexuality which is the sense of emotional, romantic and sexual attraction towards both genders. But that is not all, there is also the term pansexuality which most people are not familiar with.

“What is pansexual?” you ask

Well, pansexuality is defined as the romantic, emotional and sexual attraction towards all genders. It is meant to be more inclusive, and so is not limited to the gender binary which the bisexuality is accused of.

However, pansexuality is not considered to be a sexual orientation whereas bisexuality is to some extent argued to include all genders as well.

So Is There a Difference Between Pansexual and Bisexual?

Well, by using the etymology of the two terms the difference becomes quite clear. Bi stands for two, therefore the assumption that a bisexual is attracted to two genders. Pan, on the other hand, is derived from the Ancient Greek word for “all”. And so one would, therefore, argue that bisexuality only entails a preference to two genders being male and female, while pansexual covers an attraction to all genders including transgender. However, note that the even though the term bisexual may be arguably limited to two genders it does not specify which two genders, thus making a person attracted to females and transgender females bisexual by definition.

This, therefore, cancels out the idea that bisexuality is limited to the gender binary. Which, would then mean that there isn’t really any difference between pansexuality between bisexuality apart from the use in terminologies.

Pansexual Vs Bisexual

In order to establish whether or not there is a difference between these two terms in terms of describing a person’s sexual orientation, it is best to look at the general aspects of sexuality and sexual orientation that help us understand them better.

Emergence and Identification

For bisexuals and pansexuals alike the emergence of one’s sexuality emerges varyingly. It may be felt from a young age mostly between middle childhood and adolescence. For some, it may come later in life, which could be as late as middle adulthood. For both bisexuality and pansexuality, the common emergence is during puberty when sexual identity is established. However, it is common for some to realize later after being focused on a single gender sex orientation (heterosexuality or homosexuality) before later realizing the mutual attraction towards both. It is also typical for one to assume they are bisexual before interacting with other genders and realizing that their attraction is not limited to two and thus their emergence towards pansexuality.

Arising Issues

People have a natural tendency to generally put things in groups of two. It is either yes or no, you are either attracted to men or you are attracted to women. And so pansexuals and bisexuals face a unique sense of discrimination. For them, it is not “either or” but more of a scale with a varying aspect of preference. This, therefore, brings about a unique problem for both pansexuals and bisexuals who end up standing between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Not belonging to a particular side causes them to experience stigma from both sides.


All in all, sexuality is seen as an innate aspect of any being which therefore means that it is not subject to conscious change. That goes for both bisexuality and pansexuality, which despite their difference in spelling and etymology description happen to share quite a lot in terms of emergence, identification, challenges among other aspects of sexuality that they both cover.

So What Really is the Difference Between Pansexuality and Bisexuality?

Pansexuality is not a scientific term thus cannot be a sexual orientation. It, however, in its own also describes a diverse group of individuals who are with a relatively wider variety of same sex and different sex attractions. It, therefore, is an identity label.

what does bi mean?

Bisexuality, on the other hand, is a scientific term with an open and inclusive factor that describes a group of people who have had a wide variety of experience around same sex and different sex attractions. Bisexuality as a scientific term is, therefore, a sexual orientation and an identity label as well.

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That, therefore, means that pansexuality would be described as a branch to bisexuality, used to shed more clarity on the sexuality of an individual based on their experiences and same-sex as well as different-sex attractions.

People that identify as pansexual simply choose to replace the prefix bi with the prefix pan so as to make clear that gender does not really factor in their sexuality, and thus are not limited to any gender(s).

So, Am I Bisexual or Pansexual?

Well, all that depends on what identity label you choose to identify your sexuality as. That is because those that identify as pansexual are in a quest to declare their kind of attraction. They want to make it clear that their list is long, which includes; male-female, trans, genderqueer and more. That, however, does not mean that those who identify as bisexual are limited to the traditional notions of gender.

All in all, it all comes down to what you want to be identified as, thus making the answer to the question “Am I pansexual?” answerable to your preference. Because in the end, pansexual bisexual one is just a broader expression of the other respectively.