I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by Hannah, the editor of Express Magazine, to write an article for their Sex Issue. Pansexuality was what she wanted to know about, and I was delighted to oblige!
Below, a scan of the article itself (and hooray for hot images of Buck Angel!). The editor also wrote damned nice things about me in the ‘about the author’ text at the end. You can read the text of my article below the scan, so you can see what I had to say.
I like labels. I like them a lot. Labels, provided you get to choose them for yourself, please me no end – especially when I discover a new one that fits me (and occasionally when I peel off an old one that no longer suits). I have a whole lot of labels which I choose to wear. Among them are kinky, polyamorous, fat, happy, Buffy fan, slut, and pansexual.
This is where you interrupt me, boggling a little at all the labels, but caught by the last one: Wait? Pansexual? What in the hell is that?
Pansexual – it’s a term not everyone is familiar with – but if you want to find out what it is, this is where I get to explain, and that makes me happy. Yes, I also wear the geek label (and the writer one too). Learning is fun!
The word itself is derived from the Greek prefix ‘pan’, which means ‘all’. The short definition is this: pansexuality describes people who feel that they are attracted to all genders (whether that attraction is sexual, emotional or spiritual). The long definition is quite a bit longer, but full of interesting stuff, and explains things that may have added to the boggling from the first definition!
Firstly, there’s the talk about sexual orientation: who you’re attracted to (and why). I’m pretty sure that everyone reading is familiar with homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. Pansexuality is also a sexual orientation, although it’s not as well known as the ones mentioned above. Those who identify as pansexual, like me, are attracted to all genders.
And here is where you butt in again: But aren’t there just two genders? Male and female? Well, no. Not really.
This is how we segue to the part about sex versus gender. There are what is generally regarded as three sexes: male, female, and intersex. Often the prefix cis- is added to the first two, to identify those who are born as the sex they choose to present as. For example, my birth sex was female, and I regard myself as female. Thus, another one of my labels is cis-female.
Gender (identity) is different to (biological) sex. Biologically there are males and females, and those who identify as neither (intersex). But it’s sure as hell not that simple, no matter what society says. The social norm frequently mixes up sex and gender, and tells us that when it comes to gender, you only get two choices. It’s what you see on toilet doors and survey questions. It’s how you’re separated in many, many ways as you grow up. Pink and blue? Guns and dolls? Dresses and suits? Yeah.
But rather than a dichotomy, male and female are more like two options in a galaxy of gender presentations. And here’s where the explanation gets fun, and I veer right off the path and into my own personal (under)growth.
For me, the last fifteen years went like this:
As a teenager: Boys. Ooh, I like boys. I’ll play with boys. Whoops! Make that men. Yes, the cock is good. Hello, relationships with men.
20ish: Oh hey. Girls! I like this woman. Dancing with her is hot. Kissing – there’s kissing now? Mmmm. Yes, I like the cunt as well. Nom. Hello, relationships with women.
Early 20s: (Polyamory rears its head) I don’t have to choose? Sweet! Hello, relationships with both men and women.
Late 20s: Hey, wait! It’s more than just cis-men and cis-women that I want to get to know / boink / have a relationship with. What about that sexy person with multiple (sexy) personalities? What about that sweet boi who keeps checking me out? What about that delectable cross-dresser? And look! Gender-fuckery? Transgenders? Asexuals? So many options!
Shortly after: Hey, there’s a word! I can rip off the bisexual label and affix a pansexual one instead!
And that was how I found the label of pansexuality, after following a winding road of my own sexual discovery. Why do I choose to define myself that way? Because I’m definitely not just attracted to the binary. Yes, I find cis-males hot. I find cis-females hot. But I also love the kittenish girl personality in an otherwise male body; I have a crush on trans porn star Buck Angel; and I think it’s great that my ex-girlfriend gets addressed as Sir. There’s cis and trans and gender-fuckery and queerness and people are more able to be who they feel they are, express themselves. Often – frequently – I find that attractive. Because I’m attracted to all sorts.
Now pansexual isn’t the only label out there that doesn’t fall into the two-genders camp. There’s also omnisexual, polysexual and multisexual. They all differ somewhat, and what feels right for me isn’t necessarily a good fit for someone else. Again, the prefix is the key. Omni = everything; Poly = many; Multi = many. Take your pick!
More people are getting the hang of pansexuality, and where better to prove that than on the web. Pansexuality is a popular label on www.fetlife.com, a social media site dedicated to the fetish and BDSM comminity. For the less fetish inclined, over at blogging platform Tumblr there is a whole account devoted to pansexuality, images attempting to describe pansexuality, and a lot of conversation going on about gender, perception, and attraction; all of which suits me just fine. Check it out at pansexualpride.tumblr.com.
I don’t care what you choose to define yourself as. All I care is that you get to choose it for yourself, as I have. Because labels, self-chosen and worn with pride, are important to all of us. So yes, I like labels. I choose to wear a lot of them. But pansexual is the one I have to explain most often. Now, would you care to join me for a drink?
Dee is a blogger extraordinaire. Her website is the home of all things sexy and sexual. Head there to read her musings on pansexuality, polyamory, kink and sex (and maybe find one or two naughty knickers pics of the lady herself!) Check her out at http://curvaceousdee.com.