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Pansexuality (sometimes referred to as omnisexuality) is a sexual orientation characterised by a potential aesthetic attraction, romantic love and/or sexual desire for anybody, including people who do not fit into the gender binary of male/female arguably implied by bisexual attraction.

Pansexuality is sometimes described as the capacity to love a person romantically irrespective of gender. Some pansexuals also assert that gender and sex are meaningless to them. The word pansexual is derived from the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all”.

Romance, attraction and preferences

The term pansexual generally is used for a person who does not classify their sexuality with a person’s sex, but their gender. They believe that there is a set difference between sex and gender – gender being the socially constructed condition of being male or female, and sex being the biological condition of male or female.

Pansexuals may be attracted to various different forms of romance, and may be aroused by various different acts of sex on a carnal level. It has been stated that pansexuality refers not to a metaphysical order of attraction to other human beings, but rather a more carnal attraction to sexual acts irrespective of gender.

Some suggest that pansexuality is more accurately described by its adepts: human- or person-oriented. Despite a pansexual’s fluid sexuality, some may have a preference. A pansexual may be attracted to all genders and sexes, but have a preference, (for example) for pre-operative transsexual people, other pansexuals, masculine lesbians, intersex people, etc.

Pansexual sex

Many people who identify as pansexual may associate with people of all sexual orientations, but are not necessarily interested in sex with people of all sexes or genders.

Pansexuals usually consider any sexual act acceptable as long as it is consensual [1]. For some pansexuals, biological sex is a secondary factor, something that will be discovered if and when sexual interaction takes place.

Cultural references

The character Jack Harkness from the BBC television series Doctor Who and Torchwood is a pansexual. He originally comes from around the year 5000, when humans are spread out across space, a far-future sociological situation that might be responsible for his potential to be attracted to humans irrespective of gender, and possibly species from other planets as well. It has been said that he does not see people in terms of gender.

In Day One he expresses disapproval of humanity’s “quaint little categories”, and is described by teammate Toshiko Sato as being willing to “shag anybody as long as they’re gorgeous enough”. In the case of Jack, the distinction between bi and pansexual is irrelevant due to the fact that all his partners appear to fit into a male/female gender binary.

In an episode of Will & Grace, Karen Walker’s pastry chef considers himself pansexual, which was revealed after he had sex with Will, Karen, and Rosario.

In 2006, a controversial article about the different sexual orientations in Stuyvesant High School and how they represent a national trend appeared in New York Magazine. [2]

Captain Hero from Drawn Together is a notable example of pansexuality in recent popular fiction. While he also shows signs of various paraphilias, his most commonly shown sexual behaviour to be attracted to his gay male housemate Xandir and occasionally his female housemates Princess Clara and Foxxy Love.

On the TV show Scrubs, a character The Todd, initially thought to be excessively heterosexual, is actually pansexual. In fact, in episode 4.14, “My Lucky Charm,” he states, “The Todd appreciates hot, regardless of gender.” In the end of the episode 5.20, when asked directly what orientation he is, he simply replies “I’m The Todd”. The Todd has also admitted that he made out with his mother.

See also