In the vast global world of sexualities, most people are aware of the definitions and implications of the concepts of bisexuality, homosexuality, and heterosexuality. For many of us, the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s, especially after Stonewall, created a climate in the United States where sexualities beyond mainstream heterosexuality were practiced openly, talked about, and researched in academia. As a result of this new openness, individuals continued to explore all possibilities within the realm of sexuality. A consequence of the behavior and identity known today as pansexuality began to shape within the constraints of the binaries of homosexuality and heterosexuality, male and female. Pansexuality, as we know it today, implies the attraction of one person for another person, independent of their gender identity or sexual orientation, gender roles expression or mate preference.

The origin of its prefix “pan” derives from the Greek word “all”. Therefore, pansexual individuals can be attracted to any one human being and the fluidity of their experience allows them to be able to develop different types of relationships, whether these are based on friendship, sex or romance. Pansexual individuals have, for the most part, question the mainstream prevalent ideas of the dominant forces involved in determining heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. Though we know today that the controversy of nature & nurture in the area of sexual orientation is one mostly in regards to questions on the degree to which our genetics and/or environment determines our sexual orientation identity, it is important to indicate that  pansexual individuals possess the ability to embrace each and every aspect of the divergent genders sphere and relate to people as unique and complex human beings, independent of how each person self-identifies.

We know that Alfred Kinsey offered a seven-point scale to classify our sexual orientation mate preference identity and that many other scientists and psychologists, like  Simon Le Vay, Dean Hammer, Richard Pillard and Michael Bailey have enhanced our knowledge in the biological and genetic components associated with sexual orientation. Nevertheless, additional knowledge and wisdom is essential for understanding the pansexual experience. Our psychological and anthropological comprehension of how diverse cultures abide by either a two-gender paradigm, a third-sex system or more than three genders perspective, like Anne-Fausto Sterling’s work suggests, are indicators that our experience and identity is essentially diverse. Therefore, the conceptualization of such variety ought to correspond with its essentialism.

Within the United States’ “American culture”, many or most people fall in love and establish friendships, through a two-gendered, male/female paradigm and a two or three, homosexual/hetersosexual/bisexual, sexual orientation approach. In juxtaposition, when two people fall in love in India, they do so either with a male, a female or a “hijra”, considered a third-sex within their culture. This Indian societal legal and social structure allows individuals to expand their horizons beyond a limited two-gender paradigm.  Through each additional diversity option beyond a dual binary to define our identity and who we essentially are, we enhance our emotional and cognitive ability, accepting that which is different and unique. We also lessen the probability that our oversimplifications and stereotypical generalizations stemming from such two-gendered binary assumption lead to discriminatory behavior and institutional heterosexism. Sexual orientation normativity will continue to evolve and with pansexuality, transcend any and all limitations, and therefore our ability to love freely.

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