From its origins in the early twentieth-century psychoanalysis to its burgeoning use among celebrities today the word pansexual has come a long way to get to this pop-culture moment and we love how it challenges us to think about gender sexuality attraction and desire so how much do we knowabout the word pansexual.

Pansexual meaning

The term is usually used in connection with people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, though it may also be applied to other gender identities and non-sexual attraction. Pansexuality can be defined as an intense and constant desire or attraction toward people of the same gender, as well as an equally strong desire or attraction toward the opposite gender.

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Historically, the term has been used to describe young people who have themselves been initiated into heterosexual relationships, or those who have themselves begun homosexual relationships. In some circles, it is also used to describe those who strongly prefer living in peace with all human beings regardless of their biological sex

The use of the word was then obviously very different from what we are used to nowadays and it wasn’t used for describing sexual orientation at that time. Having said that, were reports of people in the 1920s and 1930s who loved to cross labels and boundaries in Harlem and Chicago’s South Side. 

It was only in the 1940s that people out how sexuality operated on a continuum with his scale pioneering sex research until Alfred Kinsey laid that calculated the degrees of heterosexuality through his work which later helped pave the way for labels that describe sexual orientation and the possibility for labels beyond heterosexual and homosexual still anything outside of being straight was thought of as a mental disorder and even pansexual.

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The history behind the term

In its psychoanalytic views was condemned in a 1952 speech Pope pious said that the quote pansexual method of psychoanalytic therapy went against Christian values the 1970s saw the first Inklings of pansexual being used in roughly the same way it is today to describe desire and identity in a 1974 New York Times article about the sexual revolution.

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The paper of record used the word again a year later to describe androgynous British rocker Brian Eno who was in the band Roxy Music the New York Times might have been on something because in the 1980s pansexual as a sexual orientation continue to proliferate but the term further acquired a bit different understanding.

For instance at pansexual play parties in the US, particularly in San Francisco where the word expressed that a person might be interested in a wide array of sexual experiences it was a way of saying “I’m down with lots of different kinds of sex”. 

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There is an (increasing) recognition that sexual and gender diverse people exist, and a growing number of people adopting a non-heterosexual identity or expression. There is also an interest in the history of sexuality and gender. 

Now that we have seen an overview of what is meant by pansexuality, how it has been defined throughout history, and some of how people who identify as pansexual live their lives today, let us take a look at the Pansexual movement.

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Courtesy: Pride

Pansexual movement

The 1990s assured a time for sexually fluid and non-monosexual people who are attracted to more than one gender to contemplate their labels the current meaning of pansexual grew out of the spirit of activism and the desire to reclaim identity on one’s terms. 

As greater awareness of trans binary and genderqueer identity spread it evolved to mean a person is attracted to people of all genders for reasons independent of gender or is a way of saying ‘I’m attracted to people of all genders.

For reasons about their genders, early social media communities on the Internet made the way for the community to grow in 2002. The LiveJournal community ‘I am pansexual’ in its first post we are here to help support pansexuals, discuss pansexual issues, and bring pansexuals as closer together.

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Pansexual flag

From there it blossomed with an uptick in searches for the term starting in 2004 peaking in 2012 and getting even higher in 2018 but we’ll get to that in 2010. The pansexual pride flag emerged on the web with a pink stripe blue stripe and a yellow stripe in the middle to symbolize trans intersects a gender by gender third gender non-binary fluid and all other gender identities.

In the past few years, the word pansexual has come into its own with celebrities who brought the term in the media and mainstream. Singer and actor, Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual back in 2015 and said that “I changed my style every two weeks let alone in love within 2018”. 

The term Pansexual became one of the most widely search terms in the Merriam-webster dictionary after Janelle Monae told Rolling Stone that she read about Pansexuality and was like oh these are things that I identify with to nowaday is December 8th which interestingly marks pansexual pride day.

The term, though now almost a century old, still hasn’t found an exact definition as to which are the sexual orientations that fall in its ambit. The term has seen an expansion in usage and has been used much broader than ever. It’s a whole new frontier for this inclusive and expansive term as it’s no longer a flash in the pan. 

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