Ever since I was little, I’ve had these fairy-tale-like dreams where I’m falling in love with strangers. This love is so strong, when I wake up and my lover is gone from my mind, my heart aches. I blame these dreams on all of the movies I’ve ever watched over the years which make kids believe falling in love always happens instantly. And the relationships are always hetero. And lesbe honest, I didn’t know I was a real-life queer until attending a strictly arts college. When I was in middle school, I thought that maybe I was bisexual because I was attracted to my own reflection.
Not quite, Marisa.
Nowadays, though, I know that that’s not how it works. I know a lot more now, and I love a lot more now since then… I know and love how to cook some delicious molasses cookies. I know how to direct a play. I can and have danced my heart out in a park with a live DJ like nobody’s watching and loved myself endlessly for it. I can easily publicly speak, as well as maintain a sophisticated tone during a phone call. I can speed a car at 80 miles per hour, feeling giddy and like a racecar driver. I love all these activities like a bee to a flower. And I know how to entertain what I like to call “proper multiple partner intimacy.” It’s so underrated, really. And you know what else is so underrated and something about me that I love? Pansexuality. Whenever I bring up pansexuality to someone, their response is usually along the lines of:
“Oh, so you’re attracted to kitchenware? So, like, inanimate objects?”
And the answer is no. Inanimate objects won’t give you eskimo kisses or compliment you endlessly on days you’re feeling dysphoric. Pansexuality is, in my opinion, one of the most judgment-free sexualities out there. And here’s why.
According to a seemingly silly, quick online test, I am 80 points deep in the pansexual garden. Here were my results:
“As a pansexual person, you are able to be sexually, emotionally, and psychologically attracted to members of the opposite sex, the same sex, as well as intersex people. You differ from the bisexual person in that your attraction to people is not limited by the gender binary of male and female, but also extends to transgender individuals, as well as androgynous and intersex people. Basically, you are able to develop sexual, emotional and mental bonds with people of any gender, lack of gender, and sexual orientation.
The genitals and chromosomes of a person rarely play much importance in your level of attraction to them, and you tend to focus more on the inner character and personality of a person, rather than their external appearance. You may also experience a certain level of confusion and frustration surrounding your sexual identity which causes you to appear rebellious, unconventional or even sexually ravenous to the people around you.
However, you are not necessarily attracted to every single person you ever meet, you just have the ability to love everyone regardless of who they are, what they look like underneath, or what sexuality or gender they subscribe to or not. Additionally, you also tend to be open-minded and adventurous by nature, disregarding rules and restrictions that limit you from living a whole and genuine lifestyle.
In summary, you:
- Can develop sexual, emotional and psychological bonds with any gender or non-gendered person, identifying with any sexual orientation.
- You don’t gauge your level of interest to a person based on whether they “look right” or on whether they have the “proper genitals”.
- You’re primarily attracted to a person’s inner character or personality.
- You believe everyone should be free to love whoever they want.
- You tend to be open-minded, adventurous and non-judgemental by nature.”
And now, I don’t care to linger on the “heteroflexible” label all too much, I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because it seems less like a real label than pan. Heteroflexibility is being attracted to the opposite sex more often than the same. In Vermont, I find myself more easily interested in men than women, I think because southern Vermont has slim pickins. But you put a cute girl or nonbinary, fem-leaning person with a pixie cut in front of me and my legs turn to jello. With men, I am a switch, and with women I am more a dom. If you don’t know what that means, do a quick Google search and your eyes will be opened. What this says about me psychologically, I have yet to figure out.
I wonder if anybody, straight or somewhere along the queer spectrum, is reading this and is wondering where these terms have been all their life– because I certainly felt like that when the term “bisexual” just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Bisexuality, although practically the same as pansexual depending on who you ask, is a term that many people improperly deem a “testing the waters” sexuality. And then pansexuality is the “slut phase” sexuality, to some. To me, pansexuality is the ability to find someone attractive, but not necessarily care how they may please you later on; you just believe and trust that it will happen based on how well your personalities mesh and your vibes play along. It’s like knowing you can find a buddy and a lover in one, and not care about whatever genitalia they may have or what gender they identify with, because societal norms don’t control you. And because, really, any genitalia can realistically pleasure you.
I am currently seeing a cisgendered man who’s about twelve years older than me (same age difference between my parents, funnily enough) here in Vermont, and find that he’s been what I’ve been dreaming of since I was about fourteen years old. But, I will never forget about the couple I adore whom I’ve been known to canoodle with when I live my alternate life in Philadelphia, where I’m receiving my undergrad degree. I never forget about the girlfriend I was once in an unhealthy open relationship with, and how horrible I had felt when I found that my current hetero partnerships had been more fulfilling. I will never forget about the categories I click when I very seldomly open a certain type of website in my private browser. I will never forget that when I’m watching Orange is the New Black or Wentworth, TV shows about incarcerated women in the U.S. and Australia, I think about how sure I am that if I were in prison I would definitely have a prison wife… while also probably trying to have some sort of physical relationship with a male guard at the same time.
There is something that may always be missing for me with a female bodied person, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the Disney princess movies to blame. Who knows for sure? But I am proud of who I am, and I will gladly shout it to the world. And I empathize with the countless people who have fought and are currently fighting to feel this way in the world. We are brave. And we will never stop fighting.