In October 2015, I realised that I was pansexual. Pansexual, for anyone not aware of the term’s meaning, is been attracted to men, women and non-binary people. It took me a while to work out that I was and a lot of the reason for that was because I had this belief that at 25 I should have known by now. That’s an important thing I want to say here: you are never too old to figure out your sexuality. It doesn’t mean you are “immature” or “slow to figure things out”. While I do believe that we are all born with our sexualities I don’t think, no matter what someone’s sexuality is, that there is a fixed age to find out. I was attracted only to guys growing up so I thought I was straight. I hadn’t knew or knew of anyone who was non-binary growing up so it wasn’t a surprise when I was attracted to people who were but I did know a lot of women so that was confusing. You hear people saying from an early age they kind of knew and my experience doesn’t follow that traditional path. So I was confused by feeling feelings for women that I had never felt before but then I realised that what it comes down to is that I hadn’t been aware of a woman who I felt like that for before. When you do feel strong feelings for someone you just know.
I can imagine that if someone had a “preferred sexuality” (which I don’t think anyone should have) that it would be a scary experience. But I didn’t really care. I just was so confused that I just wanted to know. Unless you have been through an experience where you have been trying to figure out part of your identity it’s hard to explain. You find yourself walking around in a blurred haze and your brain very often is trying to piece things together. You are actually worried someone will ask you what sexuality you are and you’ll have to admit you aren’t sure. Which goes back to the age thing again. I was scared I’d sound “thick” by admitting that because I thought people would think I should know. This sounds mad in hindsight because who is going to actually ask you your sexuality out in the middle of a casual conversation? Not too many would.
Again to really understand this it’s something you’d have to experience but when I realised a sense of ease came over my shoulders. It was like there had been a stress on me that I hadn’t even realised was there. It was a very liberating feeling, like a new chapter, like life was there and to be lived. My sister was great in listening to me rabbiting on about the process of finding out and then when I did. We don’t really have prejudices. She respects me as pansexual and I respect her as straight. I wouldn’t say I came out to my sister about been pansexual. It was a very casual conversation and that’s a really nice reflection of the times. Not everyone has that experience even nowadays though which is very sad. I never told my mum though. Mainly because pansexuality is not very much in mainstream media and my mum gets nervous of things which are unfamiliar shall we say. I don’t think she’d care if I was gay or bisexual but it would still be a lie so I leave it as straight because it’s better to tell one lie than two. Because if pansexuality ever does go more mainstream it would be less confusing to go from straight to pansexual then straight to bisexual to pansexual if that makes sense.
A lot of people don’t know what it means but most people when they do are respectful. The fact that it is pushed under the carpet a lot I hope doesn’t feed a prejudice towards pansexuality. There’s also a lot of misconceptions which surround pansexuality. I don’t fit into a lot of the stereotypes. For example I don’t have a preference for what gender I go for. My preference is someone’s personality. That doesn’t mean I’m “gender-blind”. I don’t really like that term to be honest because when I like or love someone I like everything about them and that includes their gender. I don’t think most people who use that term mean it in a bad way but it can come over as totally dismissing someone’s gender. Another misconception is that someone who is pansexual has a high sex drive. Someone who is pansexual for example could be asexual too. I’m not exactly asexual but I’m somewhere in the middle. What is important though to remember is that there is people who are pansexual who have a gender they have a preference for and there is pansexual people who have a high sex drive. And all of that is completely fine too. What isn’t fine is putting people into boxes based on their sexual orientation. It’s not based on someone’s sexuality. It’s based on who that person is as an individual. Another misconception is that someone who is pansexual couldn’t be in a long-term relationship or be monogamous. I happen to be monogamous and I happen to be an old romantic who would love to settle down with the love of my life someday. But obviously there is people in every sexuality who would prefer to be free. I don’t believe in boxes been put on people. For example a person with a high drive who is pansexual doesn’t have a high sex drive because they are pansexual and someone like me in the middle or someone who is asexual shouldn’t have to face misconceptions about who we are because they are pansexual. But also it’s the ones who put the boxes on people who are the problem. Not the people who happen to fit into any of the stereotypes. I hear people, not just in regards of pansexuality but in lots of situations, blaming the latter. Things like “it’s because of you people think this” or “you are confirming the stereotype”. It’s hypocritical. The fight is supposed to be for people to be able to be who they are and if a person happens to fit a stereotype and that’s who they are we should be supporting that, not knocking them for it.
It feels like pansexuality is on the bottom rung of the ladder because it still isn’t widely known about in the media. I can understand how a person wouldn’t know about it. I think some people think it doesn’t exist or that we’re following a “trend” (like it’s a new high street handbag which personally I think is a weird way to think about feelings) or that we’re confused. I can say my feelings feel incredibly real, that sexuality isn’t a trend, it exists very obviously because peoples’ feelings match what it describes and ironically that it’s the first time that I haven’t been confused.
So what does it feel like to be pansexual? It feels like to be human.
Oh and I’m not attracted to frying pans. If you think that it says more about you mate than me. Just saying.