You may remember if you have been following my blog for a while that I started a series called Pansexuality & … Well this is the second part! 🙂 I plan on it being a 10-part series. This part is all about Pansexuality & Dating as the title suggests so let’s get to it …
As you can imagine dating can be a little more daunting for someone who is pan (or in the middle of the sexuality spectrum in general) and there is weirdly both pros and cons to that. It often comes from prejudice. Prejudices (and myths) like to mention a few old chestnuts:
- Pansexual people are “sluts” or promiscuous.
- Pansexual people can’t be faithful, be monogamous or can’t fall in love or be in a committed relationship/marriage.
- Pansexual people are “on the fence”, “going through a phase” and will soon settle for a binary sexuality.
- Pansexual people can give you a sexual disease due to their “sexual appetite”.
- Pansexuality isn’t normal and a pansexual is weird.
Minus pansexuality is abnormal, to deny all of the above for all pansexuals would be very wrong. But the same is true of anybody of any sexuality. People are individual and their sexuality is absolutely no indication of what their ideas about any of the above will be. So that’s a lot of what’s behind many peoples’ reasons for not dating a pansexual.
So what do I think of people who won’t date someone because they are pansexual?
I find that a complicated question to answer. Mainly because there is usually two responses by many people to that question. On one side you get the personal taste argument and on the other you get the everyone who won’t is prejudiced. I’m kind of in the middle (some things never change! :-)). I think it’s personal taste when there is no prejudice reason behind it. If it’s a natural feeling coming from a natural place I find absolutely nothing wrong with that. But to be honest I don’t think of these people as fully the sexuality they often say they are. I put half in front of whatever sexuality they use because I think that if for example a guy says he’s heterosexual and yet he leaves out meeting a woman from a certain group or certain of groups of women it’s like saying you love a big bar of chocolate and you only like a few squares. And that goes for any sexuality including my own in my eyes before anyone thinks I’m getting at straight people. So I find people who wouldn’t think they should put half in front of their sexuality and people with other prejudiced reasoning bigots. So as I said I’m in the middle. I don’t think the feeling is actually wrong but the reasoning often is and the level of respect towards another human being often is. Sometimes the feeling I get is that many of them think they are superior if I’m being honest and that may not always be the intention of the other person. I accept that but when half or something similar is not used it puts me personally on edge that women like me wouldn’t really count for them to be whatever sexuality. So it feels to me like I’m being dismissed as a woman. So that’s often the psychology behind why someone would feel someone was prejudiced in those circumstances. And everything I’ve put in this section goes for every situation including if a pansexual (or anyone in the middle) wouldn’t date a gay or straight person.
I sometimes feel quite nervous about entering the dating pool too often as a little pan. These kinds of attitudes are things which gay or straight people might encounter every now and again if even that. But it’s something a pansexual or anyone in the middle would encounter far more regularly. There is good people and people who aren’t half whatever out there but there’s a lot who aren’t. Now with a bigot I’d rather just get out of there as fast as possible because they ain’t worth my time sunshine but I would like to communicate with people who aren’t coming from a prejudiced view/s and are simply halvers (I say that affectionately) because there’s often terrible communication in these situations and neither person has set out to hurt each other and unintentionally they do as things spiral out of control because they don’t communicate. But someone does need to inform you they are a halver or in whatever words they want to use to express that because I personally wouldn’t ask someone out that because I wouldn’t know how they’d react. It’s a dangerous question to ask in other words and different people would react to it in very different ways. In other words I could be friends with someone who is a halver but I need to know they respect me enough to know that I would count for them to be full in their sexuality.
This section is not about halvers and focuses on the bigoted ones. The upside of being pan in dating or being in many minority groups in general is that you are more likely not to end up with a narrow-minded bigot. You might have more awkward moments along the way but you are more likely to end up with an open-minded person and that’s one of the beautiful qualities I’d love to find in my future love of my life whatever their gender or sexual orientation.
For part one of my series Pansexuality & … Explaining go to:
Throughout life we all have trumpet blowing moments. Moments where things come together in some way and suddenly make sense. In just 27 years I have had my share of those but hope to live much longer and in consequence experience more of them! 🙂
Going back to when I was a kid, I experienced my first trumpet moment very early. For most of my school life I was bullied and one of the plus points that came from that awful situation was that I gained an empathy with people who were treated wrongly because they are deemed different in some way. After all, the reason I was bullied was that I was an introvert and that was seen as different. I also acquired from that a sense of never changing who you are for anyone. If you do that you’ll constantly be doing that to fit the company you’re in. I seen books which said shyness was wrong, many people who felt I was ‘too quiet’ but I was happy being who I was. And I knew early on that no one should make themselves unhappy to fit a model of society’s ‘perfection’. I would like to think I would have known all of this anyway even I hadn’t been bullied. But been bullied definitely had a huge impact on my feelings in these regards. Bullying is at heart singling somebody out because of a difference in some way and as I’ve grew older I’ve felt that prejudice is the exact same thing did in adult society, done slightly more politely and diplomatically often but with the same starting point: a dislike of difference. That’s why when those with bigoted and negative views turn around and claim they are facing prejudice from people standing up to them, it makes me laugh. It’s like a bully in a playground saying people are getting at them because they tell them they are wrong and no better than anyone else.
As I got older I knew someone very close to me who suffered from depression. Though I don’t see depression as a stigma, the person I’m talking about did and it caused them a lot of stress and worry. Because of that I won’t mention who the person is in this discussion. But though I had no prejudices about depression beforehand, I came away with knowing secondhand what depression was like. It’s quite difficult seeing someone you love to bits suffering so much and knowing you can’t do anything to ease their pain. After all depression doesn’t work like that. There isn’t a magic cure. But it was nothing compared to what this person went through. And what I realised from that time was that even though we don’t all have depression in our lives every single one of us experience moments of deep sadness where we’re close to being depressed. So it’s really hypocritical when people judge others for human responses to a world none of us completely understands.
I always wrote from very early in my life. But a trumpet moment was five years ago when I threw myself almost completely into writing over any other profession. Things weren’t working out too well in other professions. The employment market wasn’t great and still isn’t so I said what the hell? I might as well do what I like doing instead of worrying about the future. Besides without meaning to sound cocky, I knew I wasn’t too bad at it. And I wasn’t much good at anything else so … and then the future I was worried about opened up from there on it’s own. Things happened in writing like they didn’t in other professions. I got published and then published some more. And I’m still on that journey. And I suppose the realisation of that is that things happened because I cared about what I was doing and people could see that. With everything else they must have seen it wasn’t authentic.
The final two realisations came in the last few years. I realised that I was pansexual and an atheist. During your twenties, you kind of find that you are searching to find out more about yourself and as you find more and more pieces of truth about yourself you become even happier and more relaxed in yourself. I thought I was straight and catholic. I was brought up catholic and had attended catholic schools growing up. Now I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with being straight or catholic but neither of them were me and there was clearly an unhappiness there in me that I wasn’t aware of because when I realised I was pansexual and an atheist I felt happier and freer. I suppose it goes back to authentic again, it felt real and from that comes inner peace and happiness. I remember soon after I realised I was pansexual I briefly worried about prejudice I’d face until my wonderful sister reminded me that I’d faced and came through worse. By the time I realised I was an atheist after that, I didn’t worry about prejudice I’d face about that because yes, I had come through much worse and I would continue to survive over and over. And knowing you’ll survive, that’s a trumpet moment in and of itself.
The idea for this blog post came from Kathryn who runs the blog Let’s Talk Depression. You can read Kathryn’s brilliant blog post here entitled Trumpet Blowing Moments – Speak The Truth:
My article recently was on the Bi+ Ireland website for their ‘We Exist’ Series. I was incredibly honoured to be a part of it. When I realised I was pansexual after a while I did realise that I didn’t know or know of somebody Irish who was pansexual or least openly so. I felt a little alone at that thought actually so this project and all the work Bi+ Ireland do is absolutely great. They make people feel less alone. And I was very happy to share my story for the series and hopefully it will make other pansexual people in Ireland who read it feel less alone and of course other pansexual people everywhere.
Check out my story at:
And check out the rest of series so far at:
I’m going to write a few posts over time on different aspects when you are pansexual in a little series that I have very unimaginatively called Pansexuality & … This is the first of the series dealing with explaining.
Ok, so it’s not like everyone is going to instantly ask you your sexuality. That would be rather rude. Some might but they are a whole other story altogether. But when you get to know people it comes up in very casual ways like who are you into so they can set you up with someone and the like. I probably have been guilty of partially shutting myself off from getting into meaningful relationships either romantic or friendship because I fear the awkwardness which would follow saying I was pansexual. There is many people of course who wouldn’t care but you can’t always tell who they are. Not everyone at this stage knows what pansexual even means so you feel like you are opening yourself up to possible ignorant questions or possible horror on the face of someone who liked you before. Obviously that’s a problem they have but it can hurt nonetheless. That’s why I feel more comfortable with people who are pansexual or somewhere in the middle with their sexuality because I know they’d understand me. In saying that I don’t want to shut people out who aren’t in the middle because there is lovely people too who aren’t. It’s just a very nerve-wrecking thing often to open up to people who you aren’t sure will get you. And then if you defend yourself you’re deemed too sensitive. Which you’re not.
And it can be difficult because when you are going for anything it’s an extra thing to worry about. You want to get to know people but you feel like in some way when they know they’ll always see you as “different” or “something other”. Crazy I know but it is often true. The first thing that would be in so many peoples’ heads when they’d see me would be “She’s the pansexual girl.” and I am very happy and content in my sexuality but there’s more to me than it. It becomes something to comment on and I never think of anyone’s sexuality as something to comment on. It’s just part of them. So that makes you uneasy as well. I don’t think sometimes people put themselves in other peoples’ shoes. It’s uncomfortable when people comment on your sexuality and not everyone else’s. Take for instance if I commented on Kate (fictional obviously) being “the straight girl” and never on anyone else’s sexuality, Kate would get pissed off and she’d be right. And I’m no different. And part of the fear is not wanting to get into conflict with someone while they play the “I meant no harm” card.
Communications have an added fear for many of us who are pansexual. I’m an introvert anyway so it’s double the added fear! 🙂 Just be kind to each other, treat each other the same, we all just want to get on in life and be happy. Don’t do anything on people of a particular sexuality or sexualities that you wouldn’t do on another or others. I know most people don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable so make a real effort not to. Then everyone will be a lot happier in their day-to-day communications.
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.
Culture Vulture Express turns 3 today! 🙂
The last three years have been absolutely amazing. There is so much said about blogging much in a snobby way that “everyone who has a blog is a writer” and all that jazz but I think blogging is great. It takes away that elite vibe that is sometimes associated with writing and opens up channels of communication for people to express themselves through what they love doing. What could be better than that?
Us bloggers write because it’s a need, a passion, a love. We can’t imagine not having somewhere to create pieces. It isn’t about the money, the fame, the prestige. It’s about something so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to create pieces like we did when we were kids, only this time someone might actually read them. So in a way everyone who has a blog is a writer because that’s the true essence of been a writer.
As always I would of course like to thank my readers for sticking with me and to all new readers you are very welcome to the blog. I hope you find something of interest here. I hope the blog continues to be as wonderful an experience as it has been so far and I’m sure it will be. I do a lot of writing but this blog is my baby because I set it up myself and that’s very rewarding. And there is so many amazing blogs around that it is wonderful to be one tiny drop in the blogging ocean. And I’m looking forward to continuing to be. 🙂