Bi vs. Pansexual

What's the Difference?

Bi and pansexual are both sexual orientations that involve attraction to multiple genders. However, there are some differences between the two. Bisexual individuals are attracted to both males and females, or to more than one gender, but not necessarily all genders. On the other hand, pansexual individuals are attracted to people regardless of their gender identity, meaning they can be attracted to individuals who identify as male, female, non-binary, or any other gender. While both orientations acknowledge the existence of multiple genders, pansexuality emphasizes a more inclusive and fluid approach to attraction, whereas bisexuality may have a more specific range of attraction. Ultimately, it is important to respect and understand the unique experiences and identities of individuals who identify as either bi or pansexual.


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DefinitionAttraction to two or more genders.Attraction to all genders or regardless of gender.
ScopeCan include attraction to both binary and non-binary genders.Includes attraction to all genders, including binary and non-binary.
Gender BinaryMay be attracted to both men and women.May be attracted to all genders, including men, women, and non-binary individuals.
FluidityAttraction may be fluid and can change over time.Attraction may be fluid and can change over time.
VisibilityBi individuals may be more visible due to the term's longer history.Pansexual individuals may be less visible due to the term's relatively recent emergence.
CommunityBi community has a longer-established presence and specific organizations.Pansexual community is still developing and may have fewer specific organizations.
RepresentationBi pride flag consists of three horizontal stripes: pink, purple, and blue.Pansexual pride flag consists of three horizontal stripes: pink, yellow, and blue.
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Further Detail


Sexual orientation is a complex and diverse spectrum, with various identities falling under its umbrella. Two commonly discussed identities are bisexuality and pansexuality. While both terms refer to individuals who are attracted to multiple genders, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the attributes of bi and pansexual individuals, highlighting their similarities and unique characteristics.

Bi and Pansexuality Defined

Bisexuality is often defined as an attraction to both males and females, or to more than one gender. Individuals who identify as bisexual may experience attraction to both genders in varying degrees, but this does not necessarily mean they are attracted to all genders equally. On the other hand, pansexuality is characterized by an attraction to people regardless of their gender identity. Pansexual individuals are often attracted to individuals based on emotional, intellectual, and physical connections, rather than solely on gender.

Fluidity and Range of Attraction

One of the key attributes of bisexuality is its fluidity. Bisexual individuals may experience changes in their attractions over time, allowing for a range of attractions to different genders. This fluidity can be influenced by personal growth, self-discovery, and evolving understanding of one's own desires. Pansexuality, on the other hand, emphasizes the potential for attraction to individuals regardless of their gender identity. Pansexual individuals often prioritize emotional and intellectual connections, focusing less on gender as a determining factor in their attractions.

Gender Binary and Non-Binary Attraction

Both bisexuality and pansexuality challenge the traditional gender binary, recognizing that gender is not limited to just male and female. However, bisexuality is often associated with attraction to both males and females, which can sometimes reinforce the binary concept of gender. Pansexuality, on the other hand, explicitly includes attraction to individuals who identify outside of the gender binary. Pansexual individuals are open to forming connections with people of any gender identity, including non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid individuals.

Understanding Attraction

When it comes to understanding attraction, bisexuality and pansexuality differ in their focus. Bisexual individuals may experience attraction to multiple genders, but the specific qualities that attract them to each gender can vary. Some bisexual individuals may be attracted to different aspects of masculinity and femininity, while others may be drawn to specific personality traits or emotional connections. Pansexual individuals, on the other hand, often prioritize emotional and intellectual connections over gender. They are attracted to individuals based on who they are as a whole, rather than specific gender characteristics.

Visibility and Misconceptions

Both bisexuality and pansexuality face challenges when it comes to visibility and misconceptions. Bisexual individuals often encounter stereotypes that they are confused, promiscuous, or simply going through a phase. These misconceptions can lead to erasure and invalidate their experiences. Pansexual individuals, on the other hand, may face misconceptions that their identity is synonymous with being attracted to everyone or that they are simply seeking sexual experiences without emotional connections. These misconceptions overlook the depth and complexity of pansexual individuals' attractions.

Community and Support

Both bi and pansexual individuals can find support and community within LGBTQ+ spaces. Bisexual individuals often connect with others who share similar experiences of attraction to multiple genders. They may find solace in discussing their unique challenges and experiences with individuals who understand their journey. Pansexual individuals, on the other hand, can find support within LGBTQ+ communities that emphasize inclusivity and celebrate diverse gender identities. These communities provide a space for pansexual individuals to explore and express their attractions without judgment or misunderstanding.


While bisexuality and pansexuality share similarities as identities that encompass attraction to multiple genders, they also have distinct attributes that set them apart. Bisexuality acknowledges the fluidity and range of attractions, while pansexuality emphasizes attraction based on emotional and intellectual connections rather than gender. Both identities challenge the gender binary, but pansexuality explicitly includes attraction to non-binary individuals. Understanding and respecting these differences is crucial in creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation.

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