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Queer Wiki - Ⓑ Bi·Pan·Poly? What’s the Real Difference?

Queer Wiki - Ⓑ Bi·Pan·Poly? What’s the Real Difference?

The Storyteller: Na MyungWon

Queer Wiki - Ⓑ Bi·Pan·Poly? What’s the Real Difference?

Now on Another Planet Every person’s fate is like the history of a planet. No two planets are alike and each is distinct. Here we will introduce the planets of others to feed your curiosity. Find wisdom in real stories based on real peoples experiences, thoughts, and lives. Myoungwon Na tells you an interesting story...
To be Continued Series: The Hitchhiker’s Guides to the World of Sexuality and Gender. AROOO’s rainbow adventure continues!

It's natural to be attracted to only one gender?


In a world where many women or men take it for granted that they are attracted to only one gender, there are people who feel attraction that is less limited. In this article, we introduce bisexuals who are attracted to two genders, polysexuals who are attracted to multiple genders, and pansexuals who experience attraction regardless of the gender of the other person.

Diverse and Broadening Concepts

Are there only two options for a person’s gender? I'll cover this in more detail in my next article, but there are some people who don’t restrict themselves to the 'woman/man' dichotomy. In the distant past, homosexuals were only called homosexuals when attracted to the same sex and bisexual when attracted to both women and men. However, as the understanding of gender identities beyond the binary became widespread, words have also emerged to define sexual orientations other than attraction to a single gender, or to two opposing genders. With this expansion, the definition of bisexual love itself has widened.

Sexual Orientation The enduring pattern of being sexually attracted towards a certain gender or genders. Read the first article in this series, "Queer Wiki - Ⓠ What is Queer?” for more info.

❤️ PolySexual and PanSexual

A polysexual is someone who is attracted to more than two sexes. For example, anyone who sees women, men, and non-binary individuals as objects of sexual interest can introduce themselves as polysexual people who are attracted to multiple sexes. On the other hand, a pan-sexual is a person who is attracted regardless of the gender of the object. Whether the opponent is a woman, a man, or any other gender, if you are attracted, you are attracted or not. There is a lot of overlap within these concepts, and it can simply be a matter of personal choice which term an individual prefers to use.

Non-binary A non-differential gender identity that doesn't fit either female or male, and can be a mixture of - or rejection of - both femininity and masculinity.

❤️ NonMonosexual

As the various experiences of people who are not attracted to only one gender became known, words were also created to encompass it. Non-monosexual is an umbrella term to refer to all orientations attracted to more than one gender. It is a word that encompasses those who do not fit the monosexual standard that people should be attracted to only one gender, and includes bisexual, polysexual, and pansexual identities.

❤️ Expansion of the concept of bisexualism

As discussions on genders other than male and female continued, not only did the concepts of polysexual and pansexual appear, but the concept of bisexualism itself became more inclusive. Now, there are many bisexuals who define bisexualism as not simply a ‘sexual attraction to two separate genders’ but as a sexual attraction in two directions, towards the same gender and towards another. This definition overlaps with the concepts of polysexual and pan-sexualism. It is also called the 'bisexual+ umbrella', meaning that it encompasses various identities.

Promiscuous, experimenting, humanist? Common Misconceptions about Bisexuality

There are some common misconceptions about non-monosexual individuals. These are mostly spread about bisexuality, as it is the most well known, and many pan- or polysexual individuals are simply lumped in with bisexuals and face similar prejudices.

The character Oberyn in the popular TV show <Game of Thrones> was depicted as having sexual and romantic relations with both men and women. When questioned about preferences he responds “Everyone is missing half of the world’s pleasure”. While some consider it a powerful scene, it also reflects a prejudice that people who are attracted to more than one gender are hedonists and sexually promiscuous.

💔 A Double-timer who will get with anyone

Many movies, tv shows and manga’s depict a similar, stereotypical bisexual character. They are attractive, sexually open, and have no qualms about meeting multiple partners at the same time. With the widening scope of potential sexually attractive individuals the stereotype is that bisexuals are more sexually active than others. This is a huge misunderstanding. Just as not all straight people would meet and have sexual relationships with anyone of the opposite sex, being attracted to more than one gender at the same time does not mean they will date anyone. A monogamous relationship, having an affair, or pursuing a non-exclusive relationship under agreement are all issues of individual values. Whether they are sexually open or active is also an individual preference, and it is not related to sexual orientation.

💔 In between Straight and Gay?

A bisexual friend of mine once said that they treated themself as 'half-straight*, half-queer'. Their self-expressed reality was that many people regard bisexuals as ambiguous beings, some how both belonging to a sexual minority and not at the same time.

Straight? The general term used for non-sexual minorities, or heterosexuals, is ‘straight’. It originated from gay culture in the mid-twentieth century when gay sex was still a crime in some places. To get back on the “straight and narrow” meant to return to heterosexual sex.

In some cases bisexuality is seen as a ‘middle stage’ between understanding yourself as a heterosexual and discovery your identity as a homosexual. Or considered a phase for those who might meet and date others of the same gender but eventually marry and settle down with someone of the opposite sex. But a bisexual is a bisexual, not an intermediate stage or phase. Regardless of the gender of your current partner, your identity doesn’t change from straight to homosexual.

💔 Heteronormal ‘Privilege’

Since attraction to the opposite gender is included in bisexuality, there is a prejudice even amongst the queer community that bisexual individuals can be incorporative into the heteronormative society like straight people and enjoy privileges without discrimination at any time. People who can't stand the fact that people around them are sexual minorities sometimes find useless hope with this idea. It is a vain belief that one day they would "come back" as a straight person because they can be attracted to the same sex. Of course, love and attraction can’t be determined by outside forces, and the implication itself can be discriminatory.

In fact, non-monosexual people, such as bisexual, polysexual, and pansexual’s who are attracted to more than one gender, are more threatened by health issues than monosexual individuals. Although there are differences depending on the group, such as race and gender identity, digestive diseases, high blood pressure, drug abuse, depression, and suicide rates are comparatively higher, which is closely related to the stress caused by prejudices against non-monosexuals.

💔 Loving all, the Humanist

Pansexual people who feel attracted regardless of gender are often misunderstood. It is a strange misunderstanding that they, as a person, are full of love for everyone regardless of gender or personality or anything. However, just as lesbianism is not a pure sisterhood, and male homosexuality is not a pure brotherhood, pansexualism is not a humanist philosophical stance, but a sexuality. The gender of the sexually attracted partner is irrelevant, but its not a selfless indiscriminate love for all.

These People Too!

There are so many non-monosexual pop stars today! Lady Gaga has said she is attracted to men and women. At a concert she stated her global hit song <Poker Face> was about the experience of having sex with a man while fantasizing about being with a woman.

Not only did she sing <Born This Way>, which deals with the pride of LGBTQ people, but she is always actively talking about LGBTQ human rights. Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Panic! At the Disco's vocalist (and currently the only member) Brandon Yuri have also come out as a pansexual. Sia defined herself with the word "Flexible," saying gender is not important. Recently, in the Korean music industry, Ji-Ae, a former idol from the group What's Up, and Aquinas, a rapper who finished second in the hip-hop competition "High School Rapper 3," have come out as bisexual.

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