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Panromantic Demisexuality: What Is It?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

The panromantic demisexual orientation has two important parts: a sexual orientation, and a romantic orientation. Someone who is panromantic and demisexual has the potential to feel romantic attraction to people of any gender, but they only feel sexual attraction to people with whom they have a significant emotional bond. Panromantic demisexual people can identify as any gender. People who are panromantic demisexual have a lot in common with pansexual people, but there are some important distinctions between the two orientations.

Other Names for Panromantic Demisexual

Some people identify with the term pansexual as an umbrella term. Many people who call themselves pansexual are panromantic, or panromantic demisexual. However, other people prefer the specificity of calling themselves “panromantic demisexual.”  Since romantic and sexual attraction are not necessarily correlated, being more specific helps some demisexual people avoid misunderstandings.

Meanwhile, some people who could identify as panromantic will use the term biromantic instead. This is often because more people know what “bi” means.

What Is the Difference Between Panromantic Demisexual, Pansexual, and Demisexual?

Pansexuality is the sexual attraction to people regardless of gender, while being panromantic is having the ability to feel romantic attraction regardless of gender. Finally, demisexuality is the sexual attraction only to people with whom the demisexual person has strong emotional ties. The three terms are closely related when it comes to panromantic demisexuality. 

Panromantic Demisexual vs. Pansexual vs. Demisexual

Some people who identify as pansexual may actually be panromantic demisexual. Since pansexuality is the ability to be attracted to people of all genders, someone can be demisexual and pansexual. If the demisexual person has a strong emotional bond to someone, they may experience sexual attraction towards them. 

When that demisexual person is panromantic, they have the ability to form strong romantic bonds to regardless of gender. As a result, the sexual attraction they feel may also be unrelated to gender. In contrast, if someone is homoromantic demisexual, they are likely to form closer bonds with people of their own gender, and will likely experience attraction only to their own gender. 

Myths and Misconceptions about Being Panromantic and Demisexual

A common stereotype regarding demisexual people is that they are “picky” or “frigid.” This connects a demisexual person’s willingness to engage in sexual activity to their orientation. It also implies that they are wrong for having preferences regarding the people with whom they have sex. However, demisexuality is a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality. The only difference is that demisexual people feel sexual attraction as an element of an already-established relationship, instead of as an independent feeling. Regardless of orientation, everyone has the right to turn down any potential sexual partner for any reason. 

Panromantic demisexual people can also face the opposite stereotype: that they are more likely to be unfaithful or cheat on their partners. Some people assume that the ability to be attracted to everyone means that someone is more likely to act on that attraction. However, this is completely untrue. Studies have shown that bi- and pansexual people have the same variety of opinions about monogamy as people who are only attracted to one gender. Panromantic people are just as likely to remain monogamous as anyone else.

How Being Panromantic and Demisexual Works in Relationships

Panromantic demisexual people can benefit from regular, clear communication with their partners. Because they only feel sexual attraction to people with whom they have a bond, they may not be sexually attracted to their romantic partner at first. Open, honest communication can help both people in the relationship feel more comfortable. It can also help the demisexual person maintain their boundaries. No one, even a romantic partner, ever has the right to demand you perform sexual acts with which you are not comfortable

Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Panromantic Demisexuality

Some people find it to be helpful or cathartic to come out, but you don’t need to come out unless you want to. If you choose to come out, you might find it easiest to explain your sexual and romantic orientations separately. You can compare your panromantic orientation to other people’s hetero- or homoromantic attraction. Panromantic attraction is a natural attraction to people regardless of gender, just as heteroromantic attraction is a natural attraction to people of a different gender. 

It may help to make the point that you do not have romantic feelings for everyone you meet; it's about the potential. If you are panromantic, you will still have preferences for any potential romantic partners, just like anyone else. 

You can also explain demisexuality as an aspect of your romantic orientation. You can be clear with potential partners that you may or may not develop sexual attraction for them, and either way it is not their fault. When a demisexual person does not feel sexual attraction towards someone they don’t know, that is just as valid as a heterosexual man not feeling attracted to another man. You are not expressing a preference or “suppressing” your sexuality; you genuinely don’t experience sexual attraction to people you don’t know well.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

AVEN: “Demisexual.”

Bi.org: “The Bi vs. Pan Rivalry Needs to Stop.”

Bisexual Resource Center: “Pan & Bi: A Handy Guide.”

Dictionary.com: “Panromantic.”

Dictionary.com: “Demisexual.”

LGBT Foundation: “What It Means to be Pansexual or Panromantic.”

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity : “"Bi" ing Into Monogamy: Attitudes Toward Monogamy in a Sample of Bisexual-Identified Adults.”

RAINN: “What Consent Looks Like.”

UC Davis: “Ways To Be An Ally to Nonmonosexual / Bi People.”

University of Massachusetts: “LGBTQIA+ Terminology.”

Washington University: “Thinking of coming out?”

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