RELATIONSHIP: What is pansexuality?
Article #: 261467
The girl I have been dating for a while now just came out and told me she is pansexual. I don't know what pansexual really is, I've looked it up online and got the basic and detailed definitions, but that doesn't help me understand. Can you tell me in a way a fifteen year old would understand? I want to know where she is coming from and what she really means. Thank you.
I can certainly understand your dilemma regarding "pansexuality." It can be difficult for even older folks to understand, let alone explain.
I think the first thing you need to do is understand that at 15 years old, and I am assuming your girlfriend is also 15 or so, teenagers are trying to find out who they are and their place in the world. Today there is a lot of discussion among young people about their sexual orientation. When I was your age people I associated with didn't have a conflict about "gender identification" or sexual attraction. The girls were attracted to guys and the guys were attracted to girls. If they weren't, then they kept it to themselves. Maybe it's better that people are so open today. I'm not so sure because I think it can also lead to confusion.
In my opinion, your girlfriend may not want to identify with any sexual gender because she doesn't want to offend anyone. She can be whatever society wants her to be; male or female and open to all relationships. These relationships don't necessarily have to be based on gender or sexual attraction, but can be based solely on personality rather than physical appearance. Some people don't identify themselves as a man or a woman which can make life difficult for the rest of us.
I know a man who after being married and having a daughter, has now identified himself as a woman. He dresses like a woman and wears makeup, uses the ladies room (I know because I have encountered him/her in there). He has not had gender reassignment surgery. He has a very deep voice so it is startling to encounter him dressed like a woman and trying to act like a woman, but sounding like a man. It is uncomfortable for me because he acts like a man in the ladies room. Men just have different habits so I just wonder if he can really change himself into the woman he wants to become. Putting on a dress doesn't make him a woman. He also doesn't have feminine interests. He seems to be more comfortable talking about baseball scores or the latest x box game. It seems odd to me because I am older, but it may be the "new normal." While this man is trying to re-identify himself as a woman and making changes in himself by hormonal injections, I also think teenagers are going through many natural hormonal changes and gender preference may not be known for a few years. Your girlfriend may be having this experience, and not want to limit herself to a preferred sexual choice. On the other hand, she may just like sounding superior to everyone else by identifying herself this way. Maybe in a few years she will decide that she really is a man and go for the changes like the man I know, or she may eventually determine that she is really gay. As you can see, she is leaving herself open to all choices.
Now, you are probably thinking, where does this leave me? In my opinion, you have a choice to make. Do you want to continue a relationship with this girl not really knowing what her preference is or are you willing to just see where this relationship goes? It is really your choice. Keep in mind that you are not a bad person if you determine that you don't want to get involved in the possible emotional drama that a relationship with her may bring. You are still a very young man and going through your own growing pains and hormonal changes. Take time to get to know you and your own preferences. I suggest you talk to your dad or another trusted male adult about this situation. Remember your dad was your age once and knows how you are feeling. Your mother may also be able to give you some insight into how your girlfriend is feeling.
I hope my advice is helpful and that you will contact Elder Wisdom Circle again if you need us. We are always here.