Q&A: “what does it mean when people identify as bi/pan or poly/pan or any other combination like that?”

anonymous said:

Im sorry if this is a dumb question, but what does it mean when people identify as bi/pan or poly/pan or any other combination like that. Is it like romantically they’re pan and sexually they’re bi, vice versa. Or is it something like they fall along somewhere between the two? I don’t know if I worded this clearly, I’m really curious and confused. Thank you for your time, you have a great blog btw.


there is an infinite number of reasons why someone might identify as/with more than one orientation at the same time. for example,

  • having a sexual orientation that differs from their romantic/etc orientation
  • feeling like those orientations equally describe who they are
  • feeling like a combination of those orientations
  • feeling somewhere in between those orientations
  • having a fluid sexuality that shifts between those orientations
  • having a desire to be visible as a member of more than one community
  • not wanting to or being unable to choose one identity over the other(s)
  • there not being any real reason to limit themself to only one identity if more than one describes them
  • etc etc

if you are curious as to why a specific person identifies as/with more than one orientation, it would be best to (respectfully) ask that person why they identify the way they do. only they can tell you their personal reason(s), after all, and if they choose not to disclose their reasons to you, you’ll just have to accept that. it’s a very personal question to ask someone, after all.

as someone who identifies as/with multiple orientations myself, i can tell you that for me personally the reasons behind that are complex, but i would be more than happy to at least gloss over those reasons if someone asked me about it in a respectful manner.

and i stress the “respectful” part because all too often people with multiple orientations and/or identities get told that their identities are invalid and that they can only be one thing or another, which adds to why some people can be automatically defensive when asked about their identities. that, and because i’ve decided to turn this into a Mixed / Multiple Orientation 101 post of sorts since there aren’t enough out there. gotta cover the basics! hope this helps.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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