Often, being pansexual, I feel like my sexual orientation is an ancient Greek myth. Except not as universally respected and definitely not as known. Whenever someone asks why I date guys and girls, I have two options. The easy way is telling them that I’m bisexual and leaving it at that. The obvious downside to this is that it’s a lie. My other option is to calmly tell them that I’m pansexual and hope that they know what it is or that they don’t care enough to investigate. More often than not, I’m faced with the uncomfortable situation of having to explain my sexual orientation to a stranger. Even worse, often after I tell a person I’m pansexual I’m met with an obscure assumption about what that means.

“Wait, so you like to have sex with pans?”

Maybe the first time someone asked if pansexual meant I was sexually attracted to pans it was kind of cute. Even the second, third, fourth, and fifth time that one-liner still had some charm left in it. However, I think I speak for every pansexual person when I say: No, we are not attracted to pans and please stop asking. It isn’t that hard to understand. Pansexuality is the attraction to all genders; or when attraction occurs regardless of gender. For me personally, it’s the former.

While the Greek root pan means all, it’s not true that pansexuals are attracted to everyone they see- I’ve also been asked that on many many occasions. Similar to the way that a straight person isn’t attracted to every member of the opposite sex, pansexual people aren’t attracted to everyone they see. A pan person simply has the potential to be attracted to anyone because their sexual attraction is not gender-exclusive.

Many people believe that “pansexual” is just a phrase bisexual people use to feel unique. Generally, these people are either unaware of the gender-spectrum or deny it. Also, they wear camouflage cargo shorts and have perpetual, awkward stubble on their upper lip. As if this needs to be said, no, that’s not true.

Again, I’m taking the liberty of speaking for all pansexuals: Now that you, the reader, know that all these questions and theories are invalid, please stop assuming things about pansexuality. Although I’m not denying that explaining pansexuality over and over gets annoying, we’d all rather you simply ask us than to start theorizing about our sexual orientation.