In an effort to incorporate the idea of different sexualities into the patriarchal way of thinking, psychologists (and other professionals) have summed up sexualities in three main ways: heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. However, as times have progressed and people have started understanding people of the LGBTQ+ community better, a more uncomfortable truth has began to present itself to society: there are many different labels, and many more different types of people that have always been ignored. This article will be focusing more specifically on people on the multisexuality spectrum and understanding the concept behind these seemingly similar labels.
To start off, it’s important to understand what multisexuality means. Multisexuality is a more generic term used to describe people attracted to more than one gender. As the understanding of gender has increased, so has the understanding between different forms of attraction. The original definition of bisexuality was ‘attraction to men and women’ as understanding and accepting the gender spectrum didn’t agree with the society’s values at the time. However, as it is now known, gender is not so simple. Gender itself is a spectrum, and people can identify as how they best see fit for themselves. This includes people who identify as agender, bigender, demigirl, demiboy, genderfluid people, etc. all of whom fall under the non-binary spectrum of gender. With this new understanding of what gender is, the definition of bisexuality has been revised to say ‘attraction to two or more genders’. Known examples of bisexual people include Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Billie Joe Armstrong, etc.
There are other terms that have quite similar meaning to bisexuality, however, these terms make up the rest of the multisexual spectrum for now. Pansexuality is the attraction to people regardless of gender. Looking at this definition, it is quite obvious that before our more advanced understanding of gender, pansexuality and bisexuality looked pretty much the same, since gender was understood to be the same thing as sex. However, it is easier to describe pansexual people as gender blind. They don’t have preferences for the gender of their partners, while many bisexual people do. Gender is never a factor for many pansexual people, but it can certainly play a part for people that are bisexual. Next is omnisexuality. Omnisexuality is the attraction to all genders, but with their own personal preferences. Quite similar to pansexuality (and often confused), the key difference between these two is the noting of the gender. While pansexual people might be deemed as gender blind, omni people certainly are not, and the gender can make a difference in terms of personal attraction, whether it be sexual or romantic. Finally, there is polysexuality, which is the attraction to three or more genders. Polysexuality is not the same as being polyamory (having relationships with more than one partner at the same time). They also have personal preferences for the genders that they are attracted to. Abrosexuality is an identity for people whose orientation fluctuates on a regular basis. This means that their sexual orientation can shift frequently, a lot more than other’s might experience through the course of their life. Many put abrosexuality on the asexuality spectrum since those who are abro might find it inconvenient to form relationships due to the continuous changing of their orientation. They still fall on the multisexual spectrum because of the different attraction to people at different times.
(The multisexual pride flag, consists of four colors: purple, white, blue and pink/magenta)
These are not the only terms that are a part of the multisexual spectrum, but they are some of the more common ones. The first four presented on the list are labels that specify the type of attraction a person feels, but they are also all a part of the bisexuality spectrum. The difference here, between the bi spectrum and the multisexual spectrum, is that multisexual is an umbrella term open for more labels, including abrosexual, bi-romantic, etc. The bisexual spectrum includes pansexuality, omnisexuality and polysexuality, so a person could technically be oriented as pan, but identify as bi.
It is important to note that if someone is transgender (MTF or FTM), it doesn’t ever play a role in these sexualities, and that despite arguments within the LGBTQ+ community, none of these sexualities are transphobic. There is also no need to gatekeep people’s sexualities, because sometimes the definition doesn’t matter as much as the person’s comfort with their chosen label (or none if they don’t want to conform). Society has made a lot of progress with people on the multisexual spectrum and understanding them as people, all of which couldn’t have been possible without gaining knowledge about the gender spectrum as well. The gender spectrum, just like the multisexuality spectrum, isn’t as simple as it has been made to seem in this article, since this is a very simplified version of these identities and what they mean, to help bring greater understanding. Not only does expanding your knowledge on these terms and more spectrums in the LGBTQ+ community make you a better ally, but it also continues the progress of breaking down the binary patriarchy bit by bit.
(The bisexual pride flag. Pink at the top, symbolizes same/similar gender attraction. Blue at the bottom, symbolizes opposite/dissimilar gender attraction. Purple, the mixture of both pink and blue represents attraction across the gender spectrum)
Authored by: Yana Kumar
Edited by: Uddantika Kashyap