I really need to stop reading YouTube comments. Right when I’m having a really good few weeks—I’m happy, things are going well in my life, I’m optimistic about society making drastic headway towards being more accepting of different ideas—those comments are right there to knock it all down. A few days ago, I watched a fantastically inspiring video related to sexuality, and I absolutely loved the ideas brought up in this video. When it finished, I still wanted more dialogue on the topic, so I scrolled down to the comments. The third comment I see: Pansexuals are like dogs… they’ll just have sex with anything, even animals and objects.
Normally, I can just take a few deep breaths and move on from frustrating, ignorant comments like this, but this is one that I’ve see more than a few times during my escapades on the internet, so I’m going to talk about it.
First of all, dogs do not have sex with just anything. I’m not a dog psychologist or anything, but I know that when dogs hump things, it is typically an act of dominance, not a mating attempt. Occasionally, dogs will have sex with other dogs of the same sex, but if you put two same-sexed dogs in a cage together, they won’t automatically start having sex with each other. Furthermore, dogs do not mate with other species, unless it is a closely related species like a wolf.
Okay, enough about dogs because I don’t really know a lot about their mating habits, and that’s not really the meat of this comment anyway. There are two things this comment implies: all pansexuals are hyper-promiscuous and every single physical entity is fair game for them.
First of all, pansexuals are not attracted to every sex of every species of animal. That may or may not be omnisexuality (I’ve heard some refer to it as this, but others firmly state that omnisexuals are not attracted to animals, so I don’t know), but it is not pansexuality. Being attracted to inanimate objects is object sexuality (creative name, I know)and is also a completely different thing. I am aware that having a prefix in front of sexuality that means “all” does tend to lead one to the belief that it does really mean “all” in its most inclusive sense, but I didn’t come up with the word for it. If I could have picked the word for it, I’d probably go with deeper-emotional-connectionsexualty because that’s my biased opinion about it. But just as feminism isn’t as exclusive to females as the word implies, pansexuality isn’t as inclusive to everything and everyone as the word implies.
The other implication of this comment has a whole bundle of misunderstandings associated with it. First of all, being attracted to both genders is not the same as being attracted to every member of both genders. Sex and gender are not the only qualities people look for in a sexual partner. Personality, values, sense of humor, interest in specific kinks, degree of comfort, physical appearance, culture, and level of familiarity are all factors that are often considered, among many, many others. This is true for every type of sexuality. Heterosexuals do not have sex with every single person of the opposite sex. Homosexuals do not have sex with every member of the same sex. Likewise, pansexuals do not have sex with every willing person they can find.
This comment touches on a huge misconception: the belief that sexual orientation and sexual activity are related. This is what I really want to look at because the two are completely unrelated, but many people do tend to link them. Sexual orientation describes one’s preference in regard to sex or gender. Sexual activity refers to the degree to which one engages in sexual acts and what said acts entail. One does not at all affect the other.
When I was in high school, there was a commonly held stereotype that bisexual people were especially promiscuous and has freaky sex all the time. There was another belief that bisexuals always had a boyfriend and a girlfriend, and that they usually had sex with both at the same time. I feel disgusted typing this out because this belief is based on ignorance and has no grounds. There’s also a really common stereotype that people who identify as homosexual are extra promiscuous and have dirty sex at all hours of the day and night. This one is also not true of all gay people.
I’m assuming that these misconceptions stem from the fact that if one feels comfortable enough with their sexuality to come out about it, they tend to be more sexually liberated and thus are more prone to pursue their desires. If their desires tend to be dirty sex at all hours of the day and night, then they may feel inclined to do just that, and if we know one person of a certain community who does this, we tend to think that all members of that community do it.
Not only do levels of sexual activity differ, but also the specific acts that people tend to do. Let’s use the ever-so-popular act of scissoring as an example. Anyone who watches male-centered lesbian porn knows about this act. However, not every single lesbian scissors with her partner. Some do. Some don’t. Some use it as their primary means of sexual intercourse, and some only do it on very rare occasions when they’ve had a bit of tequila and feel like spicing things up. Some get off to it, and some use it as a form of foreplay. Without going into any more unnecessary details, my point is that not everyone of a specific sexual orientation partakes in acts that some members of that orientation partake in. We are as diverse within our specific communities as we are outside of them.
So as a society, let’s stop comparing pansexuals to dogs, and let’s stop making assumptions about people based on other things that aren’t related. And let’s please, please, please stop smacking our lips in the quiet section of the library (this is specifically meant for the person sitting across from me right now). That is the one thing that ruins my mood more than YouTube comments.