Are You Being Devalued In Your Dating Relationships As A Pansexual?

Last Updated 24.05.2022
4 min read

Here’s What You Can do About That

Pansexual and panromantic aren’t new identities. In fact, both have likely been around as long as sexual and romantic have. The only new development is that these things have a clear definition. A panromantic desires romantic relationships with people regardless of their gender identity. A pansexual desires sexual relationships regardless of gender identity.

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    The good news is that people are now more able to talk freely about their identities than ever before. Acceptance is up. Although violence and harassment exist. The bad news is that dating and relationships can be a struggle for those who are open with their pan-X identities.

    What Do You Mean by Devalued?

    People are devalued in dating relationships on two different levels. The first happens prior to any sort of relationship beginning. Essentially, they simply aren’t considered to be as valued or “sought after” for no other reason than their sexual preference. This happens for many reasons, although these aren’t in any way reasonable (or kind).

    One example of this is that women over 35 are often devalued in dating. They simply aren’t viewed as a “catch”. They may even be seen as problematic (opinionated, had many sexual partners, might have family obligations).

    The other type of devaluing comes after the dating relationship starts. This involves how people are treated during relationships. Obviously abuse is devaluing, but so are many other things. This includes being excluded from consideration for exclusive relationships

    What Does This Look Like For a Panromantic or Pansexual?

    Misunderstandings and prejudices persist about people who identify as pansexual or panromantic. This impacts how they are viewed in many ways, including through the lens of dating. Here are some examples of misperceptions:

    • Pan individuals are incapable of commitment

    • They are attention seeking 

    • They only want casual or kinky sex

    • They have latched onto a “trendy” identity

    • Pansexuals in long-term relationships were just going through a phase

    This can lead to devaluation in all phases of dating and relationships.

    Imagine that you are using a dating app. You fill out your profile, and wait. You get plenty of flirtation via message, lots of requests for nudes, even some propositions. What you don’t get is many invitations to go on actual dates. Why? Because many people presume that you are game for casual sex, but not worthy of the process and efforts of a proper date.

    Likewise, imagine that you are invited on a date. The problem is that instead of engaging in usual first-date conversations, the person you are with jumps right into uncomfortably sexualized talk, and presumes that you are up for fulfilling whatever sexual fantasies they have in mind. Why? Because many people presume you are going to be willing to be fetishized. 

    Here’s a final example. You’ve been dating someone for a few months. You connect with them. You think they connect with you. It’s going great. Until, you are dumped without warning. When you push to find out why, you’re told “Come on. This was never gonna last. I want to get married someday, and I know people like you just can’t do that. You would’ve dumped me or cheated eventually. I just did it first.” Yes, it’s another example of someone who is pansexual or panromantic being treated as if they aren’t worthy of commitment or respect simply because of a false belief that they aren’t capable of monogamy.

    How to Demand Respect While Dating as a Pansexual or Panromantic

    Let’s start with the things you should not and are not obligated to do:

    • Sell anybody on the idea that being pan is real

    • Justify your sexual preferences or history

    • “Earn” loyalty or respect

    • Take on the emotional labor of educating people about your identity

    • Allow yourself to be held responsible for or be held up as a representative of every other person who identifies as pansexual

    Instead, your approach should be to approach all dating relationships with the belief that you deserve to be treated with respect. Work to learn how to communicate expectations and set boundaries. Be honest and clear about your intentions as well. Call people out on their microaggressions relating to your identity.

    Final Words 

    None of this creates an absolute guarantee that you’ll never be devalued again. However, by taking these actions, you can set some boundaries to limit poor treatment, and force potential dating partners to rethink their own prejudices and poor behaviors.

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