The “poly” prefix means “many”. As language develops, we are able to understand and create more terms that describe our gender and sexual identities.
While some of these terms are widely heard and accepted, some of them are very new and are not as well understood in the mainstream.
Polysexual is quite a new term, which refers to someone who is attracted to many genders.
Someone might identify as polysexual if they are attracted to all genders except men, for example, or if they are attracted to women and those that are non-binary.
Polygender is a gender identity for those who feel they belong to more than one gender.
It is important to understand that people will identify with the term polysexual in many different ways. Read on for more information on what poly means in an LGBTQ setting.
What Does Polygender Mean?
Polygender is a gender identity that describes someone who feels like they belong to more than one gender.
It is a non-binary gender identity. People who are polygender may have two genders, three genders, or more.
Pansexual Vs Polysexual
The prefix “pan” means “all”. Someone who identifies as pansexual is attracted to all genders.
This can also mean that they are attracted to a person regardless of their gender.
Someone who is polysexual is attracted to many genders but this does not mean that they are attracted to all.
Someone who is pansexual often feels that gender is irrelevant to their attraction, whereas those who identify as polysexual often feel like gender plays a part in who they are attracted to.
Bisexual Vs Polysexual
Some people will see bisexual and polysexual as interchangeable.
However, some people find that being able to distinguish that they are attracted to two genders using the term bisexual is important.
The term polysexual moves away from the gender binary, as it moves away from the idea of just male and female.
Bisexuality is often associated with this. The term allows people to have an accurate understanding and representation of their sexual orientation.
All of these terms fall under the umbrella term of non-monosexuality which means being attracted to more than one gender.
Polysexuality And Polyamory
You should be careful not to confuse polysexuality with polyamory. If you are polyamorous, that doesn’t mean that you are attracted to different genders.
It just means that you are in a relationship with more than one person at a time.
You can be both polysexual and polyamorous, but the two don’t go hand in hand. You can be only polysexual and only polyamorous.
This is why it is important to not shorten the term polysexual to its prefix, “poly” as this can get confusing.
What Challenges Do Polysexual People Face?
There are lots of stereotypes about polysexuality, along with all other terms that are non-monosexual.
You may be accused of not being able to make up your mind, and want to have everything.
This sometimes comes with the judgment that you are promiscuous.
People may also judge the person’s relationship that they are currently in if they identify as polysexual.
For instance, if a polysexual woman is in a relationship with a man, people may presume that she is straight.
Sexual orientation isn’t limited to the person that you are with, and it is important to remember that you don’t know a person’s sexual orientation just based on who they are with.
How These Judgements May Affect Those Who Identify As Polysexual?
If you identify as polysexual, you can experience some problems.
In a doctor’s office, if you identify as polysexual but you are in a certain relationship, the assumptions that are made by the doctor can affect your healthcare.
For instance, they might not ask about the specifics of your relationships but may ask if you are sexually active.
In terms of health, sexual history is very important in finding a diagnosis, and so if they presume that your current relationship is the only type of sexual relationship you’ve had, this can come in the way.
For this reason, it is important that you have a doctor who is aware of your sexuality, and is accepting, understanding and open.
You must feel comfortable discussing this aspect of your life with your doctor.
As well as this, sexual minorities are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety because of the discrimination that they experience. There is lots of help and support out there for this.
How To Be Understanding Of Polysexuality?
When someone discusses their sexuality with you, it can be difficult to know how to react. It is important that you are very open during the conversation.
It is important to believe what the person is telling you and trust them. If someone is coming to you with this, they have been thinking it through beforehand.
You shouldn’t assume that you know more than the person who is having the experience.
After this initial step, the next thing you should do is do some research into polysexuality.
It is very useful if you attempt to understand their experiences and ask plenty of questions to try and understand fully how they feel. Showing interest will make them feel seen.
Remember, it is not expected that you know everything from the start, it is just important that you are accepting and show your desire to provide support.
There are some more steps that you can take to make yourself an ally to a polysexual individual:
- Understand the difficulties that polysexual people may have to face.
- Ensure that you stand up and intervene when you see any bias or any negative comments. If this happens, you should try to defuse the situation, remove the victim and alert someone who can help who has greater authority.
Polysexual refers to someone who is attracted to many different genders.
It is important that people put effort into being more understanding of different sexual and gender identities. This will make the person feel validated and understood.