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What is Omnisexuality? A Brief History 

Omnisexuality
Omnisexuality is when someone is attracted to all gender identities and sexual orientations. This term falls under the category of multisexuality, which includes people attracted to more than one gender

Omnisexuality is when someone is attracted to all gender identities and sexual orientations. This term falls under the category of multisexuality, which includes people attracted to more than one gender. Folks who are omnisexual are usually categorized along with those who identify as bisexual, polysexual, and pansexual.

Like with any other sexual orientation or gender identity, there’s no single way to identify as omnisexual. Omnisexual and pansexual, both refer to being attracted to people of any gender identity, have been used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences, which we’ll get into later.

Omnisexual people may often find that their gender identity is confused with other sexual orientations. Therefore, they may feel added pressure to label themselves in a more familiar way. 

What Is the History of the Word Omnisexuality?

The word Omnisexuality first appeared at the 1959 beat poet Lawrence Lipton’s The Holy Barbarians. However, it was first noticed in a 1984 text Sexual Choices: An Introduction to Human Sexuality. This text defined Omnisexuality as “a state of attraction to all sexes.” In addition, it mentioned that some researchers believe that every person is born omnisexual before they label their sexual attractions as gay, straight, or other sexual orientations.

The term appeared more in the early 1990s when M. Jimmie Killingsworth analyzed the poet Walt Whitman. In Killingsworth’s study, he discovered that Whitman created an omnisexual character in The Leaves of Grass. In the 2010s, The Atlantic also found that Whitman’s poetry expressed sexuality towards all genders.

During the 2000s, omnisexual became a common message board term. Then, the term became more well-known when celebrities, like Janelle Monáe, came out as pansexual. As a result, many popular articles discussed Omnisexuality alongside various pansexual celebrities. 

What Examples of Omnisexuality Are There in the Media?

Some fictional characters who have been confirmed to be omnisexual include Jack Harkness from Doctor Who/Torchwood, Elim Garak from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Kevin Crawford from Paradise P.D. The term omnisexuality has also been featured in Big Mouth and Deadpool from Marvel Comics.

How Is Omnisexuality Different From Pansexuality?

Many people might define both terms as being attracted to every gender; however, it is more nuanced than that. According to the Oxford Dictionary, is “the state of being sexually attracted to people without regard to their sex or gender identity.”

Both pansexual and omnisexual also come from different languages. For example, the prefix pan is derived from the Greek word ‘pan’ meaning “all,” whereas the prefix omni is from the Latin word ‘omni’, which also translates to “all.” However, even though these terms have a prefix that translates to “all,” there is a distinct difference between these concepts.  

The primary difference is that pansexuality is the attraction to people regardless of their gender, meaning they could date someone without their gender playing a part in whether they want to become romantically involved with them. On the other hand, omnisexual is the attraction to anyone despite their gender, which means they could date a person of any gender and notice their gender, but not care how they identify.

What Is the Omnisexual Flag?

Pastelmemer first designed the omnisexual flag around July 4, 2015. Even though the meaning of the colors is not yet confirmed, many believe that the flag signifies the following: the light pink and light blue are representative of the gender spectrum. Pink is the attraction to femininity and women. Blue is the attraction to masculinity and men. The deep purple, which can sometimes be black, represents attraction to people whose gender identities are outside these categories. 

Many people have also created alternative flags for Omnisexuality. 

What Are Some Myths and Misconceptions About Omnisexuality?

Omnisexual people, similar to other identities in the multisexual category, may experience intolerance regarding their sexual identity. In addition, finding resources about this sexual orientation can be challenging. People may also not recognize or know what the term means, and they may attempt to put omnisexual people in a more known category.

Since there is such a lack of information about Omnisexuality, much confusion and misconceptions can occur. For example, one common myth is that omnisexual people aren’t willing to settle down with one person. Another misconception is that there is the perception that those who identify this way are more promiscuous than others.

How Does Omnisexuality Work in Relationships?

If you are dating someone, they may not be familiar with the term omnisexuality. If this is the case, you can explain what it means to you by identifying it this way. 

Understanding your preferences can help communicate your wants and needs to your partner, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. In essence, mutual respect can create more appreciation of each other’s differences and validate your identity.

In Summary

It can be helpful for those individuals who identify as omnisexual to share their experiences with the broader LGBTQ+ community. That way, there can be fewer misunderstandings on what being omnisexual is. Plus, further insights on Omnisexuality can help others work through their complex sexual identities.

It is essential to note that sexual orientation and gender are unique to every person, so someone’s definition of their sexuality or gender could differ from another person’s. In essence, you can choose to label yourself however you want or choose not to label yourself. All in all, there is no need to feel pressure to choose or conform to a specific sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Billie Olsen

AUTHOR: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.

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