Thanks to celebrities like Miley Cyrus coming out as pansexual, more and more people are becoming aware of this sexual identity.
In 2016, Cyrus told Variety that she struggled with identifying herself as bisexual, even though she had been attracted to both males and females ever since a young age.
"I always hated the word 'bisexual' because that's even putting me in a box," she explained in the interview. "I don't ever think about someone being a boy or someone being a girl. ... My eyes started opening in the fifth or sixth grade. My first relationship in my life was with a chick."
In a more recent interview with Billboard, the 24-year-old got a little bit more specific about being a pansexual.
"Who I'm with has nothing to do with sex," she said. "I'm super-open, pansexual, that's just me."
It makes sense Cyrus has only recently come forward as pansexual, because the term "pansexual" has only arisen to the mainstream media in the past five or sex years, according to Holly Richmond, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and marriage and family counselor. But even though it's a relatively new term, pansexuality is not a new concept by any means.
By definition, pansexual people could be attracted to a man, a woman, a transgender person or a non-gendered person.
"Pan comes for the Greek word all," Richmond told Women's Health. "Pansexual is not bi-sexual, it's all sexual."
And while pansexuals may be attracted to all people, that doesn't mean they're going to have sex with anyone. Plus, it's not just about sex. Pansexuals connect with a person, rather than a gender. "It's about developing meaningful relationships," Richmond said.
Let Cyrus explain it: For someone who never identified with a gender or sexuality, pansexuality came naturally.
"My mom is like an '80s rock chick — big blonde hair, big boobs. She loves being a girl. I never felt that way. I know some girls that love getting their nails done. I f-----g hated it. My nails look like s--t. I don't wax my eyebrows. I never related to loving being a girl. And then, being a boy didn't sound fun to me," she said in her Variety interview.
"Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more. I was like, 'Oh — that's why I don't feel straight and I don't feel gay. It's because I'm not.'"
Photo Credit: Getty / Rich Fury