The term omnisexual can mean different things to different people. Generally, omnisexuality means attraction to people of all genders.
Medical News Today uses definitions of sexual, romantic, and gender identities that come from LGBTQIA+ and ally sources. However, it is important to note that these identities are personal, and people may define them differently. Always refer to a person’s sexual, romantic, or gender identity the same way the person describes it.
Omnisexuality falls under the multisexual umbrella. Multisexuality is when a person experiences attraction to people of multiple genders.
Read on to learn more about omnisexuality, what it means, how it differs from other terms, and how to be an ally.
According to The Trevor Project, a person who identifies as omnisexual is “someone who is attracted to people of all genders, and for whom gender plays an important part of attraction.” This means they are attracted to men, women, nonbinary people, and people of other genders.
People who are omnisexual may be sexually or romantically attracted to people of all genders.
Omnisexuality is a form of multisexuality. Other terms that fall under the multisexual umbrella include:
- Pansexual: A person who is attracted to people regardless of gender may identify as pansexual.
- Queer: A person whose sexuality is outside heterosexuality may identify as queer. However, some people prefer not to use this term due to its stigmatizing history.
- Abrosexual: Sexuality that is fluid and constantly changes can be defined as abrosexual.
- Skoliosexual: A person who has an attraction to transgender and nonbinary people may identify as skoliosexual.
- Fluid: Fluid sexuality can change over time or depend on certain situations.
A survey by The Trevor Project found that, from a sample of LGBTQ youth, 64% reported that they were multisexual, and of that 64%:
- 56% were bisexual
- 28% were pansexual
- 16% were queer
The LGBTQIA Resource center states that both terms describe those who have affectional, romantic, or sexual desire for people of all sexes and genders.
For some people, omnisexuality is the attraction to people regardless of gender. This means they consider it to be another term for pansexuality. Some pansexual people consider themselves to be “gender-blind.”
However, other people consider omnisexuality to mean attraction to people regardless of gender, but gender plays an important role in their attraction.
According to The Trevor Project, while they are related terms, omnisexuality and pansexuality mean different things:
- Pansexuality: For some pansexual people, gender is not a defining characteristic of their attraction to another person. For others, a person’s gender can play an important part in their attraction to another person.
- Omnisexuality: Gender plays an important part in their attraction to another person.
There are various myths and misconceptions about people who are omnisexual.
Myth 1: They do not exist
Omnisexual people have always existed. Although there are no official sources for the term, some think it was created by the poet Lawrence Lipton in 1959.
People who are omnisexual may have previously identified as pansexual or bisexual before discovering the term.
Myth 2: They have multiple partners
Being omnisexual does not necessarily mean a person has multiple partners. A person who is omnisexual may experience a range of sexual behaviors. This is also the case for people who are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or who are another sexuality.
Myth 3: They are polyamorous
Polyamory is when a person enters into a relationship with more than one person.
A person who is omnisexual can be monogamous or choose to have multiple partners. There is nothing wrong with either option, and it is up to each individual to decide how they want to express their sexuality.
Myth 4: They cannot make up their mind about their sexuality
Omnisexuality is a valid sexual identity. Some people who are omnisexual may have previously considered themselves to be another sexuality.
However, this does not necessarily mean a person is confused about their sexuality. They may have previously not known the term omnisexual or may have thought they were only attracted to certain genders.
Having an omnisexual partner does not change a person’s relationship. An omnisexual person may be in a monogamous relationship or prefer to be polyamorous. They may also be aromantic.
An omnisexual person can appear to be in a heterosexual relationship if they are with someone of the “opposite” gender. However, it does not change their sexuality.
Omnisexual people can face oppression in the same way as gay, lesbian, or bisexual people can. Multisexual people may find that they experience oppression from both heterosexual and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Research from The Trevor Project found that compared to monosexual youths, 58% of multisexual youths reported experiencing symptoms of major depressive disorder. In addition:
- 44% considered suicide in the past 12 months
- 52% reported self-harm
- 72% experienced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
Having a good support network can be important for a person who is LGBTQIA+.
GLAAD recommends the following ways for a person to be an ally to LGBTQIA+ people:
- listen to what they have to say
- be open-minded
- be willing to talk
- be inclusive
- invite your LGBTQIA+ loved ones to social events or gatherings
- do not assume that everyone you know is straight
- do not make anti-LGBTQIA+ jokes, and let others know they are offensive
- confront any internal bias or prejudice
- defend LGBTQIA+ loved ones against discrimination
- believe that people should be treated with kindness and dignity regardless of their gender or sexual orientation
There are various support sources available to omnisexual people. The
Additional LGBTQIA+ resources include:
Omnisexuality is the attraction to people of all genders. Some people who are omnisexual have a preference for certain genders. However, other omnisexual people may be attracted to all genders equally.
A person’s sexuality does not dictate how many sexual partners they choose to have. An omnisexual person may be monogamous, polyamorous, or aromantic.
If a person has a loved one who is omnisexual, there are many ways they can support and encourage them.