What is pomosexuality and how does it differ from pansexuality and polysexuality?

Image shows a woman with long dark hair on the left, explaining pomosexuality on TikTok. On the right is the Pomosexual Pride flag

Have you ever felt like you don’t fit into any of the conventional labels or classifications of sexuality, like gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual? Then you might be pomosexual.

Now what is pomosexual? There are so many different words and labels that can used to describe your gender or sexuality that it can be hard to keep track. “Pomosexuality” essentially means “post-modern sexuality”, but that doesn’t exactly explain very much, so we’re here to help.

Essentially, if you are pomosexual, it means you refuse, avoid, or don’t fit into any particular sexual orientation label that we already have.

The idea is that pomosexuality (or being pomoromantic) aims to challenge strict categorisations of who you love or are attracted to and aims to show that the world is full of many people that you may want to be with.

Some pomosexual people may be queer or questioning – but then again, they also might not be. Some people have dubbed pomosexual as a “labeln’t” rather than a “label”. It’s a deep rejection of labels.

Pomosexuals might feel as if conventional delineations of identifying as gay, bisexual, pansexual, or polysexual don’t suit them because of how gender is a wide-ranging and ever-changing spectrum – and they may feel tired of having to explain specifics about who they love or are attracted to when in reality, it’s a lot more complex than that.

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According to Gaysi, the term was coined in 1997 by Carol Queen and Laurence Schimel, and the prefix “pomo” is short for post-modern.

You might be reading this because you’ve confused pomosexuality with being pansexual or polysexual. They are very different, apart from the first letter.

People who identify as pansexual generally do not place any significance on another person’s gender and are therefore attracted to people of all genders. Polysexual people instead are attracted to multiple genders, which does not have to include your own gender, and there many some genders they are not attracted to.

Pansexuality falls under the umbrella term of polysexuality but they are different things – and so too is being pomosexual.

Unlike being pansexual or polysexual, which still uses the definitions of gender to define their sexual attraction, pomosexual actively rejects those labels.

For people who have found it difficult to accurately define their sexuality using other terms, identifying as pomosexual instead might be the right thing.

As it’s still an emerging term, there isn’t much out there on pomosexuality, even on TikTok where many people of varying sexualities and genders go to discuss their feelings and identities.

A writer in Gaysi said that this identity is largely “invisbilised”, particularly as “alternative sexuality acceptance still has a long way to go” while “the fight” has not even begun to get pomosexuality to be recognised widely.