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Panromantic vs Polyromantic - question for those who love discussions on terminology


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Ok so, I've been browsing these forums and the interwebs for the definition of polyromantic. Found out I thought polyromantic was what actually polyamorous is, but anyway.

Here's the definition for curious people of Polyamorous: Polyamory (from Greek πολύ [poly, meaning many or several] and Latin amor [love]) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and free consent of everyone involved.

Polyamory, often abbreviated to poly, is sometimes described as consensual, ethical, or responsible non-monogamy. The word is occasionally used more broadly to refer to any sexual or romantic relationships that are not sexually exclusive, though there is disagreement on how broadly it applies; an emphasis on ethics, honesty, and transparency all around is widely regarded as the crucial defining characteristic.

Now my question is not about polyamorous people. I got that. I don't understand the differences, if there's any, between panromantic and polyromantic. Here's the definitions I found on this Glossary:

Panromantic: A person who is romantically attracted to others but is not limited by the other’s sex or gender. Similar to bi-romantic except that it includes genders beyond man/male and woman/female including transgender and third gender. Someone panromantic versus bi-romantic will tend to feel that their partner’s gender does little to define their relationship. Often someone identifying as bi-romantic is also pan-romantic but pan-romantic is much less known or understand as a term and simply less common. The sexual counterpart to pan-romantic is pansexual.

Polyromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of more than one gender or sex but without implying, as biromantic does, that there are only two genders or sexes.

While Wikipedia says:

Panromantic (also omniromantic): romantic attraction towards person(s) of any gender or lack of gender, including persons of nonbinary gender – the romantic aspect of pansexuality

Polyromantic: romantic attraction towards multiple, but not all, genders and gender identities – the romantic aspect of polysexuality.

While the first glossary confuses me, because it makes them seem like synoyms to me, the second (from Wiki) seems to say that polyamorous are attracted by more than one gender, but not all? Like, I may be attracted by males and bigender, but not females? While panromantic don't even care?

I need to have this clear :blink: Who's up for a little discussion?

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I feel, as a panromantic, that gender does not factor in overall within my relationships. My partner could identify as any sex/gender, and it would not change anything about how I feel about them; whereas hetero-romantics, homo-romantics (and potentially trans-romantic) have a fixed sex/gender identity they are attracted to. In the above definition, it says that biromantics can also be panromantics. This is somewhat true. A biromantic may feel that it doesn't matter whether someone is male/female sexed/gendered to have a relationship with them. However, it does not equal panromanticism in the way that pan encompasses a larger scope of sex/gender identities than bi would suggest.

A panromantic could involve themselves in a polyromantic relationship(s) with others, but it does not mean that all pan people are poly. Poly suggests multiple, which could encompass several sex/gender identities, but does not guarantee that is always the case. The person is willing to have simultaneous relationships with several people, though they may have preferences on sex/gender identities they are attracted to or want relationships with. So, while the definitions seem a bit confusing, they're really talking about two different things.

Sort of like taste and texture. They are connected sometimes, but they don't mean the same thing.

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Thank you for your reply BB.

Though it seems to me that the interwebs make a difference between poly-amorous and poly-romantic. And maybe that's what confuses me. I thought polyromantic meant individuals who can feel romantic attraction towards multiple people at the same time, and therefore be open to the possibility of polyamorous relationship.

But those definitions confuse me, as it seems that polyromantic means someone who can be romantically attracted towards more than one gender, but not all (as panromantic), and not specifically towards multiple people at the same time.

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Neat list summary:

Polyamory: Multiple simultaneous intimate relationships

Polyromantic: Romantic attraction to more than one gender

Panromantic: Disregard gender, acquire romance

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As far as I can I can tell, semantically speaking, both biromantic and panromantic are polyromantic, but in popular usage, they're discrete ideas from one another. Basically, in this context,

  • Bi = attraction towards 2 genders (usually implied to be the most common categories of male and female)
  • Poly = attraction towards more than one gender (but in common usage, it's implied both that it's more than two but also that it's not all genders i.e. the individual is able to identify discrete groups of people they're attracted to based on gender)
  • Pan = attraction without any particular regard for gender (i.e. the individual hasn't been able to identify attraction to any identifiable group on the basis of gender)

I have to disagree with BB on one point: polyromantic and polyamorous are indeed completely different things; don't mix them up. Trewdys has got it.

But on the other, main point, polyromantic/panromantic describes who you feel attraction to, while polyamorous describes your actual relationships... i.e. the first describes your inner identity, while the second describes your outer behaviour. So I guess just replace "polyromantic" with "polyamorous" in BB's post, and I would agree with it.


  • You can be monoromantic (e.g. heteroromantic) but polyamorous (e.g. if you're female, you're in relationships with multiple males)
  • You can be polyromantic (e.g. romantically attracted to all genders with the exception of males) but NOT polyamorous (e.g. you're only in a relationship with one individual)

To be honest, I'm just rambling by this point, because I can't see where the initial confusion arose, because to me, there's no discrepancy between the Glossary and the Wikipedia definitions... perhaps because I view biromantic and panromantic as technically subcategories of polyromantic. It's just that, conventionally speaking, people have drawn implicit lines between biromantic, polyromantic, and panromantic to make it easier to communicate what they mean more quickly.

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Thank you all ^_^ This will come out very useful :) :cake:

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