Polysexual, also spelled plysexual or polisexual, sometimes shortened to ply, is the sexual attraction to many, but not necessarily all, genders.
A polysexual individual may be attracted to nearly all genders with some exceptions, for example being attracted to all genders except men. Or a polysexual individual may be attracted to many select genders, for example being attracted only to non-binary individuals, genderfluid individuals, and male-aligned individuals.
Polysexual general implies that one is attracted to three or more genders, but one can be attracted to any number of genders greater than two genders and fewer than all genders.
Polysexual individuals may or may not have a gender preference and may or may not experience a difference in attraction between genders.
Individuals who feel they experience attraction to a spectrum of many genders, rather than a select scattering of genders, may identify as spectresexual.
The romantic equivalent to polysexual is polyromantic. Polysexuality should not be confused with polyamory, which describes the capacity to be in a relationship with multiple individuals at once.
Polysexual vs. Other Identities
Polysexuality is sometimes compared to other multisexual identities, such as bisexual, omnisexual, or pansexual. While omnisexual and pansexual individuals experience attraction to all genders, polysexual individuals are attracted to many genders, but not necessarily all.
Polysexual and bisexual are similar and overlapping labels, as both can describe attraction to multiple genders. Some individuals may identify as both bisexual and polysexual. The choice to use one identity over the other usually comes down to individual preference, particularly where individuals may feel that different terms communicate their personal experience of attraction with more accuracy. For some, the label polysexual may be preferred because bisexual is often incorrectly assumed to inherently describe attraction to exactly two genders (disexual), often the binary genders (binsexual).
Other labels that describe attraction to many genders may fall under polysexual umbrella, such as trixensexual, neptunic, uranic, and torensexual.
The polysexual flag has three stripes, pink, representing attraction to women, green, representing attraction to non-binary individuals, and blue, representing attraction to men. The flag was created by user Samlin on Tumblr in 2012. They posted a design to the blog fuckyeahpolysexuality with the caption, "I, as a poly individual, was greatly saddened that we don't have a flag...so I made one :P I made it similar to the bi and pan flags, since they're all in under the multisexual umbrella -Samlin".
The alternative poly flag was designed by an anonymous wiki user on October 21, 2020. It is designed to be easier on the eyes, while also maintaining most of the same meaning. In addition to the original stripe meanings, the lighter pink and blue stripes also represent a-spec ply individuals. The very light green (nearly white) stripes represents peace, as well as transgender poly individuals. It is intended to represent polyromantic individuals, but it can be used for polysexuality as well.
The prefix poly- comes from the Greek prefix polus, meaning "many".