Music | June 2, 2021 1:33 pm

Pete Townshend Says He Used to Be Pansexual

"I was ready to fall into bed with anybody that would have me," the guitarist said.

Pete Townshend of The Who performs onstage at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on September 15, 2019 in Wantagh, New York.
Pete Townshend of The Who performs at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in 2019
Getty Images

More than 50 years into his career, we’d be forgiven for thinking we already know everything there is to know about Pete Townshend. But in a recent interview with UK publication The Daily Star, The Who guitarist made a new revelation, saying that at one point in his life he used to be pansexual.

Townshend discussed his pansexuality when reflecting on The Who’s 1966 single “I’m A Boy,” saying, “With ‘I’m A Boy’ it’s the idea of masculinity and the way that men are seen to be at a time when I often forget, to be homosexual, to be pansexual, as I think I probably was, but not anymore. But I think I was ready to fall into bed with anybody that would have me.”

To be pansexual is to be capable of being attracted to anyone, regardless of their biological sex, gender or gender identity. Townshend also reminded readers that same-sex relationships — or sexual activity of any kind — were illegal in the UK until 1967.

“I think I forget that homosexuality was still illegal, so these adventures had to be couched in vignettes of humour and irony,” he added.

Townshend married Karen Astley in 1968, and the couple separated in 1994. In 2016, he married his current wife, singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller.

It’s unclear what exactly Townshend means when he says he once was pansexual “but not anymore”; rather than meaning his sexual identity has changed, it’s possible he’s simply referring to the fact that he’s currently in a monogamous relationship and therefore is no longer “ready to fall into bed with anyone that would have me.” This isn’t the first time that Townshend has made reference to his sexual fluidity, however; in his 2012 autobiography Who I Am, he wrote that he is “probably bisexual.”