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By Bellesa Team

Allosexual (also, though less commonly Zedsexual) describes people who regularly experience sexual attraction and desire. It was coined by the asexual spectrum (ace-spec) community to describe someone who is not asexual. The romantic orientation equivalent to allosexual is alloromantic.

Allosexuality is not a sexual orientation, nor does it determine who one may be attracted to. Allosexual individuals can be heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or any other orientation. The exception to this is asexuality; allosexual is the corresponding opposite term to asexual (i.e. to experience little to no sexual attraction or sexual desire).

History and Origins

Allosexual describes anyone who is not on the asexual spectrum. It has been used interchangeably with Zedsexual, as in “A to Z”, with “A” being the Asexual end of the spectrum, “Z” being the other, or allosexual, end.

Before the term “allosexual" was created and agreed upon, “sexual” was more regularly used as the antonym to asexual. However, as more asexual people were able to connect and communicate over the internet in the early 2000s, it became apparent to community that what “sexual” meant in this context was too broad and unclear.  

In 2011, an awareness campaign rallied against using “sexual” as a means to describe people who aren't asexual. The reasons for this were numerous, most broadly that it had a sex-negative tone for individuals on either side of the discussion. It did not account for ace-spec individuals who, while they may not experience much if any sexual attraction, still have healthy relationships with sex and even partake in sexual activities for pleasure, and it hyper-sexualized non-asexual people. The need for an improved term was called forth.

Controversy and Ongoing Debate

After several proposals, allosexual has been the most widely accepted term to replace the mere sexual. However, many continue to resist it. The conversation is ongoing. People within and outside the asexual community continue to discuss and debate the best use of these terms, and which one is most appropriately descriptive.

There is also some controversy over it because the false friend term allosexuel is French Canadian slang used to describe anyone who does not adhere to or define themselves through conventional categories of gender or sexual orientation.

Allosexual versus Asexual

Allosexuality manifests as the regular or common experience of sexual attraction towards other people or a desire to engage in sexual activities. Allosexual individuals may experience this in the form of sexual crushes on other people, imagining sexual fantasies, pursuing a sexual encounter or relationship based on sexual desire, masturbating or having sex based on an urge prompted by sexual attraction or desire.

Partaking in sexual activity  alone is not enough to determine allosexuality. Many asexual people can and do enjoy engaging in sexual activities such as masturbation or partner sex as well. The most notable difference is that for ace-spec individuals, this never or rarely occurs in response to the experience of sexual attraction.

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