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Nai

“Allosexual” in the FAQ

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Nai

Hey AVEN.


Just to start this thread is NOT a debate about whether allosexual is a good/acceptable term, so I’m not going to get into it with anyone that posts in such a way. This is just a request hoping to clarify the definition that’s on the FAQ.

 

I was looking at the FAQ earlier today and noticed that the term “allosexual” is under the list of terminology: https://www.asexuality.org/?q=general.html#def

 

I have an issue with the definition. It does not mention the controversy surrounding the term, and additionally offers “sexual” as an alternative, which some people also have issue with. Whether or not you think allosexual is an acceptable term, I find it in poor taste not to mention that some people who ace people would consider allosexual do not want to be called that term.
 

Especially since people who may be new to asexuality are reading the FAQ, they may start using this term completely unaware of the controversy surrounding it.

 

I personally feel like it’d be better to remove the term from the list completely as even the AVEN admod team themselves do not use that word when writing formal posts (at least, way back when when I was on the team) but some may want to leave it in there so I think a definition change would be the best compromise.

 

So I feel like adding more to the definition and changing the alternative from “sexual” to something else like “non-asexual” or “non-ace” may be better.

 

EDIT [11/13]: Having "sexual" as the alternative in the FAQ is fine, actually, since most people from what I've seen so far are fine with it. But yeah, definition change!

Edited by Nai
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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

The vast majority of the sexual people here prefer the term sexual to allosexual, so 'sexual' the default term everyone uses for non-asexuals. I'm surprised allosexual is still in the FAQ but I notice it's been going through a lot of updates so they may not have got to that part yet :o

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MichaelTannock

@Nai I'd created a thread and poll about this once.

 

I hadn't considered "Non-Asexual" as an alternative though, that might be something to look into.

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OptimisticPessimist

@Nai I’ll bring this up with the rest of the team. You make good points.
 

The FAQ is being updated. 

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Nai

Thank you! I had no idea the FAQ was currently being updated so apologies if this came off as me rushing to have things changed! :cake:

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Puck

I don’t really have anything to add except to say I’m very curious what the community thinks of this term. Perhaps we can even poll on it to see how folks feel.

 

I have never really known how to feel about the term. I’ve always preferred just “sexual.” The one problem I see with sexual that allosexual doesn’t have s problem of us that it makes this view of sexuality a distinct view rather than an addition.

 

To use an example, cis or cishet is the term we give to people who are not trans. Many cis people reject that term, would rather be called “normal” or “not-trans.” But I find that giving cis people s word just like trans makes it sounds like cis and trans people are equal, that’s it’s two possibilities rather than “normal” and “different.” I kinda think cis people (and I am cis) ought to just accept the term, it would be better for all if they did even if they don’t like it. I wonder if allosexual might do the same for asexuality. But I really don’t know, sexual might be enough.

 

But, along those same lines, do we want asexuality to be seen as a sexuality or not? Making it look like two choices vs one of many might hurt that. What I mean by that is do we want to be thought of as “asexual or sexual” or “asexual or homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual...” In the case of the latter, allosexual might be a harmful term.

 

So.... in conclusion... I’m ver interested to see where this conversation leads us :)

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MichaelTannock

@Puck I'd polled on Sexual vs Allosexual.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
23 minutes ago, MichaelTannock said:

@Nai I'd created a thread and poll about this once.

 

I hadn't considered "Non-Asexual" as an alternative though, that might be something to look into.

I don't think any sexuals want to be identified solely by what we are not :P I do use the term sometimes, but more as a descriptor and only in certain contexts while writing posts!!

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
21 minutes ago, Puck said:

But I find that giving cis people s word just like trans makes it sounds like cis and trans people are equal, that’s it’s two possibilities rather than “normal” and “different.”

Off topic but I've always hated the term 'cis'.. I don't need something added to what I already am (which I already have enough trouble identifying with as it is!). But if I was trans, I'd literally be transitioning into a different body that more represents the gender I am internally, or at least I'd be having the need to even if I can't for whatever reason, so yeah.. in that case I'd be trans).

 

Different topic though.

 

 

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Snao Cone

I don't like the allo prefix either, tbh, but the definitions are there to help people understand words already being used. I'm open to suggestions or feedback on how this may be reworded to emphasize that "allosexual" is not endorsed.

 

Oh, and btw, the FAQ already went through a major update last year, but it's open to amendments based on feedback, so I'm happy to see people bringing stuff like this up. :) You're also free to PM me if you have anything else that you don't want to make a thread out of.

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Puck
17 minutes ago, MichaelTannock said:

@Puck I'd polled on Sexual vs Allosexual.

Cool, but I guess I was more excited for the discussion over just the poll myself :P As I explained, I don't have strong opinions so I'm eager to hear where others land in ways that are deeper than "yes allo" or "no allo."

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Kimmie.

In my opinion the only ones that have a actually say in this are the sexuals because it is about them. 

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KYON.

Change it to Allosaurus.

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Snao Cone
8 minutes ago, KYON. said:

Change it to Allosaurus.

Don't tempt me.

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Snao Cone

Anyway, back to serious posts, here is the current definition:

 

Quote

Allosexual: Someone who does experience sexual attraction or an intrinsic desire to have sexual relationships (or the adjective describing a person as such). This category is also often simply referred to as “sexual”.

Because this is intended to describe the meaning of words that people use, and this word is still used in some places (albeit not many of the discussions I participate in here), I want to keep a definition of it in there so people know what they're reading. However, I think it would be easy to add something at the end, like:

 

Quote

Note: many people in this category prefer "sexual" over "allosexual" because of potentially problematic associations of the prefix "allo". A 2018 poll on the AVEN forum showed overwhelming preference for simply "sexual". Like with all terminology on such deeply personal topics, it is important to keep in mind how a person or group wants to be referred to.

If anyone has links to good resources on the concerns with using "allo" I could possibly add those as well. Since these definitions are meant to be understood by people very new to this in general, I don't want to elaborate too much in this particular space, but opening up a rabbit hole is always an option :D 

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Duke Memphis
39 minutes ago, KYON. said:

Change it to Allosaurus.

If they're cool people, we can call them allo vera.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
1 hour ago, Snao van der Cone said:

I don't like the allo prefix either, tbh, but the definitions are there to help people understand words already being used. I'm open to suggestions or feedback on how this may be reworded to emphasize that "allosexual" is not endorsed.

 

Oh, and btw, the FAQ already went through a major update last year, but it's open to amendments based on feedback, so I'm happy to see people bringing stuff like this up. :) You're also free to PM me if you have anything else that you don't want to make a thread out of.

Just add: Please note, many non-asexual people don't actually like the term 'allosexual', they prefer the term sexual. 

 

Oh and also, Allosexual actually means "attracted to things other than yourself/outside of yourself" and is the opposite of autosexual. The definition used in the FAQ doesn't actually even seem to explain that? But that's one of the reasons why sexual people don't like it :P

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HikaruBG

Um... I don't know if my comment is relevant to the topic but I will shoot.

 

I personally have a big issue with the term "allosexuals".

 

Speaking from expierences, it's mostly used by the same group of people who believe in the idea that sexual attraction means "arousal to people" or the very least, "allosexuals choose their partners solely on appearance" and hence why they are attracted to some members more of a certain gender more than others members (actual words said to me but I'm paraphrasing them a little) and thus, people who choose to identify as asexuals (who desire sex, mind you), do it because they don't care about their partners appearance and then, use the "allosexual" term in a very condensing tone because "oh, I'm not like those allosexuals because I don't care how my partners look" or some crap.

 

Because of this, I have big issue with the term "allosexual", I think that it should be gone and I personally prefer to use the term "sexual"... Not that it matters... *Shrug*

 

Edit: I'm talking about incidents that happened outside of AVEN, not within. I only recently became more active here.

 

Edited by HikaruBG
adding clarification
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michaeld

Yeah I think a disclaimer could be added. I'm not fond of the word myself tending to use either "sexual" or "non-asexual" depending on context. Of course I agree with @Kimmie. that it should be upto sexuals/allosexuals/non-asexuals what term they prefer. However the fact is that allosexual is in general use in the ace community, way beyond AVEN, and people at least deserve to know what the term means in case they read it elsewhere.

 

Keeping the definition for information but adding a disclaimer like the one @Snao van der Cone suggests sounds good to me.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
14 minutes ago, michaeld said:

Yeah I think a disclaimer could be added. I'm not fond of the word myself tending to use either "sexual" or "non-asexual" depending on context. Of course I agree with @Kimmie. that it should be upto sexuals/allosexuals/non-asexuals what term they prefer. However the fact is that allosexual is in general use in the ace community, way beyond AVEN, and people at least deserve to know what the term means in case they read it elsewhere.

 

Keeping the definition for information but adding a disclaimer like the one @Snao van der Cone suggests sounds good to me.

It's not defined accurately in the FAQ anyway though (from what I saw). It's not just a word people use to describe non-asexual people, it has a specific (and kind of offensive) meaning that a lot of people take issue with.

 

As AVEN is pretty much *the* main global asexuality visibility and education network, should we not make more of an effort to define it accurately for what it actually means, explain why many don't like it and why it's not even that accurate (like everything around sexual people just turns them on, lol), and encourage others to use the term 'sexual' or 'non-asexual' instead?

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michaeld
2 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

It's not defined accurately in the FAQ anyway though (from what I saw). It's not just a word people use to describe non-asexual people, it has a specific (and kind of offensive) meaning that a lot of people take issue with.

Within the ace community, it generally means someone who isn't asexual. If there is a more offensive meaning, maybe this could be mentioned in the disclaimer, as a possible reason to avoid the term?

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LeChat
2 hours ago, KYON. said:

Change it to Allosaurus.

No joke: this is literally one of the joking terms a few sexual, trans people outside of AVEN said when an asexual, trans person in the group mentioned "allosexual," because they thought "allosexual" was a weird, new term to them. They didn't understand why some in the ace community were using that term for them.

 

So, yeah, along with that, as well as hearing from sexuals on AVEN, about how they don't like the term, I completely understood why they didn't like having others refer to them as a word they didn't know about: when a group chooses to use their own, special, secret word referring to others, it does sort of give the impression that they're "othering" others, choosing to categorize them as though they're some sort of separate species (a bit like how, especially centuries ago, racists used terms among themselves, to degrade black people).

 

Oh, and the Ace and Aro yearly Census uses "non-ace," under their published surveys.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
1 hour ago, michaeld said:

Within the ace community, it generally means someone who isn't asexual. If there is a more offensive meaning, maybe this could be mentioned in the disclaimer, as a possible reason to avoid the term?

No, I mean what the word itself actually *means*.. what it translates as.

 

The word means "attracted to things outside of yourself/things that aren't yourself" and it was designed to be the opposite of autosexual (meaning attracted to yourself). Now some in the ace community just apply it to all sexual people without actually knowing why or what it means.

 

That's one of the main reasons why so many people take offense to it, because it misrepresents non-asexual people.

 

Just because it's a word some use for sexual people that doesn't change what it actually means. Just like some people might say, eeer.. well it's like if someone said "Indian just means someone native to America" (like from the old Cowboy and Indians movies)...That might be the case but it's inaccurate because the only reason they were called 'Indians' was because original colonists assumed they were like, actually somehow from India. So the meaning itself is inaccurate (and offensive) even if that's the word that a lot of people used for a long time without questioning it.

 

Totally not trying to compare what's happening here on AVEN with the plight of Native Americans (at all) I'm just trying to explain that just because people use a word to describe something, that doesn't change the meaning of the word or make it acceptable to promote it if the people it's aimed at don't like what it means.. if that makes sense?

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

@michaeld

 

allo- word-forming element meaning "other," from Greek allos "other, different," cognate with Latin alius "other," from PIE root *al- (1) "beyond."

 

(that's just a copy/paste job)

 

It literally translates as "sexually attracted to/desires sex with things other/different than yourself.

 

Just because people use it to describe sexual people doesn't make it less offensive or... well, weird. Lol.

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michaeld
21 minutes ago, Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?) said:

No, I mean what it actually *means*, the word itself. The word means "attracted to things outside of yourself/things that aren't yourself" and it was designed to be the opposite of autosexual (meaning attracted to yourself). Now some in the ace community just apply it to all sexual people without actually knowing why or what it means.

Just wondering though: would that imply being attracted to all things outside of yourself? Like heterosexual implies being attracted to the opposite sex, but obviously most heterosexual people are not attracted to everyone of the opposite sex. How is allosexual different in this regard?

 

[edit: occurs to me maybe the point is it could imply attraction to things that aren't people? I thought it was implicit we were talking about people, but maybe not everyone sees it that way.]

 

Again I have no love for the term, and would be happy if the FAQ included a caution over using it. (Incidentally my recollection is that another problem is there is a very similar French term, perhaps Canadian-French? "allosexuel" if I remember correctly, though I don't remember the details.)

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
20 minutes ago, michaeld said:

Just wondering though: would that imply being attracted to all things outside of yourself? Like heterosexual implies being attracted to the opposite sex, but obviously most heterosexual people are not attracted to everyone of the opposite sex. How is allosexual different in this regard?

Heterosexual doesn't have the implication I guess that it's either that or you want to bang yourself :P Plus heterosexual is one group of people. Whereas 'allo' (to the people who take offense to it) kind of implies I just want to bang anything that isn't me (like, there isn't even a specification that it's people. Just anything that isn't me. If that makes sense?).

 

I find it pretty disturbing now that I'm searching for it to find it's even on Wikipedia as 'someone who isn't asexual' just because (as I'm sure you and everyone else here know) the vast majority of sexual people don't like it and don't use it for themselves. 

 

AVEN, as far as I know, is the largest asexual community in the world. And almost every sexual person who has come through here in the 6 years I've been here has expressed distaste at the term allosexual if it comes up in conversation. So I think there's a pretty big disparity between what sexual people want, and what the ace community wants to apply to them :o

 

 

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michaeld

It would be interesting to find out the history of the term. I'm pretty sure it originated outside AVEN, perhaps Tumblr, though its use has seeped into AVEN as well over the years. My vague recollection is that it was devised precisely because some sexual people didn't like the word sexual. I can't remember though if sexual people within the ace community were involved in choosing the word allosexual[1] or whether it was done by aces. Even if it was sexuals who chose it, obviously it was only a tiny minority even of the sexuals in the ace community at the time, so their preference may not be the majority.

 

[1] other suggestions I've heard include "zedsexual" and "pokisexual" (sp?). Not a fan of these either personally, though of course I'm asexual...

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Sithgroundhog

The difference between using allo- and using cis- as prefixes is that a- is the lack of something. You use a-theist to contrast from a theist, or a-social to contrast behavior from social behavior. Gender is something people experience differently, including cis people, so it's not "lack of gender that didn't/doesn't align with one's biology". That's what a-gender is, the lack of a gender. So I find asexual to contrast with sexual, and that allosexual is a term we would use only if we wanted to separate asexuality from the other sexualities entirely. As if we wanted our own spectrum rather than being identified as a different orientation (which I believe has sailed). 

 

I do know some sexuals who find the term almost offensive, and I know my bf doesn't like it. When talking with people irl, I also use "sexual" because they understand it right away, while allo- I'd have to define and explain first. 

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DryRain
2 hours ago, HikaruBG said:

Speaking from expierences, it's mostly used by the same group of people who believe in the idea that sexual attraction means "arousal to people" or the very least, "allosexuals choose their partners solely on appearance" and hence why they are attracted to some members more of a certain gender more than others members (actual words said to me but I'm paraphrasing them a little) and thus, people who choose to identify as asexuals (who desire sex, mind you), do it because they don't care about their partners appearance and then, use the "allosexual" term in a very condensing tone because "oh, I'm not like those allosexuals because I don't care how my partners look" or some crap.

There's really nothing you can do about this kind of people beside ignoring their biased self-righteous statements and reclaim the actual word for what it is.

 

That being said.

I never use "allosexual" because I've never found a use for it, since "sexual" does the exact same thing, in a language that everybody (including people outside the community) would understand. I do think the word is antiquated and should be phased out of the community, as it has served its purpose and we do not have a use for it anymore.

 

Moreover,

wanting to find a different word for sexuals like "non-asexual" is (in my opinion) entirely useless, as non-asexual is essentially a double negative just to say sexual, and the original word serves its purpose without using asexual as the "normal" from which sexual is derived (something I'm sure some sexual people would take offence with). Other terms that aren't readily understood by everyone do (again, in my opinion) derail the discussion from actual issues to semantics that do not matter in most cases.

 

Also, on this part:

4 hours ago, Nai said:

additionally offers “sexual” as an alternative, which some people also have issue with. Whether or not you think allosexual is an acceptable term, I find it in poor taste not to mention that some people who ace people would consider allosexual do not want to be called that term.

I can't say I really understand it? Sometimes people don't like being called what they are even if it does apply to them (calling someone "sexual" might seem weird and they may not like it, but if they are then it's just true regardless), but maybe that's not what you meant.

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Philip027

I'm okay with "non-asexual" being used here and there when it's necessary to emphasize the difference between asexual and... not, but I'm not okay with it as a general term.  Not only is it an inherent double negative, it carries the connotation of asexuality being the norm, which it very obviously isn't.

 

Also not okay with allosexual because 1) "allosexuel" means something totally different in French (it refers to the LGBT, basically), and 2) it sounds like you're attracted to the allosaurus.

 

b5SxqiWwufyfTdgbi9UwHE-1024-80.jpg

 

Most "non-asexuals" here prefer sexual, so I don't see the problem with just using that.

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